On the Taleweaver’s Desk: Issue 4

Hello, everyone! Hope y’all are having a good spring. I’ve certainly had a productive few months — though, strangely, the writing side of things has felt less stressful and busy than it did six months ago, even though I’m arguably getting more done. Stuff’s weird. Also, despite my productivity, this list hasn’t changed much . . . though I do have some updates for you! As always, if you want more information on any project in this post, you can find that on my Works in Progress page!

April 2022 Author

On the Taleweaver’s Desk Issue 4: April 2022

On the Desktop

These are the projects you might find open on my laptop or desk if you took a peek at it during a normal day. They’re currently in progress and at the top of the priority chart.

Mask of Scarlet (Bastian Dennel, PI #3)

What is it? Book 3 in my Bastian Dennel, PI series, a Jazz Age mystery take on Cinderella (with a little inspiration from “The Red Shoes” for extra spice).

Status: Releasing in one week! Don’t forget to preorder the ebook! Also learn how you can join the release party and help spread the word.

It’s wonderful how much faster every stage of editing after the initial edit/rewrite is. You go from “This will take a month if I’m lucky” to “Two weeks and I’m through” to “I’ll go slow and take three days” to “Eh, I can get it done this afternoon.” I actually managed to get this finished well ahead of schedule — pretty impressive, considering the fact that I originally expected to be working up to the last minute — and at this point, everything is ready to go. All I have to do is hit “publish” on the paperback and send out promo materials to those who want something special to share for the release.

Super Secret Mystery Project . . . aka, Through a Shattered Glass

What is it? A dark-ish portal fantasy remix of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books combined with The Snow Queen.

Status: TITLE REVEAL TIME, Y’ALL! Also, drafted and currently in the first rewrite.

I drafted Through a Shattered Glass over the course of about three weeks while Mask of Scarlet was with beta readers. I’ve vaguely considered doing an Alice retelling for a while, but I didn’t come up with the idea of combining it with The Snow Queen until October 2021. I let the concepts stew for a while until after I finished Mask of Scarlet, by which point the storyline was . . . well, not solidly in place, but firm enough to outline and then write. It’s a very different animal from the Bastian Dennel, PI books, which I think helped me write it so quickly. (It’s also first person POV. Storms I’ve missed first person POV.) I then let it sit while I finished up Mask of Scarlet, and I just picked it back up to start rewrites this week. At the moment, I’m about three chapters in.

D&D Campaign: Defenders of Serys

What is it? Defenders of Serys is the homebrew D&D campaign that I run for my D&D group.

Status: Slowly writing Season 4 Module 2.

Look, we’ve been playing kind of sporadically, and the material I had stretched over more sessions than I expected it do, and my motivation to work on this has been low. Also, the party is in Middle Earth, meddling with the affairs of The Lord of the Rings after they derailed the story several sessions back (as in, they derailed LOTR, not the campaign story), so I feel pretty confident in my ability to improv. After all, I already have a framework to work inside of, and if we end up in a combat scenario I didn’t anticipate, well, I have a pretty limited scope of enemies to pick from. In any case, I have the next couple sessions pretty much prepped, so I’m not worried.

Stacked on the Side

These are the stories that I’m not actively working on (at least not officially), but I’m keeping close at hand because I plan to get back to them soon (or I just work on them sporadically as the urge takes me).

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my October 2021 update, but I’ll leave the list here for anyone who hasn’t seen it before!

Blood in the Earth

What is it? Blood in the Earth is the sequel to Blood in the Snow and a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with the myth of Hades and Persephone.

Status: First draft finished; awaiting rewrites. Probably won’t happen this year unless there’s a miracle . . . even though I do genuinely want to go back to this sooner rather than later.

Once Upon a Dream

What is it? A light steampunk (or gaslamp fantasy?) Sleeping Beauty retelling; the predecessor to The Midnight Show

Status: Edited several times over. Awaiting another round of rewrites/expansion/edits.

Shelved for Now

These are stories that are also on hold, but which I don’t have specific plans to work on very soon. They’re still within easy reach should I decide to return to them, but they aren’t a top priority.

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my October 2021 update, but I’ll leave the list here for anyone who hasn’t seen it before!

Dust of Silver

What is it? Classic-ish fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with Rapunzel, the first book in what has the potential to be a rather long series. Also, a rewrite of a book I wrote years ago that won’t let go of me because CHARACTERS.

Status: Several chapters into the rewrite, though those several chapters haven’t been touched in a few years. I swear I’ll get back to this . . .

Between Two Worlds

What is it? A portal fantasy adventure about what happens when you come home from the adventure, only to discover that the adventure isn’t quite as done with you as you thought.

Status: Awaiting another round of edits/rewrites while I write other things and daydream about its sequels.

The Way of the Pen

What is it? Self-aware fantasy adventure about a girl and her author.

Status: The first draft is sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for its turn back in the spotlight, as it has been for some time.

Berstru Tales series

What is it? A classic epic fantasy series and the longest-running series I’ve worked on (either in the number of books written or in how long I’ve worked on it.

Status: Needs to be rewritten from the ground up, but the bones are good. I did come up with more new and exciting ways to make the characters’ lives difficult, so . . . there’s that?

A Tower of Portals Campaign

What is it? A second D&D campaign inspired by one of my favorite video games.

Status: On hold; worked on as I come up with new ideas and have time.

Awaiting Delivery

These are the stories that are on their way, but haven’t quite arrived yet to the point where I can write them: ideas I’m toying with but haven’t even started to draft because they’re still too nebulous.

Additional Bastian Dennel, PI novels

What is it? Exactly what the heading said.

Status: I have solid, albeit unwritten, plans for the next two Bastian Dennel, PI novels, and I plan to start outlining and drafting Book 4 once I get to a good spot with Through a Shattered Glass, and Book 5 is next in line after that. I possibly have Book 6 pretty well figured out as well, though I may end up switching it in terms of series position with one of two other ideas — that’ll depend on some other factors. I’m keeping plotlines close to my chest for the moment, but I can tell you that at least one of the stories in the pipeline is a murder mystery.

Novellas from the world of Blood in the Snow

What are they? Currently, three ideas for spinoffs, most of which are also fairy tale retellings: one Puss in Boots (no, really), one Orpheus and Eurydice (probably crossed with a similar Japanese myth, Izanagi and Izanami), and one that’s not currently a fairy tale retelling but would be about Gan and Azuma before they were animal-keepers at the emperor’s palace (inspired the summer I spent watching a lot of Hogan’s Heroes.

Status: Won’t be written until after I edit Blood in the Earth.

Unnamed Fantasy Murder Mystery

What is it? Exactly what the headline says. A prominent noble is murdered; his adoptive daughter is poised to inherit his lands and position — but some are saying her hand was behind his death.

Status: Still just an idea. Still not going to be tackled until after Blood in the Earth.

Worldhoppers Inc./Mythology D&D Campaign

What is it? Yet another homebrew D&D campaign. Or two. Technically it’s two possible themes for series of connected one-shots and short-term adventures, with a few adventure ideas for each theme and a chance that I’ll just try to combine them.

Status: Probably not going to work on this until I have a lot of spare time, need a new campaign for my D&D group, or have reason to prioritize the Welsh myth adventure. I’m also moving some of what I had planned for it into Defenders of Serys, which is going to be great.

And that about covers it! What do you think of the concept of Through a Shattered Glass? Are you more excited for Mask of ScarletThrough a Shattered Glass, or the future Bastian Dennel, PI books? Tell me in the comments! And once again, don’t forget to preorder Mask of Scarlet and RSVP for the Midnight Curfews release party!
Thanks for reading!

On the Taleweaver’s Desk: Issue 3

Hey’a, all! It’s a month into winter, and that means it’s time for another issue of On the Taleweaver’s Desk, the part of the blog where I unpack the “big picture” of my writing activities and the status of my various writing projects. I think I’ll probably be sticking with the format that I put together last time for now, but again, if there’s any way you think I can improve this setup, let me know. As always, if you want more information on any project in this post, you can find that on my Works in Progress page!

On the Taleweaver’s Desk
Issue 3: January 2022

On the Desktop

These are the projects you might find open on my laptop or desk if you took a peek at it during a normal day. They’re currently in progress and at the top of the priority chart.

Mask of Scarlet (Bastian Dennel, PI #3)

What is it? Book 3 in my Bastian Dennel, PI series, a Jazz Age mystery take on Cinderella (with a little inspiration from “The Red Shoes” for extra spice).

Status: First draft finished; first rough edit in progress; cover reveal coming soon!

Three months later, it’s done! Well, drafted, at least. That’s two months longer than I planned to take drafting this, but it’s fine — in hindsight, I was kind of overambitious with my goal. I’m currently in the middle of doing a rapid, rough edit before I send this off to beta readers — essentially, I’m reworking some key scenes that I know have to change, making sure the changes that I made halfway through get carried back to the beginning, and fixing glaring issues, but it’s not the full-on rewrite that I often do. Then it’ll be ready to go to betas at the end of the month! I also have a cover reveal coming up on February 9; fill out the form here if you want to be a part of that (or if you want to help officially announce the group release it’s a part of).

Super Secret Mystery Project

What is it? You don’t know (unless you’re one of, like . . . a half dozen or so people). It’s a mystery and will remain so for . . . mmm, probably about a month and a half or two months.

Status: Going to start writing it soon! Have been thinking about it inordinately much for the past few months!

Yeah. Because I don’t want to give too many details before I’m absolutely certain that the plans I have will work out (I don’t like making promises I can’t keep, y’know?), there’s not a ton I can say about this. But I’m planning to write it in February while Mask of Scarlet is with beta readers (unless I can’t resist the urge to start it sooner), it’s a retelling of technically three stories (only one of which is, strictly speaking, a fairy tale or folktale), and it could arguably be considered portal fantasy.

D&D Campaign: Defenders of Serys

What is it? Defenders of Serys is the homebrew D&D campaign that I run for my D&D group.

Status: Thinking about the second module of Season 4. Should be writing that, oops.

I haven’t really worked on this much? Honestly, I thought about sliding it down a section to Stacked on the Side just because I finished planning the first adventure and then didn’t write any more because I needed to focus my energy on Mask of Scarlet (with the exception of couple of extra sessions of material to account for the fact that one of my players was going to miss a full month of play). That said, it needs to go back up the priority stack because I only have three or four more sessions’ worth of material, so here On the Desktop it shall stay!

Stacked on the Side

These are the stories that I’m not actively working on (at least not officially), but I’m keeping close at hand because I plan to get back to them soon (or I just work on them sporadically as the urge takes me).

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my October 2021 update, but I’ll leave the list here for anyone who hasn’t seen it before!

Blood in the Earth

What is it? Blood in the Earth is the sequel to Blood in the Snow and a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with the myth of Hades and Persephone.

Status: First draft finished; awaiting revisions. Despite my earlier hopes, I probably will not get back to this story this year.

Once Upon a Dream

What is it? A light steampunk (or gaslamp fantasy?) Sleeping Beauty retelling; the predecessor to The Midnight Show

Status: Edited several times over. Awaiting another round of rewrites/expansion/edits.

Shelved for Now

These are stories that are also on hold, but which I don’t have specific plans to work on very soon. They’re still within easy reach should I decide to return to them, but they aren’t a top priority.

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my October 2021 update, but I’ll leave the list here for anyone who hasn’t seen it before!

Dust of Silver

What is it? Classic-ish fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with Rapunzel, the first book in what has the potential to be a rather long series. Also, a rewrite of a book I wrote years ago that won’t let go of me because CHARACTERS.

Status: Several chapters into the rewrite, though those several chapters haven’t been touched in a few years. I swear I’ll get back to this . . .

Between Two Worlds

What is it? A portal fantasy adventure about what happens when you come home from the adventure, only to discover that the adventure isn’t quite as done with you as you thought.

Status: Awaiting another round of edits/rewrites while I write other things and daydream about its sequels.

The Way of the Pen

What is it? Self-aware fantasy adventure about a girl and her author.

Status: The first draft is sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for its turn back in the spotlight, as it has been for some time.

Berstru Tales series

What is it? A classic epic fantasy series and the longest-running series I’ve worked on (either in the number of books written or in how long I’ve worked on it.

Status: Needs to be rewritten from the ground up, but the bones are good. I did come up with more new and exciting ways to make the characters’ lives difficult, so . . . there’s that?

A Tower of Portals Campaign

What is it? A second D&D campaign inspired by one of my favorite video games.

Status: On hold; worked on as I come up with new ideas and have time.

Awaiting Delivery

These are the stories that are on their way, but haven’t quite arrived yet to the point where I can write them: ideas I’m toying with but haven’t even started to draft because they’re still too nebulous.

Additional Bastian Dennel, PI novels

What is it? Exactly what the heading said.

Status: I have between three and five reasonably solid ideas that I’m pretty confident I’ll write, as well as few other concepts that basically amount to “Hey, this fairy tale would be really fun to rework as a mystery and throw Bastian into.” I also have a rough idea of which three I’ll write next, though that’s subject to change.

Novellas from the world of Blood in the Snow

What are they? Currently, three and a half ideas for spinoffs, most of which are also fairy tale retellings: one Puss in Boots (no, really), one Orpheus and Eurydice (probably crossed with a similar Japanese myth, Izanagi and Izanami), one Snow Queen (that’s the half an idea), and one that’s not currently a fairy tale retelling but would be about Gan and Azuma before they were animal-keepers at the emperor’s palace (inspired the summer I spent watching a lot of Hogan’s Heroes.

Status: Won’t be written until after I edit Blood in the Earth. And the half-an-idea Snow Queen, which had the best chance of being written before then, has been . . . supplanted. Of the others, I have rough ideas of scenes in two of them, and a general concept for the last.

Unnamed Fantasy Murder Mystery

What is it? Exactly what the headline says. A prominent noble is murdered; his adoptive daughter is poised to inherit his lands and position — but some are saying her hand was behind his death.

Status: Still just an idea. Still not going to be tackled until after Blood in the Earth.

Mechanical Heart Sequel

What is it? Exactly what the title says.

Status: Still half-formed. Not a high priority, as Mechanical Heart stands very well on its own. May or may not actually happen.

Worldhoppers Inc./Mythology D&D Campaign

What is it? Yet another homebrew D&D campaign. Or two. Technically it’s two possible themes for series of connected one-shots and short-term adventures, with a few adventure ideas for each theme and a chance that I’ll just try to combine them.

Status: Probably not going to work on this until I have a lot of spare time, need a new campaign for my D&D group, or have reason to prioritize the Welsh myth adventure.

I think that’s everything! Which of these stories are you most interested in? Any questions you have about any of them? (If you ask in the next week or so, I might be willing to provide extra info or hints!) What projects are you currently working on?
Thanks for reading!

On the Taleweaver’s Desk: Issue 2

Hey’a, all! As you may remember, this summer, I started a new quarterly blog series, On the Taleweaver’s Desk, in which I give you an idea of the “big picture” of what’s going on in my corner of the writing world. And now it’s time for the second installment in that series! Please be aware as you read this that I’m still figuring out what does and doesn’t work in terms of information provided, so please let me know if there’s anything you think could be better here. Do you want more information? Less? Are you confused by anything? I want to know! Also, if you want more information on any of the projects listed here, you can find that on my Works in Progress page on either of my blogs!

October 2021 Author

On the Taleweaver’s Desk Issue 2: October 2021

On the Desktop

These are the projects you might find open on my laptop or desk if you took a peek at it during a normal day. They’re currently in progress and at the top of the priority chart.

Bastian Dennel, PI #3

What is it? Exactly what it says on the tin.

Status: Vibrating eagerly in the back of my head and occasionally launching itself against to the walls yelling “Write me!” About to be started.

Technically this should probably go in “Awaiting Delivery,” but given that I have a good idea of most of the plot and intend to start writing this as soon as I have time in which to do so, I’m putting it here. I was planning to put my third Bastian Dennel book on hold for a bit so I could focus on Blood in the Earth, but then someone (not naming names, but she knows who she is) gave me an idea that wouldn’t let me go. And since an idea like that is what started the series and this one seems like it’ll be really fun to write, I can’t just ignore it.

D&D Campaign: Defenders of Serys

What is it? Defenders of Serys is the homebrew D&D campaign that I run for my D&D group.

Status: Finishing up the first module of Season 4.

I didn’t get as much writing on this done in August/September/October as I intended, unfortunately. On the upside, it took us longer to finish Season 3 than I thought it would, and I almost have the first module done. Plus, one of my players and I ended up discussing backstory stuff because of a feat she took when the group leveled up, and, well, now I have another module/story arc planned for the next season. It’s going to be great. I just need to finish writing the one I’m on . . . and I need to do that soon, since we start regular sessions again in a couple weeks.

Stacked on the Side

These are the stories that I’m not actively working on (at least not officially), but I’m keeping close at hand because I plan to get back to them soon (or I just work on them sporadically as the urge takes me).

Blood in the Earth

What is it? Blood in the Earth is the sequel to Blood in the Snow and a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with the myth of Hades and Persephone.

Status: First draft finished; awaiting revisions. Despite my earlier hopes, I probably will not get back to this story this year.

Once Upon a Dream

What is it? A light steampunk (or gaslamp fantasy?) Sleeping Beauty retelling; the predecessor to The Midnight Show

Status: Edited several times over. Awaiting another round of rewrites/expansion/edits.

Shelved for Now

These are stories that are also on hold, but which I don’t have specific plans to work on very soon. They’re still within easy reach should I decide to return to them, but they aren’t a top priority.

Dust of Silver

What is it? Classic-ish fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with Rapunzel, the first book in what has the potential to be a rather long series. Also, a rewrite of a book I wrote years ago that won’t let go of me because CHARACTERS.

Status: Several chapters into the rewrite, though those several chapters haven’t been touched in a few years. I swear I’ll get back to this . . .

Between Two Worlds

What is it? A portal fantasy adventure about what happens when you come home from the adventure, only to discover that the adventure isn’t quite as done with you as you thought.

Status: Awaiting another round of edits/rewrites while I write other things and daydream about its sequels.

The Way of the Pen

What is it? Self-aware fantasy adventure about a girl and her author.

Status: The first draft is sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for its turn back in the spotlight, as it has been for some time.

Berstru Tales series

What is it? A classic epic fantasy series and the longest-running series I’ve worked on (either in the number of books written or in how long I’ve worked on it.

Status: Needs to be rewritten from the ground up, but the bones are good. I did come up with more new and exciting ways to make the characters’ lives interesting, so . . . there’s that?

A Tower of Portals Campaign

What is it? A second D&D campaign inspired by one of my favorite video games.

Status: On hold; worked on as I come up with new ideas and have time.

Awaiting Delivery

These are the stories that are on their way, but haven’t quite arrived yet to the point where I can write them: ideas I’m toying with but haven’t even started to draft because they’re still too nebulous.

Super Secret Mystery Project

What is it? You don’t know. It’s a mystery.

Status: Idea that technically popped into my head a few weeks ago but is born out of a sort-of idea that I’ve had for a few years, and due to certain elements it contains, it’s been pushed up the list in terms of priority.

Novellas from the world of Blood in the Snow

What are they? Currently, three and a half ideas for spinoffs, most of which are also fairy tale retellings: one Puss in Boots (no, really), one Orpheus and Eurydice (probably crossed with a similar Japanese myth, Izanagi and Izanami), one Snow Queen (that’s the half an idea), and one that’s not currently a fairy tale retelling but would be about Gan and Azuma before they were animal-keepers at the emperor’s palace (inspired the summer I spent watching a lot of Hogan’s Heroes.

Status: Won’t be written until after I edit Blood in the Earth. And the half-an-idea Snow Queen, which had the best chance of being written before then, has been . . . supplanted. Of the others, I have rough ideas of scenes in two of them, and a general concept for the last.

Unnamed Fantasy Murder Mystery

What is it? Exactly what the headline says. A prominent noble is murdered; his adoptive daughter is poised to inherit his lands and position — but some are saying her hand was behind his death.

Status: Still just an idea. Still not going to be tackled until after Blood in the Earth.

Mechanical Heart Sequel

What is it? Exactly what the title says.

Status: Still half-formed. I do have a specific fairy tale in mind that I’d be retelling, though.

Worldhoppers Inc./Mythology D&D Campaign

What is it? Yet another homebrew D&D campaign. Or two. Technically it’s two possible themes for series of connected one-shots and short-term adventures, with a few adventure ideas for each theme and a chance that I’ll just try to combine them.

Status: Probably not going to work on this until I have a lot of spare time, need a new campaign for my D&D group, or have reason to prioritize the Welsh myth adventure.

I think that pretty well covers how things currently stand with me and my writing! Was this interesting or helpful? Are there any ways I could make it more interesting or more easy to follow or just better in general? (Saying “write all the stories” doesn’t count.) Do you have thoughts on any of the stories? What projects are you currently working on?
Thanks for reading!

On the Taleweaver’s Desk: Issue 1

Hello, hello, hello! So, for a while now I’ve been meaning to start a new regular blog series, one that would orient readers both old and new to the “big picture” of what’s going on in the world of what’s-Sarah-writing-now. My daily and weekly writing goals (posted on Facebook and Instagram), I think, do a pretty good job of showing what’s going on right now, and, of course, my Doings! posts include monthly progress updates. But I also want y’all to know how those daily and monthly updates fit together in the long term, which is the gap I hope this series — On the Taleweaver’s Desk — will fill.

7.23.2021_TD_July 2021

On the Taleweaver’s Desk will cover four categories of projects, which I’ll explain once I get into them, and will include both projects-for-hopeful-publication and side projects that are just for me and my friends (aka D&D campaigns, because I like talking about them, they’re important to me, and they do take up a decent percentage of my writing time at this point). It’ll go up four times a year; I’m thinking a month into each season. (So, July, October, January, and April.) It’ll be posted on Light and Shadows, Dreams and Dragons, and  here on my author site, so you’ll see it no matter where you follow me.

And now, with those words of explanation out of the way, let’s get on with the actual post!

On the Taleweaver’s Desk Issue 1: July 2021

On the Desktop

These are the projects you might find open on my laptop or desk if you took a peek at it during a normal day. They’re currently in progress and at the top of the priority chart.

Gilded in Ice (Bastian Dennel, PI #2)

What is it? Gilded in Ice is my next upcoming book and the sequel to The Midnight Show. It’s a mystery retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”

Status: Waiting for beta feedback, working on preliminary formatting

Not a lot has changed with this project since my last Doings! post. I’ve started to get a little bit of feedback from some of my betas, which means I can begin thinking about what needs to be adjusted in edits. The paperback cover is about 90% done (I just need to adjust the spine width), and the actual content formatting is . . . well, I haven’t started that yet. But, since a lot of it will carry over from The Midnight Show, it technically isn’t completely yet-to-begin.

D&D Campaign: Defenders of Serys

What is it? Defenders of Serys is the homebrew D&D campaign that I run for my D&D group.

Status: Writing Season 4 and thinking of what to do during our break.

As a word of explanation, since this campaign started during our senior year of college, I set it up to run more like a TV show than your average D&D campaign, with linked one-shots and breaks every so often for me to take a break from DMing and get ahead on writing the adventures (thus the term “Seasons”). While we’ve shifted from the linked one-shots to a more traditional campaign format, we still take breaks every so often, and we’re coming up on one now. I’ve written all I need to get us to that break, and I’ve started prepping the first adventures for when the break ends. I have three in mind, and I’m very excited about ALL of them.

Continue reading “On the Taleweaver’s Desk: Issue 1”