Wait… what day is it? July 2021 Update.

Posted on July 3rd 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

I missed my Friday upload–oops–so I’m posting to the blog today. To be honest, I haven’t been feeling all that great this week. Allergies and the heat have been kicking my butt. As a result, I pretty much passed out after work on Friday and completely neglected to post anything to the blog, so I apologize for that. I am a delicate flower who thrives best on partly cloudy days between 60 and 70 degrees F. Tell me in the comments what your ideal weather is!

News, news, news. Hmm. Well, my first newsletter went out on Thursday. If you haven’t signed up for that, you can do so here. So far it seems like the newsletter is mostly going to be first-look/first-access for cover reveals, beta reading opportunities, etc plus monthly new release recommendations since I read a lot of ARCs.

As for writing… I’m a bit behind where I want to be with Bared Magic. I’m hovering just shy of 40K and need to get my rear in gear. Fortunately, this weekend is a long one; I plan to make good use of Monday and get some words in. I still think I can make my self-imposed deadline of having the first draft completed by the 15th of July.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a soft release announcement for Bared Magic in my last few #JuneDelights posts featuring snippets from it. With an autumn release in mind, I plan to do a cover reveal in the August edition of the newsletter, so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, Finding the Dragon hasn’t been getting too much love lately but I should be getting back to that while Bared Magic is with the beta readers in August.

I think that’s pretty much it for this July Update.

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Book Release Thank-yous

Posted on June 25th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the launch of Courting the Dragon a success.

First, the livestream was a blast. If you missed it, you can watch the recording of it here. It wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun without my co-host, Rance Denton. If you haven’t already, check out his book, which is launching on July 2nd. He also has a podcast called the Quarantine Book Club, which you can find on iTunes and other fine streaming services.

I also want to thank my husband, Matt for his willingness to mod for the stream chat (not that it was needed, because y’all were awesomely well-behaved. No trolls!). Also, the Stream Deck he bought me was infinitely useful.

Then there’s the ARC readers who have not only left reviews, but cross-posted them like true superheroes. Y’all are awesome and I really, really appreciate your efforts. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!

And of course, everyone who participated in the livestream, the giveaway, and who bought the book during pre-release or on launch day. You all are amazing. I couldn’t do all this without all of your amazing support.

If I forgot anybody, let me know in the comments!

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April 2021 Camp NaNo Update #2

Posted on April 12th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Today’s blog post is not a review, despite the fact that today is Monday. I fell a little behind on those while I was sick last week and just have not had the chance to catch up yet. Normal schedule will resume next week, I promise.

Instead I’m just popping in to give y’all a quick update on how Camp NaNoWriMo is going. In a word it’s… meh. I made great progress the first couple of days, and then I got sicker than a dog so it’s been catch up ever since. I set a pretty wimpy goal, however, so I think catching up shouldn’t be too hard.

All in all, Finding the Dragon is coming along nicely. I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made despite the setbacks last week. I have no idea when I’ll be ready to start talking publication targets or anything like. That’s a long way off yet, I think. Still, I think I have a rough shape of the plot figured out, so that’s something. I shared a little bit of a teaser to that on Twitter, which I’ll leave you with here.

This part of a “prototype” blurb for Finding the Dragon. (I cut out the part that is a spoiler for Courting the Dragon.) It is very subject to change. Still, I think it gives you and me both an idea of the target I’m shooting for:

Salarath thought his past was buried and forgotten until a centuries-old secret challenges everything he thought he knew about himself. Now to protect everything he’s built for himself, Salarath will have to face who he is and the kin who want him dead.

Can Penelope and Salarath prove that humans and dragons are stronger together? Or will darkness and terror descend on dragons’ wings?

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A Short Camp NaNo Update

Posted on April 2nd 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Apologies for being late on the posting today. What’s 12 hours, right?

This is just a quick update post, nothing super fancy. Today is Day 2 of the April Camp NaNoWriMo. So far I have managed to keep up the meager word goals I have set for myself. I think it’s a wee bit early yet to say that things are coming together, but I am feeling good about the draft so far.

My goals for April are fairly modest. I’m shooting for 23,000 words of Finding the Dragon. I was roughly 4,000 words in at the end of March and I haven’t written yet today, so April 1st was surprisingly productive.

My total target word goal for the book is 80,000, so even after camp is over I’m going to have a long way to go. Still, I think this is a nice start.

Anyways, I will be back to my regular time and content on Monday with another indie book review.

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DIY “Fancy” Coffees

Posted on March 5th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Like many writers out there, my best writing sessions are often resemble caffeine fueled hallucinations. When I want to set myself up for a great writing session I usually start with a great cup of coffee. These same recipes are also great for a break during a long work-from-home day.

Break-room Mocha, but make it fancy

Have you ever heard of a “break room mocha”? It’s a cute way of describing the practice of making cheap work-provided coffee taste like a treat using powdered hot chocolate. It can be the perfect pick-me-up during the 2PM post-lunch slump.

When I make a “break room mocha” at home though, I like to kick it up a notch.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 to 1 whole Swiss Miss packet (or 1 Swiss Miss k-cup)
  • 1 “cup” (standard coffee mug or k-cup) of your favorite coffee (I recommend dark roast for this)
  • Milk or non-dairy alternative (I recommend cashew)
  • Chocolate syrup, like Hershey’s.
  • Toppings, such as whipped cream or DIY cold foam (see below)

Step 1:

Put half a packet of Swiss Miss (or the contents of a hot chocolate k-cup) in the bottom of your coffee mug. Mix with about two fingers worth of milk.* Microwave for about 20 seconds if able.

Step 2:

Add your coffee. If using a k-cup, use the middle or regular size option.

Step 3:

Top with your choice of topping, sweet cold foam or whipped cream. Drizzle or doodle with chocolate syrup.

DIY Cold Foam

What you’ll need:

  • Milk, or non-dairy alternative
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sweetener (optional)
  • Frother

Directions

Add about a finger to two fingers of milk in a clean mug. Add a tiny amount of vanilla to taste (this may take some experimentation). If using, add a bit of sweetener. I have used liquid stevia and maple syrup with great success.

Froth until doubled in volume. Add to favorite DIY “Fancy” Coffee!

Here’s the frother I use, but any electric frother will do the trick. From what I have tried, oat milk foams better than cashew, but adding cashew as your milk for the mocha gives it more body. I don’t have a report on almond milk at the moment. Nothing works as well as real dairy though. If you don’t drink dairy due to lactose, I would suggest using lactose-free dairy milk, like Lactaid. If you’re non-dairy due to a different sensitivity or personal ethics, I would suggest oat milk for the foam.

If you have a favorite frother or more tips for the non-dairy folks, please leave them in the comments!

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