Update: August 2020

Hello there!

It’s been a while since I posted something on here. I’m currently hard at work on the second novel in the series, so you won’t find me online much. I might post a few updates on Instagram every now and then. But I’m still open for any questions or if you just want to say hello. The easiest way to get a hold of me is by sending a mail to sarah@sarahtanzmann.com.

See you soon!

Sarah ❤

UNSEELIE QUEEN: Sneak Peek #1

After publishing my debut novel Seelie Princess back in September, I went on to write the sequel during NaNoWriMo 2019. Though I hit the 50k at the end of November, I didn’t finish the first draft until mid-January of this year. I took a short break from my book before starting the editing process. I’ve still got a long way to go, but in the meantime I’d like to share the opening scene for Book 2 in The Crown of Tír na nÓg series titled Unseelie Queen. (I sent this out to my lovely mailing list subscribers about a month ago; if you’d like to join that list too, click here.)


Kayla hadn’t known she was prone to seasickness.
As the waves crashed against their tiny boat, carrying it any which way, Kayla clutched a hand to her stomach. The other tried to reach for Fay, who grabbed the railing of their boat.
“Don’t let go!” Fay cried over the roar of the waves.
Opposite of them, Nooa’s face turned the sickly color of a green Faery Light. Even Maeve looked pale. No one spoke as another gust of wind howled across the sea, tossing the boat left and right. The waves grew higher and higher before crashing onto the boat.
Before Kayla could as much as scream, she was doused in salt water. The force of the wave shoved Kayla back, away from Fay. Flinging her arms, Kayla tried to get a hold on someone—or something—when another wave knocked into her.
Kayla lost all sense of which way was up as she tumbled through the water. Salt water burned her eyes as she forced to keep them open, trying to make out any shapes and shadows. She glimpsed something in the distance and started swimming toward it. The waves thrust her back and forth as she kicked with her legs. Her chest ached with the need for air.
Something closed around Kayla’s ankle, and she screamed, sending up bubbles. Whatever had hold of her foot swam with impressive speed, and soon they broke through the surface.
Kayla hit the packed ground, spluttering and gasping. As she rubbed saltwater from her eyes, her surroundings shifted into focus. She sat on a rocky shore, facing the wild sea that raged underneath the dark sky. No sight of their boat or any survivors. Until Kayla lowered her gaze.
She yelped, crawling backward. “Who are you?!”

2020 GOALS

A lot of things can happen within one year and yet it seems to pass so fast. 2019 was over in a flash, but looking back now, I’ve achieved many of the goals I set myself a year ago.

  1. revise Seelie Princess and get it into the best shape possible
  2. learn more about traditional and self-publishing and see what works best for my novel
  3. finish writing the sequel
  4. participate in more writing workshops
  5. continue to meet with my writers group

Seelie Princess is not only revised, it’s out in the world, for you to read! The sequel isn’t entirely finished, but I hit the 50k for NaNoWriMo 2019 and now I’m on the last few thousand words. I took part in one writing workshop and shared several great feedback sessions—and fun evenings—with my writer friends. All in all, a pretty good year. Now I’m excited to continue my journey as an indie author. In 2020, I want to:

  1. finish the sequel to Seelie Princess (both writing and editing)
  2. improve my marketing skills
  3. become a better publisher
  4. connect with new writers and new readers

Let’s see what this year has in store for me! I’m looking forward to keep writing stories that add a little magic to our everyday lives.

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

My debut novel SEELIE PRINCESS is now available as ebook on Amazon. Grab a copy today for $0.99 by clicking on the image below.

Kayla never lost hope that her father is still alive. When Seelie Princess Fay sweeps her off to the land of faeries, Kayla strikes a bargain: find her father, or never return home. As her chances are threatened by a rivalry between two courts, Kayla’s heart is drawn toward the enigmatic Fay—and closer to the trickery of the Seelie Court.

#FaerieFriday: Tír na nÓg

It’s the last #FaerieFriday before the release of my debut novel SEELIE PRINCESS on September 19. And I have something special planned for today. In previous posts, I’ve introduced various creatures of the Celtic Fair Folk. Today, I want to introduce the Celtic Otherworld: Tír na nÓg.

According to A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales, Tír na nÓg (also spelled as T’yeer-na-n-oge) is “the Country of the Young, for age and death have not found it” and it is “the favourite dwelling of the fairies”. Tír na nÓg seems to exist everywhere—in the lakes, the hills, and the forest—and nowhere at all. It’s a place that only few have found—and even fewer have returned from.

The land of faeries is often simply called Faerie, but I was intrigued by the name Tír na nÓg the moment I saw it (and not only because it looks hard to pronounce). I’ve read some stories about Tír na nÓg during my research; in the end, I made up most details of the land myself. I created my own interpretation of Tír na nÓg. Today I’d like to share what that looks like.

Tír na nÓg in SEELIE PRINCESS

This is a sketch that I worked on myself, using Inkarnate. Almost all the names are fictional, though some are inspired by Celtic mythology or the Irish language. The only term that I adapted without a change is Uffern, which is the Celtic version of Hell. It’s just a rough draft of the map to give you a general idea (if you’re interested in something more visual).


Previous #FaerieFriday posts:

SEELIE PRINCESS: Excerpt #2

One week to go! In honor of the upcoming ebook release I’m now sharing Chapter 2 with you. In Chapter 1 (which you can read here) you met Kayla, the human girl who is desperate to find her father. Read below to meet the Seelie Princess!

2
MORE THAN CHANCE ENCOUNTER

It had been some time since Fay last visited Chicago—or since she’d been to this world. Cool fall wind tugged at her hair and clothes as she hurried across the Millennium Park and toward the nearest subway station. No matter how long she stayed away, she would always remember the L train and the sharp wind off Lake Michigan. They were old friends greeting her and for a moment, as she stood at the crossroads, a feeling of warmth spread through her.

The light at the crosswalk switched to green and the flow of people carried her to the other side. She walked in a daze and suddenly the city felt less like an old friend and more like a recurring nightmare.

A car to her right honked. Fay flinched, startled by the unusual noise. She’d forgotten how loud Chicago was, and the air was stale and smelled of exhaust.

Another gust of wind swept across Chicago, carrying along a drizzle of rain. Fay drew her jacket closer around her. She’d put on a floaty black dress and a denim jacket, something she thought humans would wear in the summer, but she’d misjudged the weather. It was never easy to tell what season you were heading into when coming to this realm. Luckily, Fay didn’t get cold as fast as humans did.

She reached the subway stop and rifled in her jacket pocket for her ticket. Or at least what she would use as a ticket. She pulled out a large leaf she’d plucked from a tree, cast a quick Glamor, and pressed it against the scanner. With a peep, she was admitted.

She filed onto the platform with the other commuters. No one was paying much attention to her, which was a nice change for once. Back at the court, Fay was often the center of attention. And if she bowed to the queen’s wishes, she’d be of even more interest.

Not if she could find the girl first.

Fay took out the stone the queen had given her. It was opaque, about the size of an egg, and it fit smoothly into her hand. Deep pulses emanated from it in a slow, rhythmic pattern. She turned south and the pulsing faded, but when she faced north, it gave off powerful beats. She was on the right track then. The train rolled into the station and Fay got on. As it rushed north, the beating of the stone grew more intense. At one stop, the beating got so fast that Fay pushed through the crowd and out of the train seconds before the door shut again.

Using the same technique as before, she walked up to each crossroad, turned each direction, and followed the one that the stone indicated. Even after all the time she’d spent at the court, she didn’t fully grasp what made the stone work. It was a kind of magic she hadn’t seen before. One that only the queen had access to.

On and on Fay went, houses and unknown faces flashing past her, but even without looking, she knew where she was heading. The area around Lincoln Park Zoo had always been one of her favorites. Years ago, when she was little.

The stone was now beating fast and hard; it was hot to the touch. Fay turned a corner and hurried down a one-way street with brick houses. One last beat and the stone fell quiet.

She had found it.

Continue reading → SEELIE PRINCESS: Excerpt #2

#FaerieFriday: Pixies

So far we’ve covered Seelie and Unseelie faeries, pookas, faoladhs, and merrows. But we should not forget about the tiniest member of the Fair Folk: the pixies.

These small, childlike creatures are mostly benign, but they might enjoy playing the occasional trick. They’re known to live in moors, forests, or even gardens.

In Cornish Folklore, the pixies are led by their queen Joan the Wad. The name “Wad” means torch and many believe that Joan will light the way to safety and good luck. She is often associated with Jack o’ the Lantern, the king of pixies. Some might consider the two will-‘o-the-wisps, who lead travellers astray from their path.

Pixie by Brian Froud

Either way, one would do well to be cautious when meeting a pixie.


Previous #FaerieFriday posts:

SEELIE PRINCESS: From Draft to Print

Writing a book can be a long process. When I started this journey 5 years ago, I had very little knowledge of writing itself. But through continuous effort, hard work, and persistence, I finally achieved my goal. Today I want to take stock of the individual stages that I worked through with SEELIE PRINCESS.

Summer 2014 – Spring 2015

In this first phase, a vague idea was formed into a plot through meticulous research and brainstorming. I spent hours upon hours researching Celtic mythology, writing up character profiles, plotting, and experimenting with various different scenes and dialogues.

Spring 2015 – Fall 2015

I think it was in March that I finally found the courage to actually write the book. The first few weeks were slow, and I was weighed down by fear. Could I do this? Or am I just setting myself up to fail? My sense for perfectionism slowed me down even further, because I felt like I had to write the perfect first draft. In the end I guess it was thanks to heartbreak that I was able to let go of my perfectionism and just pour my heart and soul onto the page.

Years 2016-2017

After I finished my first draft, chaos ensued. I had finally done the seemingly impossible—I had written a book. But what now? In those two years, periods of collecting feedback and editing were interspersed with periods of absolute silence. Life kept getting in the way, and I grew more and more anxious about my project. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to find my way back. But I never stayed away entirely. The way I can explain this is if you think of your mind as a web browser, and the tab called WRITING was constantly open. Sometimes it was shoved to the background, sometimes it was at the very front. But it was never truly gone. In those two years, I explored writing shorter stories, read several books on writing (which I guess would have been helpful before I started out), went to workshops, took a writing class during my semester abroad, and tried to hone my skills as best as I could.

Spring and Summer of 2018

That’s when I truly found my way back to my manuscript. I don’t know why it happened exactly at that point—perhaps because I had a bit less on my plate than I had the previous years. Or perhaps because I could no longer bear the idea that I might never finish this book. So when a friend of mine told me about Pitch Wars, I jumped right back into editing mode. Equipped with the skills I had gained in the previous years, I tore through my manuscript with a red pen in my hand. And while I did not get picked in the competition, I’m glad I tried because it was the motivation I needed to keep going.

Fall and Winter of 2018

But of course being rejected can take a toll on a person. It was the first rejection I received for SEELIE PRINCESS and it was overwhelming, to say the least. It took a couple of week to get back on my feet. I submitted my manuscript to another competition, queried a few agents—and collected some more rejections. But just as I was about to fall down a deep dark hole, I realized that I might be on the wrong path. That the traditional route might not be the right one for me or my book.

Spring and Summer of 2019

After a few months away from my manuscript, I was ready for more. I had collected some ideas and started working on a revision. Going back felt familiar and new at the same time. I was filled with a new kind of excitement, and I rushed through my revision. A couple of feedback sessions and edits later, I was heading straight for the finishing line. In July, I sent off my manuscript to my editor. Another round of edits and my manuscript was up for final proofreading at the beginning of August. And all of a sudden, though it had happened gradually over years, my book was finished.

The end…is the beginning

If you self-publish, the journey doesn’t end there. There’s still formatting, distribution, and marketing, but you should also take a moment to pat yourself on the shoulder and say, “You did it. You really finished that novel.” And then you should hold your little book baby and show it to the world. Because in the end the hardest part of writing a book is letting it go. At least it was for me. But today…

I

am

letting

go…

#FaerieFriday: Merrows

Last week I introduced the faoladh, the Irish werewolf. This week’s creature is the Celtic folklore version of a mermaid. However, the merrow is not part mermaid, part human. It is a sea-creature, with pale skin and see-colored hair. The females are said to be unearthly beautiful, while male merrows are hideous.

Some legends say that merrows wear a red, feathered cap. It’s what gives them the ability to dive into the depths of the sea. Often humans would steal this cap to prevent the merrow from going into the water again. Especially men took an interest in female merrows as their partner. Their offspring would be human, with webbed fingers and toes.

Faeries by Brian Froud

Like the faoladh, the merrow is not always considered part of the Fair Folk, but it certainly holds a special place in the Celtic mythology. It’s one of my favorite creatures, because I like the idea of a mermaid that’s a sea-creature, rather than a hybrid being.


Previous #FaerieFriday posts: