Magical Moments

Well, May has gone, and I let it go by quietly as far as the blog is concerned. In recovering from the craziness of the A to Z Challenge, I pretty much retreated to my hidey-hole, working on finishing up my latest editing pass for my Tree and Tower sequel. This biggest news on that front is I finally settled on a title: A Shadowed Spirit. Only took me a year and a half. On the plus side, Lulu tells me it has a 69% chance of becoming a bestseller, so… bonus! The release date for that book is still on schedule for early 2016.

And since I’m in update mode…


This is pretty much the extent of my graphic design skills…

The ebook of tree stories is coming along! It’s pretty much formatted and done, as is the cover I threw together. I just need to do a proofreading pass and then figure out how to distribute it. I’m aiming to get it out sometime this month.

I’ve also gotten started on the Hazel and Holly series. I’m currently working on the second-half of the second installment (chapter?). This is such a weird project for me; I’ll probably have to write a separate blog post about it all on its own. But it’s weird because it feels like a novel that I’m then looking at through a serialized lens. I have no idea what the end result will be. I feel like it might end up as some weird conglomerate… thing… that is neither a novel nor a series. It may be hideous, and I will have to hide it away and only unveil it at certain moments with a resounding “Behold!” upon which children will cry and women will faint.


While lurking in my hidey-hole, I’ve stumbled upon some magical moments while out in the woods (yes, my hidey-hole encompasses woods). My daily woodland wanderings have become moments of recharging, of finding a quiet and centering place. And so here a few little moments that brought me small bits of happiness, and so I thought it’d be nice to share.


Tree Pollen

DandelionI know, for those with allergies, pollen is pretty much the bane of existence. And if you are susceptible to allergies, Sweden is a place you probably don’t want to be. The pollen levels here in the spring are crazy. It collects in puddles and coats windowsills in layers of yellow dust. Luckily, I don’t have allergies, so I get to enjoy the explosion of spring on all its levels.

My favorite among this pollen bombing is from one particular tree. I’m really not sure what kind of tree it is. My guess is it’s some kind of cottonwood, because that’s the kind of pollen it produces. Cottony, feathery tufts that float on the air like springtime snow. It’s beautiful to look at and to walk through. It makes me feel like I’m in a fairy realm. If you’ve ever seen Legend, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I didn’t get a picture of the tree pollen, so here’s a dandelion instead. Fun fact: “dandelion” in Swedish means “worm rose” (maskros). How cool is that?




The ladybug picture I took was substandard, so here’s a cute one I nabbed from Pixabay.

Such remarkable little creatures. I’ve never liked insects, but for some reason I gave these a pass when growing up, and I would often spend my recesses at school looking for ladybugs, giggling with delight as they’d crawl over my fingers. Even now, seeing a ladybug on a leaf still fills me with a measure of glee, reminiscent of those bygone days.

Apparently in folklore, ladybugs are harbingers of good things to come. Either in luck, harvests, or in helping girls find future husbands. Because, you know, it’s not proper folklore until you’ve introduced some whack-job method of finding a mate. Fact.

Here’s a neat little website dedicated to ladybugs.


Blueberry Lanterns

I’ve lived in Sweden for fourteen years now (which blows my mind when I think about it), but I’ve only recently noticed that unripe blueberries look like tiny little lanterns. Or, as Anders likes to call them, elf hats.

Here’s a couple of pictures of them that I took as best as my photography skills would allow. Honestly, I’m pretty pleased with these, considering the mosquitoes were circling as they sized me up for lunch.

Blueberry1 Blueberry3





Just goes to show that even when you’re comfortable with your surroundings and you think you’ve seen it all, if you take a moment to look, you still might find things that surprise you. That’s pretty magical, in and of itself.


Do you have any favorite magical moments?


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Sophie Duncan - 8 years ago

Titles are so difficult, aren’t they? I’m slowly getting the hang of them, but I have had some spectacular misses as well! ;P

Glad to hear your tree collection is coming on well. I like the cover, simple, but effective.

And I know what you mean about ladybugs, I never used to cringe from them like I did other insects, either.

When I was a teenager, we used to go to Exmoor in Somerset for our holidays and we’d go off out onto the moor, or into the woodland around the moor for long walks. There’s nothing like coming up over the crest of a hill and looking down on unbroken moorland, sometimes seeing deer on the opposite side of the coombe. It was so isolating, a bit scary sometimes, especially if the weather was turning, but it was also liberating. Those holidays were the first times I started to write substantial pieces, and I have a story based in that open landscape tucked away in exercise books that I think I might turn into a novel, or a series of novels sometime in the future.

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Titles are definitely weird. Sometimes they come fairly easily, but this one… man. I seriously felt like hiring someone to pick one for me haha.

    Thanks, Sophie. “Simple but effective” is pretty much what I think of the cover as well. It won’t win any awards, but it will do, I think. 😉

    I love your story! I’m enthralled with words like “moorland” and “coombe.” It sounds magical and beautiful, and I love that it’s inspired your writing. Hopefully you can work the setting into a larger story one day. Thank you for sharing! 😀

Misha - 8 years ago

Sounds like you’re making awesome progress!

I try to find magical moments all over. It’s part of what makes my day special. 🙂

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Thanks, Misha. That’s great you keep an eye out for the magical moments. I feel like they can easily be overlooked sometimes in the shuffle of everyday life. You’re on it! 😀

Hilary - 8 years ago

Hi Sara – titles are so difficult .. and can constantly change. Glad the hidey-hole has given you some magical moments .. and those woodland settings sound wonderful … a craggy cliff, a bluebell walk, or a windy day at high tide – might just make my list today … cheers Hilary

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Very true about titles. The title for this book had maybe, oh, seven or so variations before I settled on this one.

    A craggy cliff, a bluebell walk, and a windy day at high tide all sound absolutely wonderful and magical. Thank you for sharing, Hilary! 😀

Tanya Miranda - 8 years ago

Titles drive me insane. I linger on one for a while, and then a butterflies crosses my path and all of a sudden it seems all wrong! I recently changed the title to my WIP because I had to – I was dealing with a cover artist! But, in the end, the new title makes more sense than the old one. Damn butterfly…

I love the cover of A Collection Of Trees! The background and the tree theme in the title and your name are perfect for your collection. The bugs make it look very fairy tale-ish.

My magical moments, lately, have been with my son. But, I won’t go into detail here. You’ve inspired me to write a post about it. 😀

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Oh no about your title! I’m chuckling about the cover artist though. I’m imagining him sitting there, arms crossed, and saying, “I’m not doing that” haha. Which, of course, I’m sure isn’t the case, but that’s where my mind went. Glad it all worked out.

    Thank you about the cover! I also love the font with the little insects. It was part of my plan to find a kick-ass font that would then hopefully distract from my woefully inadequate design skills. So… mission accomplished. 😉

    And I’m so happy this post inspired you to write one about your son! I look forward to reading it. 😀

Celine Jeanjean - 8 years ago

That’s exciting for the book of tree stories! Good luck finishing it! And I can so sympathise with your struggle to find a title, I found it so hard for my book, but I think you’ve settled on something that sounds great!

The ladybug bit made me laugh — it’s so true though half of folklore seems to be about finding a husband or wife! 😉

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Thanks, Celine! And, yeah, it’s kind of funny isn’t it, with the whole husband/wife finding obsession. Though, I suppose it’s kind of nice in a way. Everyone wants to be loved. 🙂

Jeri Burns - 8 years ago

Titles can be so hard! Even for little blog posts sometimes…but the one you came up with is so vivid and intriguing. Congratulations on upcoming books 🙂 🙂 🙂

Fourteen years in Sweden? Lucky you. What do baby lingonberries look like? Cloudberries???

We still have our little project to do, I haven’t forgotten but have been caught in other things and ATOZPTSD. 🙂 (How many times in one comment can I use the smiley icon?)

My favorite magical moment is when I go visit my mom and get to the beach. Just smelling salt air is magic. Too bad she lives 3 hours away… 🙂

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Hooray for smileys! 😀 😀

    I don’t know what baby lingonberries or cloudberries look like! Cloudberries don’t grow around here, but lingonberries do. They’re hard to find, because blueberries are bullies in the world of forest fruits and grow absolutely *everywhere*. I’ll have to poke around and see if I can find a poor stunted lingonberry bush. 😉

    I also haven’t forgotten about our project! But yeah, I’ve also been caught up in other things (and definitely ATOZPTSD), so, really, we’re on the same page. We’ll make it happen!

    I love the smell of salt air. The Northwest Pacific coast in California is one of my favorite places in the world. So much magic in such great bodies of water, I agree. Thank you for sharing!

Michelle Morrison - 8 years ago

Cool post. There is magic all around if you take the time to look for it. I seem to mostly notice flowers. 🙂 I’m looking forward to A Shadowed Spirit and A Collection of Trees. I like the Collection of Trees cover a lot.

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Thanks, Michelle! Flowers are beautiful. My brother loves taking pictures of flowers. It can be a real treat, sometimes, looking through his camera. 🙂

    And I can’t wait to release A Shadowed Spirit! The tree collection, too, but since the stories are already on the blog, it’s less exciting. 😉 I’m glad you like the cover, thank you!

J.H. Moncrieff - 8 years ago

Oh, those are such beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing! I’d love to visit Sweden–my family is Swedish (and Norwegian), but I’ve never been.

Excited to hear about your book projects too! Let’s hope Lulu is right.

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Thank you, J.H.! Hopefully you can make it out here, someday. It’s really lovely.

    I had to chuckle when I found the Lulu title analyzer. Let’s just say I’ve taken it well-salted. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed, regardless. 😉

Katie Cross - 8 years ago

That cover is gorgeous, seriously. I was about to ask if Jenny did that one as well, but when I saw you did it, I was mad impressed.

Also that title? Swoon. I want to buy all the Sara books!

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    What? That’s crazy! I don’t think the cover is anywhere near Jenny quality, but I’m so so flattered that the thought crossed your mind.

    Aww thank you Katie! 😀

Tarkabarka - 8 years ago

I love the cover! And I am excited to read all the tree stories over again 🙂 And I can’t wait for Hazel and Holly! I think they will be a fan favorite. 😉
The pictures are beautiful! And it is lovely to retreat to the woods sometime. Enjoy!

    Sara C. Snider - 8 years ago

    Thanks, Csenge! Glad you are looking forward to the stories, and I do hope Hazel and Holly will become a fan favorite. That would be awesome. 😀

Michelle Wallace - 7 years ago

I’m looking forward to your book, Sara.
That cover is simple yet effective. It has an ‘earthy’ quality.
Lovely photos!
…and I also took a while to recover from the A to Z Challenge. <3

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Michelle! “Earthy” quality is pretty cool and, well, fitting. 😉 I almost wonder if there needs to be a post A to Z support group. But then maybe that wouldn’t work, because we’d be all “don’t talk to me!” at that point. 😛

Stephanie Faris - 7 years ago

Your hidey-hole sounds like a great place. I need one of those. Would that mean I could get lots of writing done undisturbed?

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Hehe! I think you need a jumbo-sized, deluxe hidey-hole for that–the ones with 20% more hidey-ness (which I have, incidentally, but then I’m about three steps away of becoming a hermit). 😉

djinnia - 7 years ago

my poor mom would probably die if she had to be in sweden during pollen season! she’s allergic to all allergy meds.

love the pics. the blueberry ones are so pretty.

the cover is fantastic. I love it.

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Djinnia! And, yeah, I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with allergy misery every spring.

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