Hey Everyone!

I promised that this year I’d talk a bit more about what’s going on with Unrooted, so I’m keeping to that. After trying again to get an agent last fall and coming up short (just barely), I did some soul searching and realized that I think I need to tackle this project from scratch again.

It’s a bit daunting, I’m not going to lie, but I also think it’s the right decision. I was consistently getting feedback from agents that something just didn’t click or that they weren’t sure how to market it. This made me realize that the version I was working with was the one I had first drafted back when I still thought it was a YA book. Essentially, I’ve been trying to stuff a more mature project into a younger skin that didn’t fit it anymore. I think the best thing to do is it stop trying to force things into the existing draft and just start from scratch again.

Of course, I’ll be keeping most of my worldbuilding, the exception being the languages. Since I’ve grown and learned so much, I am capable of making conlangs now, so I’m developing several to use for Iridia. All my characters are staying, with some name changes, but I’m giving them room to breathe and develop in a new way. 

I’ve also decided to try writing this in third person. I’ve been reading a lot more adult fantasy in the past year, and it’s more common to use this POV in this category. Not only that, but there’s a good reason in-world for switching it up this way. 

With that said, here’s a snippet from the beginning of the new rough draft I’m working on. It will probably take me a long time to write it considering the intensity of my workload this semester, but I’m looking forward to cracking away at it. Enjoy this bit, and I’ll share more here and there as I draft! 

Three drops of blood fell on the snow.

This is the way the story always begins. Sometimes
it is three drops of wine on a pure white tablecloth, or three drops of red
paint on a blank canvas, or three drops of red tallow on a white sleeping
shirt. It has happened this way many times.

This time, it was three drops of blood drawn by a
rosebush which fell onto a blanket of freshly fallen snow. It seems like an
ordinary thing, perhaps even a regular occurrence, and I will not deny that
this is true. But every time—and this I can promise—a story begins.

This story is that of a cursed gardener, an heir
to a nation’s throne, and the end of the world.

The gardener’s name was Peleu-Pomona Âstenu, though
she was known only by her title, Steuu Dacira, to most. The heir’s name was
Misila Lanoleu-Nevea Âpenenu. Though she would dislike it, we shall set her
aside for now to pay attention to Pomona, whose blood it was that dropped upon
the snow, and whose wish set into motion the end of the world.

Do not doubt, dear reader, that the smallest seed
can grow into the greatest tree or that the smallest wish can change the world.

I’ll check back in soon! 


First Friday Fairy Tales: February ‘19 Edition (Short Story)

Welcome to the second edition of my monthly short story. This one also happens to be bonus Iridia content, as I decided to write a short story based on how this month’s fairy tale, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” exists in the world of Unrooted. Not all of my short stories will be First Friday Fairy Tales related, but because this is my favorite fairy tale and forms a very important part of the Iridia mythos, I wanted to share it with you today. 

The full story is available on my Patreon. I currently have a goal set for $100/month in pledges, and as an incentive, I will unlock all of my existing original writing for public viewing when I reach that goal! Spread the word! 

For now, enjoy this excerpt of The White Bear and the Warrior.

The White Bear and the Warrior by Sarah Viehmann (Excerpt)

On the back of the wind she followed him

To the North as cold and white as bone

To find eternity in the ice and fire in the stone

To find eternity in the ice and fire in the stone


I want to tell you the story of a hero, but that is not
so simple a task as it might seem.

I’m simply a traveling storyteller, you see, and I don’t
know you. I don’t know your town, your people. So I can only take the spine of
the story and embellish it with details that will mean something to you, even
if those details might not quite be the truth. I hope you will grant me this
lenience and understand that the story I tell has as much truth to it as it

I won’t delay further. Let us begin.

Once there was a girl, the youngest of her father’s
children. Her name was Sâsala, and her father was a poor farmer.

(In fact, her name was Kuo, and she helped herd her
father’s reindeer. She was of the Xéči. But this won’t mean much to people such
as yourself, who live settled in towns and may not have ever seen a reindeer.)

The family was stricken by poverty, and they feared what
would become of them. One evening, a great white bear came to their home and
said that he would grant them wealth and prosperity if only they would give him
their youngest daughter.

(This is a far more pleasant version. The more exciting
version involves Kuo deciding to hunt the bear to provide for her family,
failing, and striking a deal for her life and the health of her family. But
forgive my aside.)

The bear took Sâsala far away, though not as far as some
might think if they believe her one of their own. They crossed the Silver
Channel and came to the isle known variably as Aeolus, Pe Căno, or Jói,
depending on who you are (she knew it as the latter). Within the great mountain
in the center of the isle was a magnificent castle of gold and silver wrought
from the hollowed-out inside of the castle itself. It is said even today, and
with significant agreement, that it was designed and made by the Nova. However,
it became clear that the castle itself was not the only thing so made—the bear
himself was touched by malignant Novae magic, and at night he returned to his
natural form as a man to join Sâsala in her bed. He always did so in the dark,
however, and she never saw his face. Thankfully this did not inhibit them from
developing something of a close friendship. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that
the bear is none other than Rormu, the other hero of legend.

The longer Sâsala stayed with him, the more the truth of
the bear’s curse came to light, if you’ll forgive my turn of phrase. He
possessed uncommon magic that made him useful to the dread tyrant Ulyssus, and
thus he had been cursed and restricted to the island to preserve him for the
time when Ulyssus needed him. It is very difficult to break a curse such as
that, you see, and Rormu knew little about it. He knew that someone else needed
to work the magic, and that this person needed to make a sacrifice, giving up
one of their senses for a time. It was for this reason that he and Sâsala lived
in darkness, for if she were to see his face, any chance of breaking the spell
would be ruined.

Read the Rest of the Story on Patreon!

Iridia Update

Hello, friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything about Unrooted or the rest of the Iridia series. I think I spent time away nursing my wounds from parting ways with my publisher, so I wasn’t inclined to share much (it’s a little embarrassing when you’ve been talking up something that doesn’t end up happening). So, I’ve kept a bit quiet on here, though if you follow me on Twitter you might have seen updates now and then. But, here’s a quick rundown of Things That Have Happened.


I revised my query letter and begin sends queries again not too long after I separated from my publisher (God it sounds like a divorce). One of the first queries I got back was a request for a full manuscript, which was really exciting!


That agent replied saying that she loved my worldbuilding and loved Pomona, but that Nevea read a bit young for her. This set off a lightbulb in my head, because in the process of realizing that Unrooted is adult, I never stopped to revisit Nevea’s voice to better make it fit that category. To address this problem, I aged up all the characters by three years, so Pomona now turns 22 during the book and Nevea is approaching 21. I also made appropriate adjustments to her voice and arc to better fit an older character, and I’m thrilled with the result. I’ve since sent the revision back to that agent, but even if she decides to turn me down, I know that this change has seriously elevated the series.


For this year’s NaNoWriMo, I reworked one of the major plot lines in Book Four, which I initially wrote from NaNoWriMo 2016. While I loved the character beats, the plot was dull, so in this new version I saved some old things but also added new characters, which I think really flesh out that part of the book. I wound up with 18k more words than I’d planned, but cutting down is Future Sarah’s problem. 


Today, I revisited the timeline now that I’ve aged up the characters. Now that I don’t have the restrictions of a YA timeline (i.e. keeping the characters within spitting distance of teenaged), I can stretch things out a bit more and also, as a result, make things more realistic. As of right now, the whole series takes up four years, though I may push it to five depending on what happens when I write Book Five. 


I’ve put off querying until I was settled into the revision, and publishing is about to go asleep this month, so I’ll start querying again in January. I hope to hear back from the R&R agent then, but otherwise I’ve got a list of other agents to query now that I have revitalized the book. 

That’s about all she (I) wrote! I’m going to try to update more often this coming year, but if you’re ever hungry for more, I often share my quick-and-dirty thoughts on Twitter. ❤

Miscellaneous UNROOTED Character Portraits | Sarah Viehmann on Patreon

Today, available to $1 patrons, is a look at some sketches of miscellaneous characters that appear in Unrooted! They might not be main characters, but they’re still important. Here’s what they look like in my mind (though your mileage may vary). 

Miscellaneous UNROOTED Character Portraits | Sarah Viehmann on Patreon

I DID IT!!! I won NaNoWriMo 2018!

I’m sorry I didn’t do a thread like last year, but I just couldn’t juggle it. But in brief:

My initial goal was only 32k because I just wanted to rewrite Pomona’s plotline from Book Four. There was a lot of material I planned to save, so my word count this year is comprise of both pasted material and new material. 

In the end, I wrote 52,506 words and finished the draft! So I met one goal and exceeded the other! 

Despite the fact that I really should sleep, I stitched together this new draft with the Nevea and Lina material that I wrote last year. The word count of the Book Four draft is now 172,556 words

(One part of me is instinctively like MUST CUT but then again I am writing in adult fantasy now so that kind of word count for a fourth book in a series probably isn’t as outrageous as it would be in YA.)

(Nevertheless the book is still a bit of a mess–better than it was–and I’ll need to do a lot of editing in the future.)

I finished writing around 11:30pm on November 30th, which means that it’s both the longest word count I’ve finished with and the latest I’ve finished. Just tonight, I wrote 8,814 words. Some was pasted in, mostly the last chapter, but that only accounted for 2,466 words. Given the kind of shitty month I’ve had, I’m really proud to have finished NaNoWriMo, and this draft, just in time. Now I can set it aside and focus on finishing the semester. 

I’ll try and share some lines in the future, but for now I’m signing off. Congratulations to all fellow NaNo winners! 

WIP Game

Go to your current WIP. Find the seventh line on the seventh page and copy and paste seven sentences below. Then, tag seven other writers to do the same.

I was tagged by @spaceshipkat! I can’t think of anyone to tag but feel free to go for it! 

from Undeserted (working title), by NaNoWriMo project and Book Four of the Iridia Series:

I squinted as I looked out over the glowing,
rolling sands. Perhaps I could just walk out into the desert and disappear, and
no one would mind. Or, if I could figure out how to dissolve again, I could
just forget to put myself back together and float away on the wind. Nevea was
so much more capable than me, so much smarter. She didn’t need me.

I didn’t matter.

A large figure moved toward me and I managed not
to flinch away, even when I saw it was my jid, the leader of our asira,
approaching me.

The Provinces of Izolat | Sarah Viehmann on Patreon

Today, available for $7 patrons, is another look deeper into the world of Iridia. This document is one that I composed for my own reference, though very little of this information actually makes it into the novel. Enjoy this look behind the curtain!

The Provinces of Izolat | Sarah Viehmann on Patreon

Sarah Viehmann is creating original writing, book reviews, writing and reading resources | Patreon

Today, available to $1 patrons, is a look at my favorite way to procrastinate–making fake covers for my book! Take a look at the few that I conjured up when I was struggling with writer’s block. Of course, the current cover is the best of all, and you can have it for yourself when Unrooted releases this winter!

Sarah Viehmann is creating original writing, book reviews, writing and reading resources | Patreon

Early Character Sketch | Sarah Viehmann on Patreon

Today, available to $1 patrons, is an original drawing of mine of two character you’ve been introduced to before–Nea and Roza. This is an early draft version, so you get to have a look back in time at Unrooted before its release this winter!

Early Character Sketch | Sarah Viehmann on Patreon