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Friday, 20 May 2022

The Revision Continues...

 

Hey! How are you today? After so much shitty rain, it was nice to enjoy a streak of sunny days.

But guess what? The rain just couldn't stay away and returned today. 😕

Anyway, this week I got stuck into the third draft of my latest Revision Project because this story has been eating my brain since I finished the second draft.

As you might remember, I wasn't entirely happy with how the story turned out because there was something missing. So, as soon as I started the next draft, I cut paragraphs, chapters, an entire POV character, and moved things around. A lot of things. I also added a bunch of new stuff to strengthen the plot. Of course, that also means that this novel has now become yet another novella. 

Yep. This seems to be a running theme this year. But if it makes the story better, I'm happy.

Here's how this week turned out:
  • Monday: 21/117pgs (38,857w)
  • Tuesday: 35/113pgs (37,545w)
  • Wednesday: 58/96pgs (31,992w)
  • Thursday: 76/92pgs (29,758w)
  • Friday: 93pgs / 30,097w
As you can see, it took me all week to complete the third draft but I'm not surprised because this turned out to be a complete rewrite. Seriously, I ended up replacing and changing SO MUCH! The bare bones of plot and character is still the same, but it's very different now. Much better!

Phew.

I feel like this is how I originally envisioned this story. Man, that first draft was quite a mess, but it's always exciting to turn a story around.

Anyway, the third draft is (finally) done! Yay. 😊

Now I'll put it aside until Monday and read the whole thing all over again on my Paperwhite. Can't wait to see how all the changes fit together.

Asides from working on this, I finally got the chance to catch up on some washing. And that's about it, because even when I wasn't on my laptop working away, I spent ages thinking about and taking notes for this story.

Like I said, it was eating my brain. 😳

I need a few days off so I'm looking forward to the weekend. We actually have the Federal Election tomorrow and I'm hoping Australians do the right thing and vote these crooks out.

See ya!


Thursday, 12 May 2022

It's Time to Revise!

That's right! After completing an edit last week, this week I got stuck into another Revision Project. 😁

So, how are you? It's been a while since I blogged because hubby had annual leave in April and I took a small writing break. We had a great time together, but now it's time to get back to business. 

Here's my progress:
  • Monday: 64/153pgs (56,333w)
  • Wednesday: 117/145pgs (51,639w)
  • Thursday: 136pgs / 48,049w
I'm actually (really) glad I reached the end of this one, because I felt like putting it aside several times... 😟

I wrote the original draft of this story back in 2019, so it's another one of those projects that I've had lying around for too long. And that means I was able to look at everything objectively, which is why I spotted what didn't work pretty early on. Even though I decided to cut one of the three POVs, I read and revised the whole thing. 

On the one hand, this certain POV provided some cool insight into a particular character. But mostly, it ruined the mystery/intrigue/horror and softened the creepier parts of the story. So, it had to go, but I waited until I was done.

Working on this draft reminds me of my March revision. Like that one, I continually found myself wondering if this story was going to work at all. Although I like the main darkness and the sheer weirdness of this small town, there seemed to be something missing. And after catching up with everything, I know what that is.

I'll now spend a few days pondering how to fix all the things I didn't like during the third draft. And I'm actually looking forward to it. 😁

Well, that's it for now. 

Have a great week!!


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

MY EVIL MOTHER by Margaret Atwood

 

My Evil Mother: A Short StoryMy Evil Mother: A Short Story by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I grabbed this short story the other day, decided to check it out tonight, and read it in one sitting.

The story is set in Toronto during the 1950s and is narrated by a girl with a single mother, who was anything but conventional. Actually, her mother insisted she was a witch and that the girl's father was a garden gnome. But as she remembers her life with and without her mother, some of the truths slowly reveal themselves.

What I especially loved about this wonderful mother-daughter tale was how whimsical it was. Her mother wanted desperately to protect and teach her how to survive in a gossipy world in hopes of making her life easier by filling the days with magical terms, characters and situations. Yet, as the story wrapped up and everything slotted into its comfortable place in reality, I still couldn't help but wonder... ✨


View all my reviews

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

THE SURVIVORS by T.C. Weber

 

In a calamitous future, runaway climate change has made the planet nearly uninhabitable. Civilization has collapsed, and every day is a struggle. Lucy, a young mother of two, dreams of a better life by bringing back vanished knowledge. But the rest of her group, headed by her brutal aunt Irma, is focused only on day-to-day survival—at any price. When a deadly hurricane destroys their home, Lucy’s group is forced on the road, where they must cope with hunger, searing temperatures, and vicious rivals. And their nightmare is just beginning.


The author of this novella reached out to me a few weeks ago and because the blurb sounded interesting, I decided to give it a go.

Climate change has decimated the planet. Every single day is a struggle for the new generation of humans. Lucy is a mother of two living with a small group of fellow survivors. After a really bad storm destroys their tower, the group is forced to move to find another home, which turns out to be a lot harder than expected...

Yikes! This is not a happy story. It's bleak, unsettling, and totally brutal. The people living in this apocalyptic world constantly struggle against an erratic climate and other territorial groups determined to keep strangers out. Even those within their own group are often a threat. Scavenging and hunting are the only way they can eat, which isn't easy while trying to avoid other people.

Having young kids, a baby and a pregnant woman in their group makes things harder, but Lucy is determined to keep her children safe.

I liked Lucy because she desperately wanted to do the right thing, even if she was scared about speaking up and going against the others who were a lot stronger/wilder than her. She also wasn't as vile as Irma, or as deluded as Angelica. But I did get frustrated by her constant silence. She wanted a real future for her kids, dreamed about a better place to exist without all the fighting and death, but survival meant she had to keep her mouth shut. 

Still, I enjoyed her unpredictable tale of survival during such a dark time, and really liked that ending!

The Survivors is an ultra violent story about people living during the aftermath of what the Vanished Ones (you know, the humans who could've made a difference but chose greed and laziness) left behind. It's not pretty. It's raw and full of characters who are willing to do whatever it takes to survive. 🤢



Trigger warnings: 
This book contains scenes with violence and gore, and may not be suitable for all readers.



SURVIVORS IS NOW AVAILABLE: 


Sunday, 8 May 2022

THE RED ROOM by H.G. Wells

 

The Red RoomThe Red Room by H.G. Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved The Time Machine, so checking out a horror story by HG Wells sounded like a cool idea.

A skeptic man, in the company of three peculiar old people, has come to a creepy castle to investigate the Red Room. A place where some awful things have happened...

Well, this turned out to be a psychological tale full of imagery that might be there, but might not. I liked how the nameless narrator is so determined to prove everyone wrong and then finds himself in a peculiar situation he can't explain. Because what lurks inside our minds can be so much darker and scarier than what is actually there.

Watching as he loses himself in the frenzy of keeping the candles lit was quite an unnerving display. And the ending pretty much confirms the truth about this 'haunted room'.

This is a psychological gothic horror story with an undercurrent of dread strong enough to make one wonder if it was all in fact in his head. Or was it so much more?

I enjoyed this.

Friday, 6 May 2022

HARLEY QUINN: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki & Steve Pugh

 

Harley Quinn: Breaking GlassHarley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When we go for long suburban walks, not only do we stumble on a bunch of Street Libraries along the way, but also randomly find boxes full of books and/or movies outside people's houses.

This graphic novel happens to be one of them.

Harleen is on her way to stay with her grandmother in Gotham City, but when she gets there, she finds out she's passed away. Her apartment now belongs to Mama, a lovely drag queen who runs some pretty awesome drag shows. Here, she makes a family, starts going to school and even makes a friend. Ivy introduces her to the unfairness of the city, and when Mama is kicked out of her home, Harleen is determined to help...

I REALLY enjoyed this! I honestly didn't know whether I would, but it turned out to be an excellent modern take on the DC universe that deals with some very familiar current issues, while still including some well-known DC staples. I mean, I didn't expect the guy in the shadows to turn up.

It's all presented in a very cool way, where the characters and city are very much diverse.

My favourite thing about this book, asides from the absolutely fantastic artwork, was Harleen. I love how hard she tries to help others, and how her desire to do the right thing always gets her in trouble because she wants a quick outcome without really weighing out the options. She's also funny, quirky, creative, and doesn't care what others think of her attitude.

Yeah, this graphic novel has a LOT of heart, plenty of great characters, and a great message.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 5 May 2022

SAGA, Issue #58 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #58Saga #58 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this issue!

So many small and interesting things happen, and all of them are going to lead to a VERY bad place. And OMFG, that last page was so: 😳

Noooooooo!!

Can't wait to see what happens next...

Friday, 29 April 2022

BLOOD SUGAR by Sascha Rothchild

She's accused of four murders. She's only guilty of three...

When Ruby was a child growing up in Miami, she saw a boy from her school struggling against the ocean waves while his parents were preoccupied. Instead of helping him, Ruby dove under the water and held his ankle down until he drowned. She waited to feel guilty for it, but she never did.

And, as Ruby will argue in her senior thesis while studying psychology at Yale, guilt is sort of like eating ice cream while on a diet - if you're already feeling bad, why not eat the whole carton? And so, the bodies start to stack up.

Twenty-five years later, Ruby's in an interrogation room under suspicion of murder, being shown four photographs. Each is a person she once knew, now deceased. The line-up includes her husband Jason. She is responsible for three of the four deaths... but it might be the crime that she didn't commit that will finally ensnare her.   


This is a book that caught my eye as soon as I read the blurb. And it did NOT disappoint.

Ruby is a therapist in Miami Beach, but is now sitting inside an interrogation room with a detective and four photographs. She's been accused of killing her husband, Paul. And although Ruby is no stranger to murder, this is one she didn't actually commit... 

Wow. Just wow. This was such a brilliant story! 

When I started reading this, I found the first chapter quite shocking and a little disorienting. I mean, why would a kid do that? BUT, after reading the next chapter and the one after that, it soon became very apparent why that happened. It was still shocking, but now I HAD to find out more about Ruby's life and why she found herself inside a police station at the age of thirty.

The writing style is addictive. The way everything unfolds while she sits inside the stuffy (and freezing) room as each photo sends her mind back to the past, was very well executed. Every single flashback Ruby remembers and shares with the reader is important in some way. No detail is too small to fit seamlessly into the heart of this gritty account by a woman trying to survive in her own way, and by her own rules.

Ruby is one of those murky characters who on the surface appears to be somewhat unhinged, even psychotic. Yet, the more I got to know her, the more I realised how intelligent she really was and how she was able to justify everything about herself and everyone around her.

The way she narrates her truth is so commanding, that I couldn't look away. Even when I knew something really awful was waiting ahead, I pushed on because nothing mattered more than delving deeper into this woman's complicated life. 

Also, I really liked Mr. Cat and Kangaroo. The fact she loved animals was something I didn't expect but truly appreciated. As well as the portrayal of sisterly and platonic love.

Blood Sugar is a riveting and disturbing book because it doesn't shy away from the raw reality of life, people, and their personal motivations. Good or bad, everything is seen under the garish light of reality without its many daily filters. Plus, it does a great job at exposing the innermost unfiltered thoughts that race through everyone's minds more often than they would care to admit. Every single moment of this story is fascinating, and even though Ruby did commit some awful things, I often found myself really liking her. This woman believed in her convictions and actually did what she thought was right. 

I enjoyed the hell out of this deeply psychological study into the human psyche. 

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

 
Blood Sugar, April 2022, ISBN 9781398705616, Trapeze

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

ANATOMY: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

 

Edinburgh, 1817.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who's just trying to survive in a city where it's too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist's Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham's lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books - she'll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she's made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares - until Hazel. 

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society. 


Firstly, this cover is absolutely beautiful. It's such a simple piece of art that captures the heart of the plot. So, thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

Hazel Sinnett isn't as interested in getting married as she is in becoming a surgeon. But it's 1817 and ladies are expected to behave a certain way, while being excluded from many things. Jack Currer is a resurrection man and stagehand, just another person trying to survive in Edinburgh's Old Town. When the two meet, they realise they might be able to help each other in a lot of ways...

Well, that was amazing! A seriously awesome book that I found hard to put down.

I got sucked into this gloomy tale as soon as I started reading. The city of Edinburgh at the beginning of the 19th century is a cesspool of filth, entertainment, and scientific breakthroughs. It's a place that isn't pretty, even for the wealthy because there's a plague sweeping through the city.

This most fascinating story captured all of that misery and desperation in such a vivid way that I felt like I was temporarily transported there.

Actually, all of the imagery is described in the same detailed way. Starting from the grave digging, all the way to the many surgical procedures handled in the interesting narrative, as well as the social expectations, and the anatomy Hazel is so obsessed with.

Hazel is the main narrator, but we also catch a glimpse of Jack's POV. I really liked both Hazel and Jack. Hazel is such a strong-willed young woman with an interest others consider morbid and reserved only for the male species. And she does everything she can in order to learn the trade, even if it's bound to backfire because the odds are against her. Jack is just as strong. He works two hard, physical jobs to stay afloat in the decaying city he calls home. Their time together was captivating. Their connection serves as the backbone to the events that help uncover the horrible mystery they find themselves in the middle of when Hazel starts helping the poor.

Anatomy: A Love Story turned out to be a very dark and entertaining novel peppered with the frustration of how women were treated/disrespected through history, even when they had ambitions to be more than wife and mother, but still weren't considered important family members. There's a serious Frankenstein vibe throughout that I found intriguing, and a sense of wonder that spills from every page. Plus, I'm always a sucker for strange happenings in the middle of the night inside a cemetery. Especially in such a bleak setting, during an awful and unsteady time.

It's also a heartwarming love story between two young people who should never have even crossed paths, let alone found each other.

I absolutely loved this! ❤️


Anatomy: A Love Story, January 2022, ISBN 9780349433356, Piatkus

 
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