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Thursday, 16 March 2023

The Revision Continues...

 

Hey! How are you today? 😊

Well, this week I got stuck into the third draft of the novel I'm currently revising and not only did I reach the end tonight, but I also had enough time to take care of the changes/additions list. Yes, there's always a list leftover. It wasn't a long one this time, but I took care of everything.

That means I get tomorrow off. Yay.

Anyway, this is how this week's numbers looked: 
  • Monday: 85/237pgs (87,948w)
  • Tuesday: 146/237pgs (87,573w)
  • Wednesday: 218/237pgs (87,050w)
  • Thursday: 236pgs / 86,158w 

Very excited that the third draft is done! Yay. 😁

As you can see above, I ended up cutting quite a few words. All excess that didn't need to be there, or could be condensed in some way. I also ended up chopping the last four pages of one chapter because it didn't add anything to the story. Actually, I think it confused things.

Sometimes, you just gotta make sure the character doesn't go off on a tangent that doesn't fit.

I'm happy with how it's turned out and added it to my Paperwhite so I can read it one last time. What I love about the last stage/proofread, is how reading the story away from the laptop makes other things stand out. One thing that always catches my attention on the Paperwhite is word repetition.

But that's something to tackle on Monday. I'm going to take three days away from the story. Looking forward to the weekend, but that's still a whole day away.

Have a great day!


Friday, 10 March 2023

It's Revision Time!

 

Hey! How are you today? Great, I hope.

The last few weeks have been a bit strange. Draining and sad. Asides from losing Loki and getting used to hubby's new working hours, we got our next Pfizer booster on Friday. So we were feeling pretty crappy last weekend. That Covid shot sure makes you feel like shit, but it's worth it. And the effects wore off by Monday. Phew.

Well, it's been a while but this week I got stuck into a bit of revision. That's right, after finishing my outstanding Revision Projects last year, I promised myself that I would stay on top of my drafts from now on. There's no point in piling them up for years. It's much better to stay on top of things.

So, this is me getting stuck into the first draft of last year's NaNoWriMo story. I still like to put distance between myself and the first draft, one or two months is good, but I don't want to put them aside like I used to. It gets out of hand too easily.

So, here's  my progress:

  • Monday: 83/235pgs (87,603w)
  • Tuesday: 154/235pgs (87,601w)
  • Wednesday: 235/235pgs (87,568w)
  • Thursday: 235pgs / 87,845w

The second draft is now done! Yay. ☺️

I'm very happy with how this story turned out. This draft involved cutting away excess, and adding necessary details I missed during that first-draft writing frenzy. It wasn't too messy, so I'm looking forward to tackling the next two drafts.

The plan is to have this novel finalised by the end of March. I really like these characters and the story gets quite dark and goes places I didn't think it would. The relationships in this story are as messed up as the horror side of things. I also feel like there's definitely a true-crime influence in this one, which solidifies the narrative.

It feels good to have started the process. I'll put it aside until Monday, but I'm sure I'll be adding notes to tackle during the third draft. LOL.

I enjoyed the revision, but I missed my writing buddy. Loki used to sit next to my desk whenever I was working, and I really felt his absence. πŸ˜”

Have a nice weekend!


Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Saying Goodbye to Loki



LOKI
2007 - 2023

I've been meaning to write this post for almost a week now, but couldn't bring myself to do it because it was too sad and very painful.

Last Monday we lost our beloved cat, Loki. πŸ˜₯πŸ’”

Calling Loki a cat doesn't seem right. He was my writing buddy, our companion, a little comedian, our familiar, and a sassy boy with a huge attitude. He was the king of the castle. He knew what he wanted and because he was so cute, adorable and loud, he always got his way.

He turned 16 last month, but shortly after that he started changing. Loki was always an active kitty who loved to run around and jumped onto most surfaces. Even after he became a senior cat, he had a lot of energy. But he lost that spark recently, and when he started withdrawing, we got worried because he loved following us around. Especially me.

After he stopped eating, that was when we knew there was a serious problem. Eating was his favourite thing to do, so ignoring his food was not normal.

This was all very strange because he had blood tests in late December that confirmed nothing was out of the ordinary. 

Either way, we made an appointment with his usual vet. Who cancelled an hour before we were meant to go because their main vet was on holidays and the one covering wasn't sure she was up for the challenge. 🀬

It was frustrating, and we scrambled to get him an appointment at another nearby vet hospital. Fast forward to last Monday, and we got the bad news. There were too many problems. Age had finally caught up with him and there was nothing left to do but to put him out of his pain.

It was hard to let him go because even though we suspected things were dire, when the reality hit it was unbearable. But there was no other way. He was wasting away before our eyes. We were not going to let him suffer for the sake of keeping him around.

I'm glad I held him until the very end. Saying Goodbye to our sweet boy was horrible and there were many tears. There still are. Not having him in the apartment has created a strange void. We miss the everyday routines we had with him, and it's strange—and feels so wrong—to not have him around.

Even writing feels weird without him. He always sat nearby while I was on my laptop and reminded me when it was time for a break. I'm a little lost without his presence.

The apartment sure is empty without him. But we have to get used to this. I hate it and wish he was still here, but the wooden box of ashes is all that remains of our precious kitty. 

I'm glad we've got so many happy memories of him. As well as hundreds of photos taken during his long and happy life. We loved our little guy.

I miss you every single day, Loki. And will never forget you. xxx


Monday, 6 March 2023

Cover Reveal!

 

In case you missed it, the awesome cover for my upcoming DarkLit Press horror novella was revealed at Uncomfortably Dark over the weekend.


CHECK IT OUT!


Isn't this work of art wickedly dark? 

This beautiful cover was made by Truborn Design and Kristina totally nailed the eerie atmosphere of my story.


Here's the synopsis:

Kae Roscoe's daughter went missing in the woods sixteen months ago but when she returns, she's not the same person. She hardly speaks, doesn't eat, responds with extreme violence, and things get worse when she's released from the hospital. There's definitely something very different about Molly, and her reappearance is making strange things happen to everyone around her.


Did you read the amazing blurbs listed at Uncomfortably Dark from a bunch of awesome authors? I was very lucky to get such wonderful blurbs from authors I admire.




I'm SO excited and can't wait until this book is out in the wild!

Friday, 3 March 2023

THE GROWTH by Adam Hulse

 

The GrowthThe Growth by Adam Hulse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was a fast-paced blast of a story! It's packed full of action. I couldn't put it down until I reached The End. 😳

While clearing out a fatberg from the sewers, the cleaning team discover something monstrous lurking beneath the city. Dubbed The Growth by the media, it doesn't take long for this blob to take over the entire country. And for humanity to collapse...

Yikes! Like I said above, I enjoyed the hell out of this story. I enjoyed the introduction of different characters that eventually lead into the very serious problem plaguing the UK, before settling into the POV of three outstanding characters.

Emma is a fighter searching for the woman she loves. Tax is a tough man who finds himself alone and without purpose. Kevin is convinced he's a coward, but is determined to try and make a scientific difference against this monster. I liked these three so much!

One thing that never fails to be true is that during an apocalyptic event, the monster/s isn't going to be the only threat. And I liked how well this is portrayed in this novella. The violent, perverted, and religious freaks are littered throughout the landscape and pose a terrifying threat.

I think this is an excellent apocalyptic story that introduces the reader to an alternate, and totally awful, version of our world. Yet, the most horrifying thing is how easy it would be for us to find ourselves in a similar situation. I mean, we're constantly polluting our waterways and sewers.

Also, the ending left me wondering about several things... Can't wait to read the second one! πŸ’€

ALONE WITH MYSELF by Kev Harrison

 

Alone With MyselfAlone With Myself by Kev Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story captivated me from the first line. And I couldn't put it down until I reached the end.

Graham is a lighthouse keeper who's just lost his wife and scattered her ashes into the sea. When a storm hits the next night, he rescues the sole survivor and finds himself in a very strange situation...

I loved the atmosphere throughout the entirety of this short story. And the location is so vivid I felt like I was there, at the lighthouse. It's not long, but the emotional impact is huge. Witnessing what Graham goes through after the loss of his beloved wife, as his memories slip away, is both sad and beautiful. This is a mournful, heartbreaking tale that leaves a lasting imprint of grief behind so strong you can taste the ocean air.

Fantastic!

Thursday, 2 March 2023

DEAD EYES by E.V. Knight

 

Dead EyesDead Eyes by Ev Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another E.V. Knight story that didn't disappoint!

Lisa Thompson is obsessed with the murders that happened twenty years ago in the house across the street. Actually, she's writing an article that she hopes helps secure a college scholarship. When a new girl and her mother move in, Lisa knows this is her chance to investigate. But things aren't always as they seem, and there are eyes everywhere...

Wow. This novella packs quite a punch, and totally hooked me in from beginning to end. Seriously, I read it in one sitting.

The 80s are captured so perfectly, this story could've been written in the 80s!

The slasher vibes are awesome. The family mystery intriguing. The characters are all fleshed out and feel/sound real. The teenage situations are perfect echoes of countless 80s movies. And the shocking ending really ties everything together, in the creepiest way possible.

Yeah, I enjoyed the hell out of this novella!

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

THIS IS WHERE WE TALK THINGS OUT by Caitlin Marceau

 

This is Where We Talk Things OutThis is Where We Talk Things Out by Caitlin Marceau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to check this out for a while now, so I picked it up last night and read it in one sitting.

Since Miller's father died, she's kept her distance from her controlling mother. She has a nice life and is about to marry her girlfriend. But when her mother, Sylvie, starts stalking her online, she agrees to go away for a weekend to mend their relationship. And unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished...

Wow. This story is heavy. Not only in the deep psychological stakes that keep mounting with every chapter, but also because the sheer horror of the situation Miller finds herself in is one that some of us have unfortunately experienced to some extent. 😳

There's a lot about this very-well written novella that gets under your skin. Sylvie is a master class in gaslighting and made my blood boil. What she puts her daughter through is infuriating. Grrrr. As for Miller, I felt so bad for her. All she wanted to do was give her mother one last chance, and instead ends up starring in her own horror show!

I really enjoyed this creepy little tale of familial horrors, and the ending is fucking chilling. SO DAMN CREEPY.

Anyway, you should definitely check out this screwed-up tale full of guilt trips and emotional manipulation.

Friday, 24 February 2023

THE GOONIES by James Kahn

 

GooniesGoonies by James Kahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Goonies is one of my favourite movies. A movie I've watched countless of times and has chased me from childhood all the way into adulthood. We even watched it with our daughter when she was a kid. Actually, we watched it again last Christmas. 😁

I didn't know there was a novelisation of the movie until a few years ago, but couldn't find the paperback anywhere. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to check the Kindle store and there it was! Instant buy, of course. Especially since I read and enjoyed the hell out of The Gremlins novel.

80s novelisations are WILD!

Okay, back to this book. LOL.

Most of the story is the same as the movie, but there are some variations that stand out. A scene early on in a convenience store where Troy the Jerk, Andy and Stef are first introduced. Brand's claustrophobia. Mikey's secret crush on Andy, and his sense of wonder in everything he sees/does. Plus, leeches, creepy mist, a giant squid, and a bunch of other variations. That I liked, btw.

Also, the whole book is narrated in Mikey's first-person POV, so we get to know him very well. He's also the one who fills in the blanks after other characters tell him what happened. Chunk's story, for example.

I'm actually really glad I read this because it was a LOT of fun. It was a great novelisation of the movie. There were a few typos throughout, which I suspect happened when they formatted from paperback to Kindle. And a strangely-placed series of pages in the middle with pictures that didn't translate well on my Paperwhite. Probably for the same reason.

But these are pesky things that don't get in the way. This is a great novel! And I REALLY enjoyed the laidback narrative style. It fit Mikey, the story, and the adventure. Not to mention the unexpected cheekiness that is so 80s! πŸ˜…

Goonies never say die.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

LOVE, PAMELA by Pamela Anderson

 

Love, Pamela: Her new memoir, taking control of her own narrative for the first timeLove, Pamela: Her new memoir, taking control of her own narrative for the first time by Pamela Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I'm not sure why I was interested in reading this memoir. I mean, I am from a generation that remembers the huge phenomenon that was Baywatch, and because of that, I was aware of Pamela Anderson. It was hard not to know who she was because for a while there, she was everywhere.

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Pamela Anderson and Kelly Slater. Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock. It seemed like she was known for the men in her life as much as she was for her work. Which might be why I'm not what you'd consider an actual fan.

Then, she faded away but resurfaced after that movie was released. The fact she wanted to tell her story, her way, is what drew me to this book. And I think it started out pretty strong. I enjoyed the way she blended poetry into the narrative, the introduction to her family's origins, and her honesty. But unfortunately, as the book moved along, I started to lose interest.

I think my problem is that sometimes, especially during the last half of the book, she seemed to speed through and skim past a lot. Everything moved too fast, and in the end, lacked emotional engagement. I just couldn't connect entirely.

The best thing about this memoir is that Pamela never hides behind her decisions and choices. Especially since she made so many questionable choices along the way. I mean, Tommy Lee? 😧

Anyway, maybe I wasn't the right audience. I don't know.

Friday, 17 February 2023

SAGA #61 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #61Saga #61 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been waiting for the return of Saga, and this issue didn't disappoint. OMFG! There was a bit of everything, and I can't wait to see where this particular storyline goes. Especially after that ENDING!! 😳

Thursday, 16 February 2023

WASPS IN THE ICE CREAM by Tim McGregor

Summer 1987: Mark Prewitt’s only priority is to avoid his dad’s new wife and waste time with his friends, but idle nights are the devil’s playground. When his friends decide to pull a cruel prank on the reclusive and strange Farrow sisters, Mark regrets caving in to peer pressure.

Wanting to make amends, Mark is drawn into the mysterious world of the Farrow girls, finding a kindred spirit in the middle sister, George. She is unlike anyone he’s ever known; a practicing witch who uses folk magic to protect her family. They bond over books, loneliness, and homemade spells. She even invites Mark to join a sΓ©ance to contact her dead sister, who died under mysterious circumstances.

Keeping their relationship secret, Mark learns that living a double life in a town this small is impossible. When the secret is exposed, and his friends plot to punish the witch sisters for stealing one of their own, Mark is forced to choose between these two worlds.



I've had my eye on this book for a while, so I want to thank Erin Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy.

It's the summer of 1987. Mark Prewitt is trying to enjoy the long, hot and very boring days with his two buddies while working two jobs. But when one of the weird and mysterious Farrow sisters catches his eye, he finds himself falling into their strange and violent world. Something no one is happy about...

Well, this turned out to be an awesome and intriguing book! Not just because it captures the nostalgia of the 1980s so well, but because the tale of newfound love and deteriorating friendships is universal.

The story is told by Mark. A teenager who lost his mother and is now trying to get used to the fact his father remarried. A much younger woman. He's also caught in the middle of a dangerous friendship he should have left years ago, and another that's too flimsy to matter. But there's also the personal need to become the same person he is inside and out. He sure has an inner battle with himself, and usually ends up saying the wrong thing. Or the opposite of what he wants to say. And that always leads him to trouble.

Sometimes, it's hard to like him but his narrative is always interesting. And addictive. He has a knack for taking the reader on a rocky, but interesting ride through a town with too many prejudices.

There's a LOT to like about this book. The characters all felt real in their own different ways. Starting with his hot-head of a father, his very patient stepmother, and everyone else in between. The kindness and cruelty metre sure takes a beating with these characters. But I especially liked how Mark's interest in George Farrow develops. The way his curiosity starts slowly but quickly escalates into romantic territory, leading to an explosive conclusion and a twist I didn't see coming.

Wasps in the Ice Cream is a fantastic story that hooked me in from start to finish, and truly felt like it belonged in the 80s. All the sharp edges of that turbulent time are portrayed in a raw and gritty way that kept me glued to every page. There's an uncomfortable truth about the people who live in this town, one that kept the tension simmering beneath until everything boils over.

Also, that ending was perfect.

I loved this, and highly recommend it!




Friday, 3 February 2023

I have some awesome news!


Hey! How are you today? I hope you're all having a great day.

If you were anywhere near Twitter yesterday, you might have already heard the awesome news:

DarkLit Press announced that my horror novella, SUFFER THE DARKNESS, will be released/published later this year. Yay! ☺️πŸŽ‰

This is also my first time on Publishers Marketplace.

I'm super excited about this acceptance because DarkLit Press is such an excellent publisher with a fantastic catalogue of horror books. To be a part of this team is very exciting. I can't wait to share more details.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, 19 January 2023

ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD by Hayley Campbell

 

All the Living and the DeadAll the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book listed on Kindle Daily Deals and was instantly intrigued. I mean, I write horror stories, watch true crime documentaries and read a lot of thrillers, so of course I'm curious about the business of death and the people who do these jobs.

Actually, I wrote a novel featuring a funeral home (that needs revising) last year, so... yeah. I had to read this.

Before I say anything else, let me just mention how heavy this book is. Not only because it's packed with useful facts and figures, but emotionally. It's so emotionally taxing, I took my time reading it. But it was well worth my time.

Hayley Campbell isn't shy about her interest in death. She's fascinated by it, mostly because she wants the answers no one can provide. No matter what religion tells you, we have no idea what comes after and this is a question that haunts humans most of their lives. But more than that, she's on a quest to find out about the people who perform all the essential background duties. All the very important medical, clinical, physical tasks most don't want to think about. Who are these people who deal with death on a daily basis? How do they deal with it? Why did they sign up for these jobs? Are they kind and caring? Morbid and creepy?

Well, this book certainly puts a spotlight on a lot of very interesting and intriguing people. Hayley conducts detailed interviews and all of the professionals she speaks to explain a lot about what they do and why they do it.

These are the people she interviews or the places she goes: a funeral director, the Mayo Clinic, an artist who makes death masks, international emergency services, crime scene cleaner, executioner, embalmers, anatomical pathology technologist (APT), bereavement midwife, grave diggers, crematorium, cryonics, and a police officer.

She even mentioned Rotten.com. OMG. My husband and I (before we were even married) saw quite a few distressing images on this site. 😳

I also liked the way she rounded everything out with the pandemic.

This is a great book, but isn't for everyone because there are plenty of in-depth descriptions, disturbing topics, and imagery that sticks.

 
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