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Friday, 5 August 2022

July/August Revision Update!

Hey! How are you today? What have you been doing?

Here in Oz, the Covid situation keeps getting worse. The daily case numbers are still too high, and the deaths make me very sad. Still, people refuse to wear masks and continue to pack into crowded places without any social distancing. They're also too slow to act on the vaccine boosters. Luckily, hubby and I got our second booster several weeks ago, so we're now fully vaxxed. Again. It really isn't hard, but people are lazy and think that living with Covid means pretending it isn't there. 😡

Anyway, I better stop because this is something that grates on my fucking nerves.

After putting my current Revision Project aside for a week, so I could complete the final edit for another story, it was time to get back to Stuck. Especially since this is the last read-thru.

Here's my progress:
  • Monday: 43/179pgs (65,532w)
  • Tuesday: 86/178pgs (65,463w)
  • Wednesday: 118/178pgs (65,560w)
  • Thursday: 141/178pgs (65,306w)
  • Friday: 177pgs / 64,836w
That means this novel is DONE! ☺️🎉

Although this story didn't require a complete rewrite or huge cuts (like several other projects) I did have to make quite a few changes. Most of the stuff I fixed were typos, tiny inconsistencies, and making sure the timeline was solid. This is the first book I've set during Covid, so I wanted to get all the details right. Not to mention the chapters that are set during different historical times.

I had to pay close attention to detail, so it took a while to get through.

Still, I had a lot of fun with this haunted house ghost story. And actually, it was raunchier than I remember... which, in the context of this particular tale, is definitely a good thing. Well, that's what I reckon, anyway. 😉

Unlike the previous mentioned projects this year, I ended up adding words to this one. 1,256, to be exact.

Another great thing about completing this project is that I can update my Revision List again:
  • April 2021: Full edit of Wall of Dolls
  • May 2021: Full revision of Destiny
  • June 2021: Full revision of Victoria
  • August 2021: Full revision of Possess
  • September 2021: Full revision of Monsters
  • February 2022: Full revision of Cosmic
  • March 2022: Full revision of Madness
  • May 2022: First edit of Possess
  • May 2022: Full revision of Summer
  • June 2022: Full revision of Neon
  • July 2022: Final edit of Possess
  • July/August: Full revision of Stuck
Love the way this list looks now! I can't believe I have ONE first draft left to revise: an old YA novel (from 2017). Yay.

However, I've been working really hard during the last three months (3 full revisions + 1 edit) so I definitely need a mental break. I think I'll take the rest of this month off, so I can have a break with hubby. ☺️

Have a great weekend!


Friday, 22 July 2022

Revision Continues...

Hey! How are you this week? Can you believe July is more than halfway done already? Yikes! 😳

This week turned out to be a total asshole. I hope next week is a LOT better.

Last Friday, hubby and I got our second Pfizer booster shot. As soon as the government said over 30s could get them, we made an appointment. So, last weekend was a bit wonky. I'm always glad to get this vaccine, but it never fails to make me feel like crap. Still, it's worth it. 

If you read last week's post, you know I'm in the middle of yet another Revision Project. Stuck is turning out well, but it's TOTALLY eating my brain. All weekend, while relaxing on the couch, I took notes, sorted timelines, summarised chapters, got more research done, made a things-to-change list, and even wrote a new chapter.

Yep. Not kidding about the third draft stage. This is when the story is stuck (pardon the pun) in my brain and I can see the things that don't make sense, or need to be fixed to strengthen the overall plot. 

I'm really enjoying this one, and haven't decided to slash half of it. If anything, I keep adding chapters/words and solidifying concepts. 😅

So, this is how this week's revision turned out:
  • Monday: 41/171pgs (64,021w)
  • Tuesday: 63/172pgs (64,583w)
  • Wednesday: 89/172pgs (64,488w)
  • Thursday: 145/174pgs(64,888w)
  • Friday: 178pgs / 65,582w
Yep. The third draft is done! Yay.

Although I ended up cutting plenty of words, this is the first story (this year) that's ended up longer than the initial draft. I can't believe I didn't hack and slash half of the word count. LOL.

I think it's got something to do with the fact that I wrote this during NaNoWriMo 2021, so the draft wasn't as messy. I still tweaked quite a bit, and even changed a few last-minute details before I reached the end. But overall, there weren't huge rewrites needed with this one.

Now it's time to put it aside for a bit, before reading it one last time on my Paperwhite. 😁

For now, it's time to enjoy the weekend.

Have a good one!


Thursday, 14 July 2022

Back to Revising!

Yep. That's right. Since this is my penultimate Revision Project (yay!), I decided to take only one week off between drafts. 😁

And it turned out to be a nice week because I read several awesome novellas, and spent Thursday and Friday with hubby. It was such a lovely long weekend.

So, how's everyone doing this week? Here in Oz, we're in the middle of winter, which is turning out to be quite a bad flu season. Not to mention the rising Covid cases. Yet, people insist on not wearing masks indoors. People are so fucking frustrating because wearing a mask and getting vaccinated/boosted aren't hard things to do. Ugh.

Anyway. My next revision is Stuck. This is the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year, so it's not one of my older WIPs. It's what I called: A haunted house ghost story. A description that still fits perfectly.
 
Here's my progress:
  • Monday: 37/160pgs (62,996w)
  • Tuesday: 59/160pgs (63,056w)
  • Wednesday: 131/161pgs (62,746w)
  • Thursday: 161pgs / 62,411w
The second draft is now done! Yay. ☺️

I really enjoyed revising this novel because it's actually weirder, creepier and a lot raunchier than I remember. And I consider this to be an awesome thing. LOL.

This time, I ended up cutting 1,169 words. Nowhere near as many words as the other four WIPs I tackled this year. I think that's got something to do with the fact that I write cleaner first drafts than I used to. Don't get me wrong, I still cut excess words, moved sentences around, made several additions, and had to double check several details. But I didn't delete half of the story this time. 😅

Anyway, I'm happy with how this is shaping up and look forward to completing the next two drafts. But this draft is done and I'll put it away until next week.

It's time for a bit of a mental break.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, 6 July 2022

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB by Christopher Pike

 

They were victims of life, but they vanquished death. A gripping YA horror story, coming to Netflix soon.

In a hospice for teens with terminal illnesses, five friends form the Midnight Club. They meet every night to share spine-chilling stories. Some are invented, some true. The strangest are a mixture of the two.

The club members make a pact - whichever of them dies first will try to contact the others from beyond the grave. The most incredible of their stories is about to begin . . .



When I heard Mike Flanagan was developing a series for Netflix based on a Pike book, I was instantly interested. So, I want to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of this very cool re-release.

In Rotterham Hospice for teenagers, five kids suffering from terminal illnesses meet at midnight to tell each other stories...

Wow. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but I definitely did not expect the deep levels of sadness, despair, and creativity that filled every page.

I honestly thought this was going to be some sort of creepy ghost story, but it was nothing like that! This is actually a dark tale about the very real horror of sick kids dealing with daily pain, and the reality of death creeping closer every day.

To pass the time, this particular group tell each other made-up tales every night. Once again, the stories they tell are totally unexpected because I thought they would be campfire legends or urban myths, but aren't. Spence tells violent stories featuring disgruntled people who are angry with society. Anya always sneaks in the devil. Kevin's is a highly emotional creation told in installments. Ilonka shares entertaining past lives. And Sandra doesn't bother to come up with anything, just enjoys listening in.

I actually got pretty attached to these kids and following their daily, very dramatic experiences broke my heart. Their interactions, conversations, and strong friendship bonds sometimes made me temporarily forget the severity of their conditions, but it was always in the back of my mind. And when time starts to run out for them, everything becomes hauntingly sad. 😥

The Midnight Club turned out to be very different to what I was expecting, which is actually a great thing. Spending time with these teenagers was like being lost in a melancholy, feverish dream where real life is so gloomy that the idea of telling fiction made the truth bearable. It's also a very interesting exploration of pain, loneliness, death, and the possibility of reincarnation.

I have to admit that the blurb for this book doesn't describe the plot well, but it's still a great read. I really enjoyed this!


The Midnight Club, July 2022, ISBN 9781444966299, Hodder Children's Books

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

THE CREEK by Rayne King

 

The CreekThe Creek by Rayne King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Today, I was in the mood for another novella, so I grabbed this one. And I'm glad I did, because I loved it!

Wiley is a 17-year-old loner who intends to spend the summer doing his own thing, staying out of his father's way, and hanging out with his dog, Rhea. However, when he meets the new girl, Ruby, down by the creek, his whole world changes...

I was instantly swept away by this dark story because the writing style and Wiley's voice hooked me in as soon as I started reading. I love how this is a tale of summer romance between two teens who are instantly, and passionately, drawn to each other, but the air of dread hangs over their happy connection the whole time.

The cult angle was also very well done. In spite of their carefree attitude, I could sense the shitty outcome these manipulative assholes were planning, which made everything so much worse. 😫

This is a terrific novella that simultaneously captures the excitement of first-love summer vibes, while also dealing with real horror. It's sad, heartbreaking, but so intriguing. I really enjoyed the ending, too.

Oh, and there's a bonus short story called, Husk. This creepy tale is about two friends who go searching for buried treasure, even though they should know better than to chase childish dreams. Also, this is a great example of why you should never ignore your instincts.

View all my reviews

Monday, 4 July 2022

SHE CAME FROM THE SWAMP by Darva Green

 

She Came from the SwampShe Came from the Swamp by Darva Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was free at the Kindle store over the weekend, so I grabbed a copy. I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but I was in the mood for something short and light, so I read it.

Nadezhda's family are part of a dangerous supernatural murder cult and she wants nothing to do with them. Still, her cousins keep reeling her in by threatening to hurt the ones she loves if she doesn't help. That's how she ends up at her grandmother's swampy house. Where a kikimora lives...

Yep. This is definitely a steamy romance between a human with supernatural powers and the swamp woman that fascinates her. But it's not just that, there are also some very interesting and shitty family dynamics in this world full of creatures.

The main character's voice is strong and likeable. I wanted things to work out in her favour because she was such a cool person. There's also Rocket, her adorable doggy.

I really enjoyed this. It was fun and raunchy, plus very well written.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

HARDCORE KELLI by Wrath James White

 

Hardcore KelliHardcore Kelli by Wrath James White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book at the top of my Paperwhite TBR list for several weeks. And tonight, I decided to check it out. What I mean by that is that I read it in one sitting.

Katy is a boxer. She's also a stripper. And after going through some terrible things in her past, suffers from PTSD and night terrors. After a really bad night at work, she leaves the city and goes back to the small town she tried to escape years ago. Only to find more trouble...

Yikes! This novella is like a gut-punch. Hits you hard and deep, because so much of what happens to Katy is sad, uncomfortable and so very disturbing. In spite of her violence, and the harsh way she handles everything, I still felt for her.

A woman can't be abused and treated so badly without severe repercussions. Without her attitude to life and men being altered in severe ways. Katy is a strong woman struggling to stay in control every minute of the day.

Also, when Hardcore Kelli is introduced in the story, everything got even better. I love how the author wrote the parallels between Katy's mental illness and the storyline in the comic books her much younger sister introduces her to. And those last few chapters were fucking killer!

I enjoyed the hell out of this! But be warned, the mention of hardcore in the title isn't a mistake. Everything about this story is just that.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 30 June 2022

June Revision Update!


Hey! How are you today? I hope you're all having a nice week.

The world is such a shitty place at the moment. I can't believe we're allowing religious fucking zealot fascists to have any sort of political power. Not for the first time, I have to wonder: WTF is wrong with people? Why can't these religious idiots let people live their own lives and mind their own damn business? Ugh. So disgusting.

And don't get me started on the Covid case numbers rising here in NSW because people can't be bothered wearing masks. 🤬

Anyway, let's not concentrate on the crappy stuff for now, and talk about what I've been doing this week.

This month's Revision Project was my SF story with horror elements, set during the 1980s. It's fun, strange and features a character I really like. I enjoyed telling, or retelling, her story.

Here's my progress:
  • Monday: 31/134pgs (49,149w)
  • Tuesday (day): 72/134pgs (49,029w)
  • Tuesday (evening): 85/134pgs (48,998w)
  • Wednesday: 135/135pgs / 49,037w
  • Thursday: 137pgs / 49,125w
So... Neon is DONE! Yay. 😊🎉

Although I didn't struggle with this story like I did with Summer, I did make a LOT of changes to the original draft. I also cut several chapters and a subplot, changed a character, completely rewrote the last two chapters, and gave it a new ending.

So, I worked pretty hard on fixing this WIP! I'm glad I did because I'm really happy with the final product.

I mentioned cutting chapters, and that means that I once again deleted quite a few words. 17,056, to be exact. 😬

Between this novel (-17,056w), the novella I revised in May (-27,927w), March (-24,600w) and the one in February (-25,203w), I've now cut a total of 94,786 words this year! Yikes!! 😳

Also the cool thing about completing this project is that I can update my Revision List again:
  • April 2021: Full edit of Wall of Dolls
  • May 2021: Full revision of Destiny
  • June 2021: Full revision of Victoria
  • August 2021: Full revision of Possess
  • September 2021: Full revision of Monsters
  • February 2022: Full revision of Cosmic
  • March 2022: Full revision of Madness
  • May 2022: Full revision of Summer
  • June 2022: Full revision of Neon
I like the way this looks now. I only have TWO first drafts left to revise: an old YA novel (from 2017) and 2021's NaNoWriMo. 

If I stay on track and keep putting in the work, I can polish off the whole list before my self-imposed end-of-year goal.🤞

Okay, that's it for today. It's been a hard and super busy month, so I'm going to start July with a mental break because I really need it.

Have an awesome day!

 

Friday, 24 June 2022

More Revision...

Hey! How are you today? 

Well, I've been very busy working on the third draft of Neon, and that means that I'm at the stage where the story is totally eating my brain. 🤯

When I'm not sitting down in front of the laptop revising, I'm on my phone fine-tuning timelines, changing character names, taking notes to add more attention to detail, and rewriting the bits that I'm not 100% happy with.  

Yep. That's what I worked on this week. And although it means that I'm not reading the (many) books I want to get stuck into, I enjoy losing myself in the revision process. I love everything about writing, but revising these semi-abandoned first draft novels is turning out to be very rewarding. 😊

Anyway, here's how this week turned out:
  • Monday: 42/147pgs (55,488w)
  • Tuesday: 70/147pgs (55,096w)
  • Wednesday: 100/142pgs (53,062w)
  • Thursday: 126/126pgs (47,754w)
  • Friday: 131pgs / 49,012w
As you can see, the word count has gone down again! Yep. Did a LOT of chopping. 

It was nice to get into the groove of this story! Even though it was stuck on my hard drive for years, I often thought about this weird tale because I had a great time writing it during NaNoWriMo 2019. Of course, like all the drafts that came before, there were several problems: excess details that didn't work, not enough description in vital places, an ending that didn't fit. 

I ended up cutting SO MANY words!

There were several places in the story that needed a good trim/changes, and I think this strengthened the overall story and cleared up a few things that didn't make sense to me during the re-read. Or didn't need to be there at all. I mean, I had an aerobics class scene that was purely there for the 80s aesthetic, but didn't move the story along. 😏

LMAO.

As I mentioned above, the ending needed a bit of work too. I actually re-wrote the last section completely, and I'm much happier with this version. Well, happy with figuring everything out, but this new ending is sadder than the original one. Yet, more satisfying. If that makes any sense.

Okay. I'm all out of words now. It's time to enjoy the weekend with hubby so I can return to this story with fresh eyes on Monday. Only have one more step to go: read Neon on my Paperwhite.

Have an awesome weekend, guys! 😁

Friday, 17 June 2022

It's That Time Again!


That's right! This week might have started with a public holiday, but I still got stuck into a new Revision Project.

This time I'm working on Neon, which happens to be a sci-fish horror novel set in the 80s, featuring wrestling, different dimensions, and loss. I was very excited about getting back to this story because I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2019. 

Anyway, here's my progress:
  • Monday: Public Holiday
  • Tuesday: 42/161pgs (64,507w)
  • Wednesday: 75/156pgs (61,392w) 
  • Thursday: 128/148pgs (56,684w)
  • Friday: 145pgs / 55,390w
The second draft is done! Phew.

I have to admit that attempting to complete this draft in four days was a bit ambitious, and I had to sneak in an extra revision session last night, but I'm SO glad I pushed myself. 😬
 
So, in true 2022 revision fashion, I cut 10,791 words. Yikes! I'm not surprised because there were several bits that didn't need to be there. I also decided to change a few things, so that meant cutting details that were no longer relevant.

I really enjoyed getting back into this novel because I like the main character and the weird shit she finds herself in after an unexpected loss. This is her story and I'm happy with the progress.

When I hit the third draft next week, I need to fine-tune several things. I'm looking forward to tackling the next stage in this bizarre 80s trip. 

Well, that's it for now. This turned out to be a mentally exhausting week that was jam-packed full of stuff.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Have a good one!


Friday, 10 June 2022

SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED is now available!

 

Today, I'm very excited to announce that my short story, The Loaded Trunk, is included in this awesome horror anthology alongside a whole bunch of talented authors and artists!


Something Bad Happened: An Anthology of Horror is based on the prompts in Jennifer Bernardini's very inspirting, Something Bad Happened: A Horror Journal.

Writers, illustrators, photographers, and graphic artists have created pieces in this collection that will have you gripping the edge of your seat. From angels to demons, creatures and humans, there's a story inside for everyone.

Featuring new, unreleased work from:

Elford Alley
Wayne Fenlon
Jennifer Bernardini
Angel Krause
Bill Davidson
Cindy O'Quinn
Rayne King
Yolanda Sfetsos
Adam Hulse
Ross Jeffery
Bdyer
Laurel Hightower
Brian Bowyer
J.B. Taylor
Kyle Summerall
Steve Stred
Jaime Hernandez
R. Reyes. 

With Images from:
Wayne Fenlon
J.B. Taylor
Holly Rae Garcia
David Bowman

Edited by Jennifer Bernardini


Now available on:





THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Sarah Jane Huntington

 

The Sound of SilenceThe Sound of Silence by Sarah Jane Huntington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another novella I've been looking forward to reading, so I decided to read it today. 😁

After Kate's life takes a bad and unexpected turn, she ends up alone on the streets of London. All she wants is somewhere to live safely, and to eat when she's hungry. But the world has other plans and when she starts having terrible dreams full of disaster, everything spirals out of control...

Wow! What an amazing and emotional story this turned out to be. I mean, I expected to enjoy the tale because Sarah Jane Huntington has a unique way of pulling me into her writing, but I didn't expect to be so moved.

Kate is such a wonderful character and her ongoing struggle to survive broke my heart. Not to mention how kind and pure she is even though her existence is so harsh. And when she starts to figure out what's going on with those freaky tall men she keeps seeing, I couldn't get over her tenacity to continue doing what's right.

The social commentary about how society treats the homeless was also perfectly portrayed. They are so often ignored and treated as if they're not even human. 😥

But that's not all because this novella has an amazing twist! This was a terrific example of horror mixed with Sci-Fi, in a very X-Files kinda way. The tension, the creepiness throughout, and Kate just made this such a joy to read.

Oh, plus that title rocks.

Loved this!

Thursday, 9 June 2022

BELOW by Laurel Hightower

 

BelowBelow by Laurel Hightower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been wanting to read this novella for a while, so I got stuck into it today.

Addy's on her way to meet up with some friends at a horror convention when a snowstorm hits the night she's driving through West Virginia. She's recently divorced so she questions her every move, but puts her own life in danger to save a stranger...

Yikes! What a dark ride!

I always love a story that starts out with real world relationship problems before slowly sliding away from the familiar and delving into the unknown. And Addy's tale is exactly that.

There's a LOT packed into this novella, and everything fits perfectly. Every problem Addy faces adds to the experience. I loved how she doubted herself every step of the way, but still managed to do what she thought was right. I liked how the harmful voices derailed her thoughts, but didn't destroy her progress.

This is one of those characters who doesn't believe herself to be strong, but definitely is.

Not to mention how gory and creepy the horror is. Or how the mounting tension kept me on the edge of my seat. Also, how well the threat of everyday men is portrayed. No matter how awful the unexplainable monsters, men still manage to be the biggest threat to women by belittling, embarrassing, disregarding, and not believing them.

Awesome story!

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

STONE MATTRESS by Margaret Atwood

 

Stone MattressStone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I grabbed this short story a few weeks ago and decided to read it tonight.

Verna is a widow who decides to go on a cruise to the Arctic in search of her next target. Or rather, her next husband. Instead, she finds herself running into a man from her past...

I really enjoyed this! The writing is outstanding, and I found myself falling into Verna's tale very quickly. She has a sharp tongue and an entertaining way of remembering her dead husbands. In spite of her attitude and obvious bad habits, I was sympathetic to her latest plight because this meeting hits a nerve strong enough to turn villain into victim. And this changes everything.

Oh, and the setting was great!

 
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