Thursday, 22 June 2017

Current WIP: Week Four

Welcome to my fourth current WIP update! :)

This week, I was more concerned with figuring out how the downward spiral of this novel was going to play out, rather than the daily word count, but still ended up with several 5k days. That's mostly because I got so caught up in what was happening that my fingers went nuts over the keyboard and I didn't want to stop. LOL.

It's almost magical when that happens.

Reaching the stage where the story has totally taken over my brain means I'm constantly thinking ahead. Or taking notes of things I don't want to forget. Or deciding to add stuff after the scene has already been written. O.o

Yep. That means backtracking, which I did several times this week. But that's cool. The process for writing this story has been a little different from the start, but it definitely worked.

So, here's my daily w/c progress for this week:

Monday: 57,523 (added 5501w)
Tuesday: 61,225 (added 3702w)
Wednesday: 66,425 (added 5200w)
Thursday: 70,035 (added 3610w)

That's right. I finished the first draft today! I'm very excited about this particular novel because it's lived inside my brain for several months now. I visualised a lot of what was going to happen constantly, like a never-ending pesky movie that wouldn't stop until it was written.

And now it's done!

So. What now? Well, I'm going to post this update a day earlier than usual and will take tomorrow off. I wonder if anything will pop up during the next few days... If that happens, I'll either start a revision list or go back and add/tweak some last-minute things next week. 

Well, that's it for now. Hubby and I are going to watch Wonder Woman again on Saturday.

It might be a bit early to say this, but: enjoy your weekend!

SAGA #43 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely LOVED the Saga series, and that shocking cliffhanger ending in the last volume was a killer. So when I found #43 available for 25c at Amazon, of course I had to buy a copy for my Kindle!

Yikes! What a sequel. I honestly didn't expect things to take such a morbid turn as far as what happened with Alana's pregnancy. So sad and disturbing, and I'm wondering where it's going.

The gang is back and they're on a planet that is under Landfall's jurisdiction, which means that Marko, Hazel and Petrichor have to hide so no one sees their horns. While Alana looks for someone to help with her problem. But when they're attacked by shitty people (LMAO!), something bizarre happens to Alana!

I really enjoyed this new arc. The story continues to be interesting, the artwork is still beautiful, the world bizarre, and I do believe I'm once again addicted.

Oh, and I found the social commentary--about women's bodies, transgender issues, racial tensions--to be very well done, and unfortunately, also too familiar.

Looking forward to reading more...

Friday, 16 June 2017

Current WIP: Week Three

Welcome to my third current WIP update! :)

This week started with a public holiday so I only added new words from Tuesday-Friday. I actually compensated for missing this day while putting together my goals for June, so it wasn't a big deal.

I might not have written on Monday, but I took a bunch of notes and even made a few graphics relating to my WIP. I've reached that point in the story when it's ALWAYS ON MY MIND, because things are starting to click into place and I'm definitely past the halfway mark.


I'm having a great time writing this first draft and am getting a kick out of all the creepy stuff I'm adding. I love creepy, freaky books about girls, which means I'm loving how vividly these scenes are playing out inside my head.

Anyway, here's my daily w/c progress for this week: 

  • Monday: 36,084  (added 0w) 
  • Tuesday: 41,101 (added 5017w) 
  • Wednesday: 45,191 (added 4090w) 
  • Thursday: 48,614 (added 3423w) 
  • Friday: 52,022 (added 3408w)

Not bad. :)

Like I said above, I'm so caught up in the story that I didn't grab a new book to read. O.M.F.G. How is that even possible?! Guess I'll have to make it up next week. LOL.

BTW, do you know what I noticed today? While updating my word count spreadsheet, I realised that my ytd w/c is currently sitting at 117,098. We're halfway through the year and I've already surpasses my total w/c for 2016. Last year I wrote 110,543 words. That's a pretty good total, but I was hoping to write more this year, so I'm really happy with my progress.

Well, that's it for now.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Current WIP: Week Two

Welcome to my second current WIP update! :)

This week turned out to be a little topsy-turvy because I had a few real life things to deal with. I had an appointment to go to, my daughter started school later than usual a few times, and just basic headspace stuff that sucked up more time than expected.

Nothing huge, and not enough to completely derail my progress. Though I did miss one writing day. But I'm not stressing about it. For this draft, I promised myself that getting 2k done on any given day was fine & dandy.

I've given myself a whole month to get this done, and I'm pretty sure I'm still on schedule. Well, I'm actually ahead of my target word count because the story was already started, but you know how neurotic writers can be. At least, I am. Sometimes.

Anyway, here's my daily w/c progress for this week:
  • Monday: 27,394  (added 3273w) 
  • Tuesday: 27,394 (added 0w) 
  • Wednesday: 29,517 (added 2123w) 
  • Thursday: 32,183 (added 2666w) 
  • Friday: 36,084 (added 3901w)

The story itself is moving along nicely. There's plenty of creepy stuff happening, the plot gets darker and thicker, and I'm enjoying the hint of romance. Not to mention that I really like my main character.

Plus I'm having a great time researching urban legends and other freaky stories from around the world. It's so much fun!

I squeezed in a bit of reading and loved this super geeky book.

Well, the weekend is here and this one goes for three days, so yay.

Have a nice one!

Thursday, 8 June 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. This was such an AWESOME book! I loved every second of it. I borrowed it from the library and enjoyed it SO much I'm pretty sure I'll eventually buy my own copy.

Charlie, Taylor and Jamie are best friends from Melbourne, and they're in the U.S. to attend their first ever SupaCon. Charlie is there to promo her YouTube channel and the indy movie she was in. Taylor is excited about the possibility of meeting her favourite author. Jamie is there to geek out and have a blast with his friends.

All three might have their own reasons for wanting to be at SupaCon, but their friendship comes first. And although they were counting on a good time, each one gets to experience so much more than they expected...

Like I said above, this book was a blast. It's told in the POV of Charlie and Taylor, two very different girls with their own hopes and dreams. I adored both of their voices and just wanted to hug them because they're so adorkable!

Seriously, this book is a total geek-out and I got a huge kick out of all the very familiar pop culture references. Oh, and the diversity is absolutely excellent! All representation was so smooth, just there. Which is how it should be because real life is like that, right?

I also liked the two romances. They're both sweet, full of confusion, a few misunderstandings, and a whole bunch of cuteness. I loved all the characters. Um, no, that's not true. I didn't like Reese one little bit. He was such an annoying pesky fly. Ugh. He sucked!

Anyway, I think this book is fantastic and I'm really glad I got the chance to experience it. Because it seriously is quite the experience. I thought the author did a great job at putting the reader in the heart of the convention. The sense of atmosphere was vivid.

This book is cute, fun and full of dorky goodness.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Current WIP: Week One

It's June and I have a goal. I'd like to write the first draft of my latest YA horror idea.

As I mentioned the other day, this week I got stuck into a new story. Well, it's a new story now that I'm working on it, but I wrote almost 8k words back in March. So I spent the first 3 days reading the 27 pages I already had, and I'm quite happy with how it's shaping up. 

It was cool to get back into the narrator's voice and the way her life changed after something awful happened. I also enjoyed getting to know the other characters and even found myself injecting a bunch of extra details I'd come up with since first starting this draft

I'm really excited about this story for several reasons:
  • My heroine
  • Urban legends
  • Potential creepy factor
  • The research
I've always found urban legends--urban myths, ghost stories, folktales, campfire stories, small town tales--fascinating. Whatever you want to call them, I love reading about them. And they feed my inspiration, too.

It feels good to get back into a novel-sized story, especially one that's been living inside my head for months. And even then, it's managed to surprise me along the way.

By the end of Wednesday the initial 27 pages had turned into 41. O.o I added a new first chapter, have decided on how to label the chapters, figured out some stuff that was unclear, and got back into the swing of things enough to propel me forward.

Anyway, here's my daily w/c + reading progress:

Monday: 10,306 (added 2,342w + read 16/27pgs)
Tuesday: 12,377 (added 2,071w + read 28/32pgs)
Wednesday: 15,728 (added 3,351w + read 41/41pgs)
Thursday: 19,789 (added 4,061w)
Friday: 24,121 (added 4332w)

I was hoping to reach 15k by the end of this week, so I'm super excited about this progress.

Well, that wraps up my first week of this WIP.

I'm going to take the weekend off to recharge, think about what's to come, and go watch Wonder Woman.

Have a good one!


The arranged marriage YA romcom you didn't know you wanted or needed... 

 Meet Dimple. 
 Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination. 

 Meet Rishi.
 He's rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she's got other plans... 

 Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. 

This is a book that I've seen mentioned on Goodreads for several months now. The reactions were so positive that I just had to read it myself. I mean, the story sounds interesting and the cover's cute and bright, so why wouldn't I want to check it out? :)

So, thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy. 

Dimple has just finished high school and has ambitions of joining the technology world. To help this happen, she's hoping her parents let her attend a six-week program during summer. As much as her mother encourages her to find a suitable husband, Dimple's plans don't include a relationship. So when her parents agree to let her go to Insomnia Con, she can't believe her luck.

Rishi is a traditional kind of guy from a wealthy family. He's the eldest son and is determined to please his parents because he wants them to be proud. So he's going to study engineering in college. When his parents pick a potential future wife for him, he's all for it and agrees to attend a summer program that'll get him closer to her.

When these two meet in San Francisco, sparks fly instantly. But not the fireworks Rishi was hoping for. Dimple is determined to push Rishi away because she wants to concentrate on her work. But the more time she spends with him and gets to know him, the more she realises he's actually a very nice, fun and loyal guy. Will that be enough to change her predetermined path? 

Well, people were right about this book. It's definitely worth reading. It's a lighthearted story of calamities, the search for independence and finding unexpected love. There are a lot of ups and plenty of downs, but all of it was interesting.

The story is told in the POV of both Dimple and Rishi, which really helps move the story at a nice pace. This also serves to provide personal insight into each character when they're together as well as when they're apart.

My favourite POV was Rishi. I found him to have such a caring soul. Initially I thought he might be pushy in his determination to follow tradition, but he was the complete opposite. He was so nice! Actually, the more I read, the more I liked him. Which was the opposite of how I felt about Dimple. The more I read, the less I liked her. Until I got to the point where I really disliked how she acted after a certain incident, and thought the way she treated Rishi was unfair and immature. 

I also have to admit that compared to the rest of the book, I found the downward spiral to the end quite weak. Some of what was going on seemed to be glossed over, too. Which was disappointing because the rest of the story was SO GOOD.

Anyway, in spite of these few niggly things, I really enjoyed this very colourful and original book.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a fun and super cute romcom with heart. It's a love story between an ambitious and very independent girl who wants to pursue her dreams, no matter what. It's also the story of a traditional boy who wants to make his family happy above all else. While Dimple wants to take charge of her own future and dreams, Rishi is willing to put them aside for others.

When you combine both, you get a lighthearted book with a lot of cool things.

When Dimple Met Rishi, May 2017, ISBN 9781473667402, Hodder Paperbacks

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Time for a New WIP!

Um, okay. Technically, that's not correct. And yet, it is.

Although I am getting stuck into a new WIP, I have a bit of a head start. Why? Well, that's what I thought I'd talk about today. I did mention this on Twitter yesterday when I posted my daily update, but it would take too many tweets to recap everything.

If you read this update post, then you already know what I'm talking about. And if you read this one, you also know what happened initially.

Back in March I started writing what I thought would be a short story that I wanted to sub to an anthology. I was aiming for 10-12k words. But when I wrote 5k the first day and almost 3k the second, I knew right away that the story had longer potential. There was no way I could squeeze the scope of these characters and their story into those w/c limitations.

So I put it aside. But not before taking a bunch of notes and setting up a folder to add/collect inspirational pics and research stuff. Then I got stuck into a different shortie, one that I did sub to the market I had in mind.

After that I took a bit of a break because of school holidays, annual leave and just general real life stuff. But I continued to brainstorm, collect pics and a bunch of relevant research.

Last week, I decided to work on the first draft during June. But because the month starts midweek, I'm already working on it.

Yesterday, I opened the doc and added a new first chapter. Then I started reading the rest of what I'd already written. By the end of my writing session I'd reached page 16/27 and added 2,342 new words. That means that I've now reached 10,306 words.

Not bad for the first day, right? :P

I'd like to write 2-3k words/day, and am aiming for a 50-70k-word total. As long as I get this story out of my head, I'm not too concerned about the initial draft's word count. I've been carrying this story in my head for several months now and it's definitely time to let it spill onto the page.

The reason for the (slightly) smaller daily word-count target is because of the headstart and because I want to squeeze in some brainstorming for another story whenever possible.

So, what's this current WIP about? As you can probably tell by the above graphic (which I made from a photo I took), it's about urban legends, suburban myths, and ghost stories. With a demonic twist, of course. It's a YA horror, which happens to be the  type of ideas my brain/muse has been feeding me lately.

And I'm totally okay with that.

I've been a horror fan most of my life, so it's not surprising that these are the stories I'm conjuring up during a new path in my writing adventure. :)

Well, there you have it. For June, there will be no new short story--just like there wasn't in May--but I'm working on a novel.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

BLOODSHIFTED by Cassie Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Edie Spence urban fantasy series is one of my faves. So I've been putting off reading the last book. Don't ask me why, but I do this all the time. O_o

Anyway. This week, I decided it was time to find out how her tale ends.

After almost dying on the cruise from hell, Edie finds herself tied to a vampire. She'd rather not be, but it was the only thing that would guarantee her survival. The only way to give her unborn baby a chance at life. Only problem is that she's now a daytimer. She's got Raven's blood in her, and while it makes her stronger, it also means she's hidden away in the catacombs beneath a nightclub in LA.

Edie is basically a slave, but to make the time go faster, she throws herself into the work of cleaning and serving and trying to stay out of trouble. But with a few Shadows tagging along, an ancient vampire invading her dreams, and the other daytimers to compete with, she has to keep her wits and be willing to do whatever it takes to survive. Even if it means she has to surrender to a darkness she never expected...

Wow. I knew this book would be good, but I didn't expect to be so captivated by every page that I didn't want to put it down. Oh, okay, I did expect that. LOL.

Edie has been through a LOT, but what she goes through in this book is heart-wrenching. In order to keep her baby safe, she's separated from the man she loves, her family and her friends. And although she finds herself sinking fast into darkness, she fights it all the way. That's one of the best things about Edie. That no matter what she has to do or how far she's pushed, she never forgets she's a nurse and her need to help others always wins.

I really enjoyed this last gruelling adventure, but I'm sad to see her series end. I would've loved to find out what happened to Anna, and to her latest ally. Plus it would've been awesome to meet her baby. But I had a great time reading this series and all five books will permanently have a place on my keeper shelf.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


The Fallen Children has one cover design but 360 different colourways. Each one is numbered from 1 to 360 on the spine. The colour you receive will be completely random.

Young people on the Midwich Estate don't have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.
But change is coming...

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable 'Nightout'. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they're pregnant - and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha's life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.

I have to admit that I've never read The Midwich Cuckoos, but I have seen The Village of the Damned, so I do have a clue about the main story elements tying into this book. And I was very interested in checking it out.

The Midwich Tower houses a lot of people. The kinds of people society sometimes forgets. The kinds of people who constantly face economic struggles. The kids are judged even more harshly than the adults, because no one expects them to have an actual future.

Yet, the night when everyone inside the tower falls asleep at the same time, something weird happens. Most have no idea what happened but soon after, three teenagers and one woman find out they're pregnant. Someone--or something--violated the four and they suddenly find themselves facing the consequences, as well as the judgemental residents who know something weird has happened and fear the girls. After the babies are born and grow unnaturally fast, the fear soon turns to anger. If these four are going to survive they'll have to stick together, which isn't as easy as it sounds when they face so many internal and external obstacles...

Yikes. This book hooked me in from the very beginning. As soon as the story starts, the ominous feeling creeps through and doesn't stop until the very last word.

The story is told in the alternating POV of Keisha, Siobhan, Maida and Morris. Each teen gives the story its own perspective and delves deep into how this is affecting each one individually and as a group.

Keisha has tried so hard to be a good student, by distancing herself from her friends, to hopefully escape a dead-end future. Morris can't catch a break, has borrowed money from dangerous people and desperately wants to get back with Keisha. Siobhan doesn't trust that Keisha won't bail out on their friendship again and hates the predicament she's now in. Maida has very strict and religious parents she wants to defy and escape, and maybe this is her chance.

While I enjoyed all the POVs because they help round out the story so well, my favourite was Keisha. She tried so hard to become more than everyone expects and is doing so well, but the universe has other plans for her. Plans she never expected or wanted, but link her to the others deeper than she ever imagined.

I loved how the realness of everyone's living standards, and the daily pressures they put up with, is balanced out by the bizarre events that change all of their lives. The children are super creepy but I also felt sorry for them. None of what happened is their fault, or their mothers' fault, but circumstance forces them to play their part to survive.

The Fallen Children is a fast-paced, often violent, yet always intoxicating story. I struggled to put it down because I just had to know what was going to happen next. The air of mystery throughout kept me turning the pages because I couldn't get enough. It's part contemporary, part SciFi, part supernatural, and totally awesome.

Oh, and the design I received was 131/360, which is the blue cover.

I can't help but wonder if there's going to be a sequel...

The Fallen Children, May 2017, ISBN 9780349002699, Atom

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Thinking Ideas

Last week I posted this tweet:

While that's totally true, shortly after posting it, I realised that since my daughter went back to school several weeks ago, I haven't started writing anything new. Asides from book reviews, that is.

So, I decided to write a blog post.  :)

The main reason why I haven't gotten stuck into anything new is because I've got a bunch of ideas, thoughts, scenes, characters, etc. crowding my brain. At the same time. 

Unfortunately, when that happens, I get so cluttered that I can't settle on a single project because I want to write EVERY STORY RIGHT NOW. o.O And of course I can't. It kinda sucks, but it's all part of my process. And I'm not going to stress about it.

Instead, I've been filling my days with reading, writing reviews, sorting and real-life stuff. But I also pulled out my Idea Folder and Idea Notebooks, to start combing through the most immediate and loud ones. The weird thing is, that one of the strongest is a newish idea that hit me upside the head a few weekends ago. Bizarre, but true.

I'm actually having a good time picking out names, inspirational pics, researching and taking notes for the two loudest ideas. I also pulled out my Moleskine planner and made a rough plan about what to work on and when. It's flexible, but if I write down my goals, it'll at least help me stay focused on one particular project at a time.

I'm just happy that the ideas keep coming. Even if they try to overwhelm me, having to sort through a bunch of them is better than not having any at all.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

THE LANGUAGE OF DYING by Sarah Pinborough

Tonight is a special terrible night.

A woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters - all broken, their bonds fragile - have been there for the past week, but now she is alone.

And that's when it always comes.

The clock ticks, the darkness beckons.

If it comes at all.

I'm a big fan of Sarah Pinborough's writing. She certainly has a way with words and knows how to spin an addictive tale so well the reader gets pulled into the thick of things and can't stop until the very last word.

I was very excited about reading this one, and thanks to Hachette Australia, I did. :)

When the father she's caring for is so close to death that it feels like a dark shadow consuming the house, she knows she has to call her siblings. They deserve the chance to say their goodbyes and see their formerly robust father one last time. But inviting them back into their family home also rouses a lot of memories.

Some memories are good and somewhat coloured by the innocence of childhood. Others are peppered with pain. And most hold some sort of sadness. But she relives everything one last time, knowing that their father's death might also be the end of their family...

Wow. This book is dark. Heartbreaking. Emotionally beautiful. Uncomfortable. And so very raw.

The narrator's struggle is so vivid that by the end, I felt like I'd always known her. For a book so enriched in sorrow and grief, it sure is wonderful. Because beneath the darkest of thoughts, the many tragic actions, and the heavy bereavement, is a thread of magic. A little magical promise that no matter how strange and dangerous and bleak everything might seem, a sliver of hope is also possible.

The Language of Dying is a very powerful story about family, memories and what life does to people. Sarah Pinborough took a very sad and awful subject and turned it into an unforgettable experience. Every single word in this novella is vital and brings the reader closer to the inevitable, whimsical conclusion.

BTW, this hardback edition is very nice.

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed another one of this author's books.

*looks for more titles to read*

The Language of Dying, February 2017, ISBN 9781782067542, Jo Fletcher Books

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

MY SISTER by Michelle Adams

My name is Irini. I was given away. 
My name is Elle. I was kept. 

 All her life Irini thought she was given away because her family didn't want her. What if the truth is something worse? 

Two sisters. Two separate lives. One family bound by a harrowing secret. 

I'm a sucker for an intriguing psychological thriller, so of course I wanted to read this. Especially since that cover is so freaky.

Irini lives in London with her boyfriend. She's a doctor, currently working as an anaesthetist in a hospital. Her life isn't exactly comfortable or happy or good, but she survives. When her estranged sister--the one she's managed to avoid for six years--calls out of the blue to tell her their mother has died, she can't resist her. And just like it has every other time Elle has tracked her down, Irini's life is thrown into turmoil.

Elle is older, pretty, demanding and unstable. She's the one her parents kept. And has come in and out of Irini's life for years, always bringing along a mix of excitement, belonging and violence.

Irini isn't going to Scotland so she can pay her final respects to a mother she hardly knew, she's going because she wants to finally get answers to the questions that have always haunted her: why was she sent off to live with her aunt and uncle when she was three? And why didn't her parents want her?

Soon after arriving at the family home to find a detached father and staff obviously keeping secrets, she settles back into the toxic relationship she's always had with her sister. What she didn't expect was to stumble on explanations that run deeper than she ever imagined...

Yikes. This story is all kinds of messed up. It was seriously screwed up.

These two sisters are so toxic together that I found myself constantly cringing, and hoping that Irini would just forget about the past and leave that suffocating old house. But of course, she doesn't. She can't.

Pretty much every character in this book is somehow damaged. From the parents willing to do the unthinkable to protect their child, to the townfolk passing silent judgement, to the boyfriend so determined to break down the emotional walls between them, and even the man she meets via Elle. But the most damaged of all are the Harringford sisters.

Irini, with her constant need to find out the truth and always putting herself down about her disability. Elle, with her despicable cruelty masking something much darker. These two were awful together, and just as bad apart. I despised every bit of page time spent with Elle because she was so cruel and horrible. Her words cut deep into her sister, but she didn't seem to care. Also, although Irini was interesting, she still managed to get on my nerves a lot. Her passiveness is too much. She takes shit from just about everyone and shuts herself off from anyone trying to get close. While I totally understood why, it drove me crazy how she gave up so easily.

Actually, the story did get a bit frustrating in some sections because it takes quite a while for everything to be revealed. Plus, it's sometimes hard to watch how easily Irini lets her sister lead her down a dark and hurtful path. Still, it's a good book because no matter what, it kept me glued to the page.

My Sister is a tense and very disturbing psychological thriller that keeps the reader interested until the truth starts becoming clearer, and there's no denying what's going on. Although some of the twist does become obvious early on, it's still worth discovering everything else at the same time as Irini, because there are several unexpected surprises.

Yep. This is definitely a creepy story.

My Sister, April 2017, ISBN 9781472236586, Headline

Friday, 5 May 2017

COOKIE JAR by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this story for months, but kept forgetting. Today I decided it was time to finally read it, and I'm glad I did.

When young Dale visits his 90-year-old great-grandfather Rhett for a school assignment, the two connect on a level that reaches past the many years between them. Rhett shares a very personal story about the weird life and death of his strange mother, as well as the fictional place she imagined. Plus the miraculous cookie jar that never runs out of cookies...

Stephen King sure can tell a story. Not only was this interesting and full of wonder, but the sights and smell were vivid. There's so much emotion packed into this short story: sadness, happiness, the horror of war, the emotional scars of loss, and the mental ones war imprints on those on the frontline.

This is quite a tale! It's beautifully written, filled me with sadness, but ultimately made me crave a cookie. LOL.

But seriously, this is a great story that leaves you wondering long past the last word...

BETRAYALS by Kelley Armstrong


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the previous three books in the Cainsville series, so of course I was looking forward to reading this one.

Olivia Taylor-Jones hasn't been the same since she found out the truth about her parents. Her average, content life took on a new path and revealed connections she didn't know existed. It also comes with a downside. The privileged Chicago family who raised her aren't actually her biological parents. Her parents are high-profile convicted serial killers who are both in prison, and the reason why the Larsens killed is directly related to Liv and their family's hidden origin.

She can see omens, and has visions that reveal valuable information, but are dangerous and take a toll on her body. During her latest vision, she comes across young girls being murdered. Lost girls who need her help and turn out to be a lot more than what they seem. And when Ricky's pulled into a police investigation, Liv finds herself discovering yet another facet in the world of the fae.

But if she's not careful, her life might turn out to be the one in danger. Again...

Yikes! So much happens in this book. It starts with a murder investigation and leads deeper into the ancient world of the fae. As usual, nothing is clear and instead is muddled with seemingly unrelated clues and betrayal at just about every step.

I love the love triangle in this series! Although Liv is happy with her boyfriend, Ricky, her boss and friend, Gabriel, is always there. Even when he seems to be distant and not concerned, his POV reveals a lot. And that's another thing I really enjoyed in this installment. Although it's primarily in Liv's POV, we get a few glimpses into Ricky and Gabriel. I just adore how their present lives are tied to the past lives of the three that came before them.

Betrayals is an intriguing, interesting, and very-well written addition to this dark and fascinating series. I love how all the loose threads are slowly tied, coming together gradually and ending in a shocking revelation that should've become clear sooner. And that's the beauty of this series. It hooks you in, takes you under and shares so much, but keeps withholding information.

I've heard that there's only one more book to go. That makes me sad because spending time in Cainsville is always a joy, but I am excited about finding out how it all ends.

Sunday, 30 April 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is fast becoming one of my favourite UF series. So when I started this one and we're back in Tucker Point, I got comfy and couldn't wait to see what Angel's new adventure was going to be.

And isn't this cover absolutely beautiful? I love it. Heaps.

After the ordeal in New York, Angel is back home and back to work at the Coroner's Office. She's now also working in the Tribe lab with Dr. Nikas and is even taking a biology course in college. Everything seems to be going great, except that she's hiding a V12 addiction. And finds herself slipping back into the Once an addict, always an addict downward spiral. But when the drug starts having some awful side effects, Angel knows she has to give it up... but with so much going on, how can she?

With Zombiefest and Mardi Gras hitting town at the same time, some really strange stuff is going on. Like the mysterious guy with the cadaver dog who won't leave her alone, Randy and his two friends getting caught up in some dangerous shit, the local survivalist zeroing in on her, and the case of the decapitated corpse. Did I mention the FBI and a suspicious boss?

This book was totally awesome! I loved how Angel finds herself on a roller-coaster ride of lies as she tries to hide the addiction that gets her into SO MUCH trouble. The worst kind of trouble for a zombie trying to stay in one piece. O_o

It's also super fun as she gets caught up between the human and zombie worlds with some really interesting results. I thought it was cool how she took it upon herself to help the Tribe even though they seemed so determined to keep her in the dark. Oh, and I have to say that it was awesome to have Marcus and Pietro/Pierce absent for most of the story. I'm so over those two. LOL. But seriously, they kinda bog the story down if they're in it for too long.

One of my favourite things about this particular book was how the hidden zombie world collides with the human obsession with zombies. It was very clever, and filled with some very intense scenes that kept me glued to the page. So good!

Well, now that Zombie Fest and Mardi Gras are over and Angel's back together (LOL), I can't wait to see where the story goes.

Oh, and BTW, did I mention that I'm now all caught up? Well, I am. :)

Friday, 28 April 2017

It's time for an update...

Yeah, I think it's definitely time. LOL.  

I mean, the last time I posted something my daughter had just started school holidays. And now, she's back at school, the public holidays are done, and I (finally) finished my latest WIP. Yay!

So, I spent the last few weeks working on an urban legend short story--spawned from an actual UL I read about online. I managed to write, revise, proofread & even sub it before the end of the month. Which is very cool.

The final word count is 10,852 and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Wish me luck on the anthology sub. (Because I haven't had much luck with submissions lately.)

It's still weird, because everything I had published and available during the last decade via a variety of publishers, now doesn't exist. Even the anthologies I have short stories in are mostly out of print. O.o

Some days I feel like a brand new writer trying to break in all over again. Getting back on this roller-coaster isn't easy, but I won't give up. The amount of ideas crowding my brain need to be told. It's all about the story and the actual writing, getting the story out of my head and hopefully out the door.

Anyway, let's not dwell.

I didn't start anything new yet, but these are some of the things I want to work on:

  • the first draft of the other urban legend YA horror idea I got last month. (This time a novel.)
  • start revising the YA horror first draft I wrote during NaNoWriMo.
  • brainstorm & write some of the short story ideas that keep coming and are half-formed.
  • get back into querying
  • keep submitting stories to anthologies

Oh, before I forget, we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 the other day and it's freaking awesome. It's so colourful, full of clever SF ideas, packed with heaps of space goodness, and has such great characters. Also, for such a hilarious movie, there sure are many sad bits. There's so much heart, and even made me teary.

I might not have started anything new during the last half of the week, but I read a lot. And you all know how much I love reading. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I seriously don't know why it's taken me so long to read this, but seeing my daughter with a copy from school reminded me that I've had it on my Kindle TBR pile for ages. So today, I started reading... and couldn't stop until I reached The End.

When a pig called Major gives a powerful speech to the animals of Manor Farm, they start to thirst for a better way of living. And in order to start working towards their equality goals, they'll have to get rid of the humans--Jones, his wife & their four workers. And when they do drive Jones out and start their quest towards this utopian existence, they come up with a song, seven commandments and jobs for everyone.

Everything seems to be working okay, but it doesn't take long for someone to rise above the others. To take power into his own filthy hands by getting himself loyal guards, starting the propaganda machine, creating an imaginary enemy, controlling the flow of information, and outright brainwashing.

The 'equality' everyone wanted soon starts to slip away from their grasp, and the harsh reality settles in...

Wow. This novella is amazing. Of course I suspected it would be because 1984 is such a great book.

I absolutely loved how this story works in two ways: in the literal sense of showing what happens when farm animals attempt to steer their own path to equality AND the very political message about communism. Or any totalitarian regime, really.

It's a truly amazing thing to watch such good intentions--freedom, equality, self-reliance, community, hard work--slowly, but surely, lead to a much worse place than where the animals started. All it takes is one power-hunger, scheming pig to scare, control and gaslight everyone to the point of oppression. To have himself a spin doctor so good that most of the animals begin to actually question their memories, and to keep working for the greater good no matter how hungry and tired they are. No matter how many times they catch sight of what's really going on before they're steered away from the corruption and lies by guilt, fear and violence.

I felt so bad for the animals on this farm. Boxer, oh Boxer. :( And found myself wishing for Snowball to return and be the saviour these poor animals needed. Because as usual, the smart, brave visionary gets pushed aside by the foolish, greedy power-hungry asshole. Ugh. I disliked Napoleon and Squealer with the power of a thousand suns. What they do to their very loyal 'comrades' is heartbreaking.

This is such a clever, yet devastating story that shows exactly what happens when something that could be so good and help the community at large, gets all twisted up with greed and control. Then puts everyone, but the ones pulling the strings, in an even worse place than they were at the beginning.

So sad, but true.

I loved this SO MUCH!

"All animals are equal."

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another one of those really popular books that I've never read, so I decided now was the time to do it. Especially since there's a show coming...

The US as we know it is gone, and is now called the Republic of Gilead (a shitty name for an even shittier new world order). The people who live under the many bizarre and controlled laws of the land have no real rights. Instead, they have roles with awful expectations. This is especially true for the women.

The women of Gilead are either Wives, Marthas, Aunts or Handmaids. None of those roles are a great option, but it's all they've got and some embrace them completely.

Offred is a Handmaid who's recently been placed with a new family. Here she puts up with the moody Wife who has many reasons to resent her, the Marthas who barely tolerate her, and the Commander who is in charge. And slowly, she finds out that even in such a strict society, there are people willing to take risks in the pursuit of more. Because if humans don't take risks, they're not really living are they?

This book was so many things: well written, full of screwed up worldbuilding, funny, sad, horrifying, intriguing, disturbing, interesting, effed up to the nth degree, packed with vivid imagery, and just fantastic.

The story is told in the POV of Offred. This is the name she's given after the religious brainwashing and training. We never find out her real name, but we do get an insight into the life she used to live, her carefree best friend, the man she loved, and the daughter that was stripped away from her.

Her existence is dull and awful, the stuff of nightmares, because she's reduced to being nothing more than a walking womb. Which is bad enough, but when you add that most babies don't survive and if they do they're given to the Wives, it's even worse. *shudder*

There were so many things I loved about this book and the deeper meaning that echoes so much of our society, and how there are actually some men who long to control women to this extreme. It's very unsettling, but also proves that even when people get what they wish for, there's still more to want. Even with total control, the men are as unhappy as the women. It's human nature to want more--friendship, intimacy, companionship, love.

Yeah, this was a great book. I also liked how often Offred shamelessly slipped into unreliable narrator mode.

This is a book that isn't merely read, but experienced.

Saturday, 22 April 2017


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the covers in this series are really awesome, and this one is super creepy. Angel falling apart is an awesome way to portray what happens in this installment.

Angel finally passed her GED (yay!) and is still enjoying her job at the Coroner's Office (cool). She even gets along really well with (most of) her co-workers. Plus she's got a BFF (Naomi). But her relationship with Marcus isn't going so great because he's still trying to make decisions for both of them without checking with her first!

When a bunch of her zombie Tribe get kidnapped by the evil Saberton Corporation she finds herself teaming up with Naomi, Philip and Kyle in hopes of saving everyone. But when the double crossing begins and it seems like someone is feeding the enemy information, it gets really hard to figure out who can be trusted.

Yet, that's not going to stop this white trash zombie...

Okay. There are a LOT of awesome things about this book: Angel's snarky voice, the growing zombie world (got insight into some of the history), how deeply she's getting herself into the Tribe, her friendship with Naomi, and that--no matter what the cost--she's always willing to help everyone. But there were a few things that got in the way: Marcus is really starting to get annoying, their time in NYC went way too long, and several scenes even made the story drag in some places. I just felt that this book could've been a little shorter and tighter, like the previous three books.

Oh, and I really liked some of the gross zombie imagery. Some screwed up zombie weirdness goes on in this one.

But, OMG, there was one thing about this book that was AWFUL. The freaking font size! For some reason--maybe because the story was longer--the font type was TINY. Unless it was broad daylight, it made my eyes hurt. So I found myself reading only a few chapters at night and the bulk during the day. O.o It was a bit of a pain.

Anyway, in spite of the few draggy issues, I still enjoyed this addition to the series and can't wait to see what Angel gets up to next.

I'm almost caught up. Just have one book left.

Monday, 17 April 2017


The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've watched both movie versions of The Stepford Wives and have always found the concept both intriguing and horrifying. So I thought it was about time I read the novella they were based on.

And I absolutely LOVED it! I read it in one day, spread out in several sittings while doing the housework. Just kidding. :)

Seriously, this might be considered an old book but--unfortunately--a lot of the issues are still relevant. It seems to me like the gender issues/problems will never be solved because of assholes like the men in this book. You know the type, the ones who only see women as trophies and don't want them to have a voice or any interests.

Anyway, about the story:

Joanna Eberhart, her husband Walter, and their two kids have recently moved from the city to live in the suburbs. Stepford seems like a nice place to live. A nice place to raise children. But when Joanna starts meeting the women in Stepford, she realises that they're all pretty, are plentiful in the breast department, and spend their whole lives cleaning. They basically act like their husbands are their masters.

This isn't appealing, because Joanna doesn't like housework. She's a photographer and likes to socialise, especially with other women. It's not until she meets Bobbie and Charmaine that she's happy to call them friends and hang out. Joanna and Bobbie hate the way the women act, and are convinced there's something in the water.

But when even Bobbie is infected with the cleaning bug, Joanna knows that if she doesn't get out, she'll be next...

OMFG. This novella is truly brilliant. There are some very hilarious bits, but mostly it's downright scary because the underlining malice slowly creeps up on you. That the reader goes through this awful ordeal with Joanna and watches her happy marriage and life eventually being destroyed by a bunch of sexist wankers, is quite the awful experience.

The paranoia that eventually grips Joanna leaps off the page. It's terrible to watch Walter--a man who respects his wife as an equal--gradually being seduced by the evil ambitions of the Men's Association (of dickheads). It's heartbreaking. And what happens to Bobbie and Charmaine--two very strong-willed women--is so sad. I felt bad for Joanna. Not just because she lost her friends, but because she figures out exactly what's going on and that it will eventually happen to her.


Yes, this is a very clever story that I think some may not understand properly. I've heard many times that this is a parody of the 1950s housewife caricature, but I disagree. This is taking the piss out of stupid men who want to do whatever it takes to keep women docile and under their control. That these Stepford wankers choose to pretty much recreate their wives in order to do so, while seducing otherwise smart men to their side, is truly shocking.

Like every other story that seeks to destroy, control and silence women, I consider this a true horror story. But a very smart, well-written classic told by a man who truly understood what was happening when women were starting to take control of their own lives. And the men who feared this change.

Obviously, I have a LOT of thoughts, opinions and random things to say about such a powerful story.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my Kindle for a while and have been intrigued by the blurb since I first read it, but it wasn't until the show was released that I just had to pick it up. Hubby and I really want to watch it, but I've got this thing about reading the book before the movie/show, so...

This book is told in the POV of three very different characters. Madeline, Celeste and Jane. I really enjoyed how the story unfolded within the very interesting narrative of these women. And I really loved these three characters. I connected and felt for all three.

Madeline doesn't shy away from anything or anyone. And she's very loyal to her family and friends. So when she befriends a new mother, she's willing to do just about anything to help her. Even though she's got her own problems: an ex who has a new wife and a daughter starting kindy with her youngest, and a rebellious teenage daughter.

Jane is a young single mother who's looking for a new place to raise her son. She's sad and has a dark secret that's aged and changed her into the weakest version of herself. But she's made two new friends and her life suddenly seems brighter.

Celeste is mostly known for her beauty, wealth and perfect husband. But she's distracted and is hiding an awful secret she tries very hard to conceal from everyone--even her friends.

When something terrible happens during a Trivia Night, everyone's secrets start to unravel and will change everything forever...

Yikes! This book is so addictive. I was hooked right away and couldn't wait to get back to it every time I put it down. It's such a twisted, messed up, sad, intriguing and even funny story. There's a bit of everything, but at its core this book is about the strong friendship these three women share. No matter what separate problems they each face, their loyalty to each other is fierce. And I loved that!

There are so many issues dealt with: marriage, ex-spouses, abuse, secrets, competitive parents, social expectations, the strain of children... I could list so much more. But I won't. I'm just going to say that I really loved this book and couldn't help but chuckle when I recognised some of the ridiculous shenanigans many of the parents engaged in.

I kept thinking back to when our daughter started kindy and we saw/heard some really questionable shit going on with the parents. LMAO.

Oh, and one other thing, I loved the location.

Can't wait to watch the show.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Back To Words

It's been a while since I posted an update about my short story goals, so I thought that posting a little something the week I got back into the swing of things might be a good idea.

BTW, this is my daughter's first week of school holidays, so of course my muse decided it was time to tell the story that's been bubbling inside my head. LOL.

The timing might be a bit out, but when a story is this ready to be told, it's not a good idea to turn away from it. Especially since I didn't write a story in March because the short story I started became a novel-sized idea.

Anyway, I only had two writing/reading things on this week's to-do list:
  • Write first draft of YA urban legend short story idea

And this is what I actually did:
  • Wrote YA urban legend short story first draft (9,042w)
  • Subbed the story I finished in January
  • Revised the YA short story I wrote this week (10,387w)

It might not look like much, but I'm quite happy with the progress. Especially since this was really a 4-day week. :D

Subbing the story I wrote in January to a professional short story market is a total longshot, but you gotta be in it to win it. Right? It's definitely worth a try. *fingers crossed*

Next week, I'd like to proofread and finish revising the YA short story I wrote this week because I have an anthology I'd like to sub it to... Ideally, if I can get that done by the end of next week, that would be super cool.

Well, that's it for this update.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 13 April 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Man, I really like the covers for this very clever series. Also, now that I've found my way back to this series (after losing track of what was on my bookshelves) I'm excited about catching up. And this installment didn't disappoint.

Angel the zombie is back. She's busy collecting dead bodies for the Coroner's Office, trying to keep a relatively good relationship with her dad, and has decided that even though she's no longer on parole, she's still going to get her GED. After all, with the way her body heals it's become obvious that zombies are capable of living long lives. So she doesn't want to be uneducated for decades.

Only problem is that her life isn't easy. There seem to be shadowy people tailing her, things aren't going great with her non-boyfriend, some creepy things are happening on the set of a zombie movie, and there's the real threat of a flood pending. That's too much for one person to handle, but Angel isn't like other people...

OMG. Loved it! The third book in the White Trash Zombie series is just as good as the first two. I love Angel's voice. And felt so bad for her because in this book, she loses so much.

I also love how such a fun character is balanced out with a lot of very serious and dangerous stuff. Not to mention the zombie mafia. Or the companies experimenting with zombies. Plus, how cool is this world turning out to be? It seems to expand just a bit more with each book, and the twists and turns are really cool.

One thing I'm really liking is Angel's relationship with her father. It's so sweet, that she cares about him so much even though he's let her down so many times. Their interactions are so good, and super emotional.

Oh, and the Philip angle is equal parts fascinating and freaky.

Yep. I'm loving this series. Can't wait to see where it goes next...

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Inspiration & Ideas

The other day I posted this tweet on Twitter:

And after I did, I thought it might be a cool idea to write a blog post about it.

I get ideas from everywhere: dreams, songs, random words, TV, a sentence, pictures. My muse isn't fussy and has been going strong this year. Which is why writing short stories is so much fun at the moment. And I happen to follow several people on Twitter who post some really pretty artwork and photography that fills me with inspiration.

This week, a very detailed idea struck after I spotted a handful of pictures that instantly fit together.

It started with one picture that then connected to two others... seven pictures later I had a very vivid story playing out inside my head. And a few days later I found one more pic that tied everything together.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened. The 9k short story I finished last month came to me after I connected three pictures into one idea. That one worked out really well. So I hope this one does too.

*fingers crossed*

I have an Inspirational Pics folder that I keep on my phone and on my laptop, and it now contains 1k+ pictures that I refer to every time I'm casting a new story location, characters, etc. It gets bigger and bigger, which I find awesome.

Like I said above, I find inspiration in a lot of different places, but nothing gets my muse tingling and my mind wandering as much as some pretty pics.

So, here's a huge THANK YOU to all the lovely creative people on Twitter who share so many awesome pics. Keep them coming! :)

Saturday, 8 April 2017

ALL THE LITTLE LIARS by Charlaine Harris

Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora's 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there's an even worse discovery at the kids' last known destination, a dead body.

 While the local police and sheriff's department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip's disappearance related to Aurora's father's gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be? 

With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother . . . if he's still alive.

I was very excited when I heard there was going to be another Aurora Teagarden Mysteries book. I loved the Roe series! And thanks to Hachette Australia, I was lucky enough to receive a copy last week. 

So of course, I had to get stuck into it ASAP. :) 

Aurora Teagarden is a librarian, and is now happily married to the well-known mystery writer, Robin Crusoe. The newlyweds recently found out they're having a baby, so they are both thrilled. At the same time, the couple is anxious and don't want to tell anyone about the pregnancy until the doctor has confirmed everything is okay. 

It's going to be a full house in the Teagarden/Crusoe household, especially since her teenage half-brother lives with them too. 

Roe couldn't be happier. Her marriage is going great. She's rejoicing in (finally) sharing their happy news, and she still loves her job. So when her brother goes missing, everything crashes around her. No one knows what happened, but something really strange is going on because three other kids are also missing. Has this got something to do with bullying, is it some sort of sick prank, or can it be something even worse?

When a body turns up, Roe--who has a knack for getting caught up in local mysteries--and Robin--who is a mystery writer--are determined to conduct their own investigation. Even if they seem to be getting more questions than answers along the way...  

It's so good to spend time with Roe and the colourful people of Lawrenceton again. I didn't realise how much I'd missed her until I got stuck into this book. Roe is such a great narrator. I love her simple approach to life and how her mind works overtime to try and solve the heart of this very personal mystery. That she's not feeling well because of the pregnancy and that her father grates on her nerves doesn't get in the way of her focus. And with the help of fellow sleuth and husband Robin by her side, no case is going to stop them from getting to the truth.

Getting stuck into this book was like visiting a familiar town and catching up with old friends. I love that feeling! 

All the Little Liars is a welcome addition to one of my favourite mystery series. The story starts out calm and happy, but soon slides into the familiar territory of suspicion and uncertainty of a good mystery. As the events start unraveling, so does Roe's patience... which makes for a very intriguing and entertaining good time. 

I love this author's writing.

All the Little Liars, March 2017, ISBN 9780349416236, Piatkus

Thursday, 6 April 2017



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since I've been reorganising my bookshelves and getting in touch with books I'd forgotten I had, I decided to read this one. It's an UF story, with a twist of zombie goodness, so I knew I'd enjoy it. Especially since I really liked the first one!

Angel Crawford is a zombie, and becoming one of the undead has actually helped her get her life on track. She's got a decent job at the coroner's office, her boyfriend has the same condition, and she's even getting along with her alcoholic father. Of course, the side effect is that she has to eat human brains. But hey, nobody's perfect! :P

When she's held at gunpoint and a body gets taken from the morgue, her checkered past comes back to haunt her. To complicate things, Marcus wants her to meet his uncle, there might be more zombie hunters around, and a freaky lab is doing some weird shit with zombies.

Things are complicated, and there's plenty to make Angel glum, but with her new attitude she's determined to figure out what's going on...

OMG. Why did I wait so long to return to this? I loved the second book in this super awesome series. It's got everything that I love about urban fantasy: a strong flawed heroine with a heart, attitude, a gritty story, excellent secondary characters, a good dose of horror, an engaging mystery, and plenty of zombie coolness.

Yeah, this was awesome! I love how we're discovering just how deep and mysterious the zombie world really is, at the same time as Angel. And that there's a zombie mafia is genius.

Oh, btw, how awesome are the covers in this series?

Can't wait to read the next one. 

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