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Friday, 20 September 2019

More WIP Thoughts...

Hey! 

How was your week? As far as writing, reading and spending time with hubby went, it was great. The weather was really crappy, though. It rained most of the week, and you know I can't stand more than a few days of shitty rain. 😒

Personally, I don't find rainy days inspirational. I'd much rather have sunny days all week, but I didn't let that stop me from adding new words to my WIP.

The story's really coming along, so every time I sat down with my laptop, I typed up quite a storm. And that's why I once again gave myself the day off today. Not only does it seem to be working for the story, it's also great for my motivation and thinking things through.

So, the total word count is now: 40,203.

A lot of nightmarish and creepy things are happening to the girls in my story, and I'm really enjoying the adventure. There's a lot of dark stuff going on, and now that the ending is clear in my head, it's only a matter of getting there.

And I suspect that's not too far away. Everything's going downhill from here. 😁

Asides from the writing, I also read an awesome YA book. It's called THE DEATHLESS GIRLS by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, and is a re-imagining of the Brides of Dracula before they became the creepy vampires haunting his castle. And I loved it! It's SO good.

If you want to read more, my review is HERE.

After all the writing and reading, I enjoyed spending downtime with hubby every evening. Going for walks was a bit of a pain with all the rain, but we managed.

Well, since last week's super crazy thrifting finds, we're giving it a break. Not for long, of course. Just enough so there's time for new stock to arrive. LOL. And... I'm very proud to say that we didn't go anywhere near our usual haunts all week. I can't believe it! 😂

There you go, that's my update for now.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend!



THE DEATHLESS GIRLS by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin. 

On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. 

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. 

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate... 



Earlier this year, I read and absolutely LOVED Bram Stoker's Dracula. There were many things I enjoyed about this classic, but I was especially intrigued by the Brides of Dracula. I found them fascinating and wanted to know more. IMO, they just didn't get enough page time.

So, when I found out this book featured the Brides, of course I wanted to read it.

Lil and Kizzy are twin sisters who enjoy their peaceful and free lives as Travellers. But on the eve of their divining--when they'll have their futures read by the camp's Seer--their group is attacked by soldiers.

All the kids are taken to Boyar Valcar's castle, where their lives and dignity are stolen away. The twins are forced into a life of slavery in the castle's kitchen.

They might have taken their freedom, but they can't stop their thoughts or determination. They won't take their ability to love, and will never break their sisterly bond...

Wow. The first two chapters of this book are heavy. They really got me! Everything starts out lovely and serene, in a wonderful place that shows just how close the twins are to each other and nature, how peaceful their lives are, and how much they love everyone around them.

Then it burns all that happiness to the ground. 😞

After that, I couldn't put this book down. I knew I was going to love it. Lil's voice is strong and kind. She's selfless and determined to stay calm for her sister. Yet, she doesn't see any of that, doesn't realise her own strength in the face of adversity.

All of the characters in this story shine. Asides from Lil, my other favourites were Mira and Fen. Both tough in their own way and devoted to the ones they love. Hell, even the horrible ones leap off the page. They made me so angry and frustrated, I couldn't wait for them to pay. LOL.

For an origin story about the creepy vampire women living in Dracula's castle, there's a melancholy innocence throughout this tale of heartbreak and sisterhood. All Lil and Kizzy ever wanted was to find their own place in the world and be left alone, but find themselves fighting off constant unwanted attention.

I also have to mention how well the sense of location is portayed in this book. I could feel everywhere the characters went. From the overdone wealthy castles to the derelict villages, and especially the Traveller's connection to the land.

The Deathless Girls is an intriguing re-imagining about the girls who became the Brides of Dracula. It's beautifully written, dripping with atmosphere, and hooked me instantly. As the story slowly unravels and the stakes (pardon the pun) are heightened, I lost myself in the dangerous and violent world.

Although I already knew where this would end up, I still enjoyed getting there. I loved every minute of it.

Also, the cover is so pretty. The little details all represent something important in the story. Very nice!



The Deathless Girls, September 2019, ISBN 9781510106918, Orion Children's Books

Friday, 13 September 2019

My September WIP Thoughts

Hey! You know what I just realised? That I haven't posted anything about my current WIP yet.

Why? Well, to be honest, I just kept forgetting because I was too busy writing. 😃 

So, let's change that.

Last week, I decided it was time to get back into the gothic horror story I started writing earlier this year. It started speaking to me again last month, and when that happens it's not a good idea to ignore it.

I already had 6k words written, so the first thing I had to do was go back to the beginning and re-read what I already had. I couldn't move forward until I did that. It took a few days but, I'm glad that's where I started because once that was done, I was able to get back into the swing of the story.

This time around, I wanted to add words as often as I could and at the same time, squeeze in other things. Some days I added heaps, while others I didn't add much. Actually, I kinda took both Fridays off so I could finish reading books, proofread blog posts and reviews, plus sort out my ever-growing pile of books.

Every WIP is different, and this year I'm finding that every story I've written has dictated its own process.

It's funny, because I used to have a certain way of tackling first drafts and keeping track of word counts, but this year hasn't gone according to plan. But that's fine. As long as I'm writing and the stories are coming together, it's cool.

I do have targets, though. By the end of this week, I wanted to reach 20k and I'm happy to say that I did. Yay.

Total word count is now: 21,596.

I'm really enjoying this tale. It's dark and creepy, has a nightmarish feel that turns everything upside down. There are a bunch of different bits and pieces coming together in the back of my mind. All exciting and spooky things that confuse everything for my poor girls.

I still don't know how many words this draft will end up being, but I'm not too concerned about it. I just want to get everything out of my head because this particular story, and the characters living inside it, are crowding my brain.

Well, that's all I wanted to say. Just thought an update was overdue. 😁

Happy Friday the 13th and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

IT by Stephen King



You can now read my review of the ravenous monster that is IT here:




Friday, 6 September 2019

GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS by Suzanne Young

Girls with Sharp Sticks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that caught my eye a few weeks ago. First I noticed the cover, then the title, and by the time I'd read the blurb, I knew it was something I would be interested in.

I'm a sucker for dystopian books about girls written by women because, although these kind of tales are bleak, the characters turn the narrative into strength and love. The fear lights a fire within them, one that puts them in motion until they end up risking everything for the freedom to be what every girl and woman deserves: the ability to be themselves and be recognised as a person.

So when I found it on the shelves during the new library opening last weekend, I had to borrow it. I'm really glad I did because it's amazing.

Mena attends an exclusive all-girl private school in the middle of nowhere. It's far from town and hidden near the picturesque mountains.

Innovations Academy is run by an all-male staff, all very eager to teach these students how to be better, proper girls for their investors. The girls are happy and willing to please, until dark secrets about the school start to surface...

OMFG. This book is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant! It's as disturbing as it is interesting. As infuriating as it is intriguing. And Mena's POV, as well as the writing style, hooked me in and kept me glued to the pages.

I seriously couldn't put it down. Didn't want to.

As soon as I started reading, the air of malice surrounding these poor girls is obvious and filled me with fear, for them. Shortly followed by rage, because the more I read, the more I started figuring out what was going on. And all I wanted was to see these girls succeed in finding themselves and being able to find their own path.

This story raises a lot of other issues because it doesn't just deal with the obvious imprisonment and control of girls. But I can't go into that without giving away the shocking secrets that are better found out while reading this very cool book.

I loved the characters in this book. Especially the girls. Their sense of sisterhood, and the way they love and support each other is so awesome I loved every minute of their interactions. The way they trust one another and are willing to do whatever it takes to stay together just solidified my appreciation for this story.

There are a lot of other unexpected things that happen. For starters, it's quite violent. And very bloody. Not to mention that all of these kinds of books are horror tales of the worst kind.

I've seen this book compared to a lot of obvious titles I agree with--The Handmaid's Tale, Never Let Me Go, Westworld--but I'm going to add another one: Frankenstein. Doesn't it always come back to man's desire to control everyone? 😒

Anyway, I'm so glad I read this very disturbing, but empowering book. Can't wait to read the next one.

Monday, 2 September 2019

More Kendall Reviews News


Hey, how are you today? 

I hope you all had a nice weekend, and that September is treating you well. I'm excited because spring is finally here. 🌞

Anyway, I've got a bit of an announcement.

Remember my post from the other day? The one where I mentioned I stopped by Kendall Reviews a few times?

Well, I joined the Kendall Reviews Team!


That's right, if you check out the Meet the Team page, you'll see me listed on there. Yay.

So, what does that mean? I'll be popping in several times a month, and you'll be able to read some of my reviews and other posts over there. Plus, I'll be part of a group full of really cool horror-lovin' guys who love to promote horror. 

It's going to be fun. 😃

Hope to see you over there!


😈

Saturday, 31 August 2019

This week, I visited Kendall Reviews



That's right. This week I was featured at Kendall Reviews. Twice! And it's SO exciting.

If you're interested, these are the links:


You can read my answer to Why Do You Write Horror? here 

Both were a lot of fun, and I had a great time answering all the questions.

In the interview you can find out a bit more about Breaking the Habit, as well as my writing, reading and a bunch of other stuff.

And the guest blog is about my long love of horror, and why I enjoy writing in this great genre.


I LOVE stopping by Kendall Reviews.
Not only is it an awesome blog to visit, but Gavin is a very cool guy and is super supportive of all things horror

So, you should be checking out this website anyway. There are always a lot of cool reviews, very interesting interviews, and a bunch of other features.

Have a great weekend!

😁

Friday, 30 August 2019

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR by Lex H Jones

Carl Duggan has worked as a Detective in the City for a long time. The kind of ‘long’ where you’ve seen everything, and seen it twice. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise to him when a pregnant nineteen year-old girl washes up on the banks of the Styx. But something about this one is different, and before Carl gets any answers, two more bodies join the pile; a corrupt Judge and a big-shot lawyer. Carl’s gut tells him there’s a connection, the little things, the tiny details that others would ignore. 

The bodies keep on coming when a second case rears its head; three young men with nothing in common except their sexuality, each murdered in their own home. Gaining little assistance from his fellow officers, Carl goes it alone into the darker regions of the City. Along the way he makes acquaintances and enemies of the City’s more colourful residents, including the beautiful sister of the first dead girl, a Catholic hit-man dubbed “His Holiness”, and a shady casino owner named Dice. The closer he gets to the truth the more Carl’s life is put in danger, forcing him to move further and further away from the rule of law. Never once does he suspect that the two cases are so intimately linked, or that the truth could be so close to home.


I received a copy of this book from HellBound Books Publishing, and I'm really glad I did because it didn't disappoint.

Carl Duggan is a rough and tough detective in the dirty, overcrowded City. There are two sides to the City and they're separated by a river they call the Styx. The East side is full of the poor, homeless, prostitutes, pimps and crime. The West is full of rich, the successful, escorts, businessmen and crime.

Both sides are mirrors of each other--same criminal activity, but one tries to conceal the ugliness beneath a veneer of money.

When Carl starts investigating several unrelated homicides, it doesn't take long for him to solve each case. Except, the more he figures out, the murkier everything becomes when the solved investigations keep coming back...

You know, even though the blurb caught my interest, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book. I thought it might be the kind of disturbing I might not enjoy. But I was wrong. 

Well, I was right about the filthy feel of the story, but I was wrong about not enjoying it. Every moment I spent reading the pages of this book made me feel like I was actually there. I could feel the cold and bleak air, could see the dilapidated nature of the streets, experienced the weight of despair on both sides of the City, and couldn't shake the filthy sense every word imprinted inside my head.

All of the characters are simultaneously likeable and easy to dislike. They're complicated and not very nice or giving. The police department is overrun by corruption, the medical examiner is a junkie, the only future prospects for the young is crime or prostitution. This stinky City digs its claws into the residence and refuses to let go. 

The main character, Carl Duggan, is a prickly asshole who doesn't seem morally-inclined and is quite the violent cop. Yet, he pushes for justice and isn't easily corrupted. Plus, he's helpful and although he likes to pretend he's heartless and doesn't give a shit, Carl's quite a helpful man. He's got heart. He might not possess much finesse and has quite the acid tongue, but you know what? This made him the best noir voice to narrate most of this dark story.

And this book is dark.

I also liked the City's descriptions. They're done in a way that makes the location into its own character. This awful place reminds me of Gotham or Sin City, an urban playground for criminals. A place where the bad thrive and the good are squashed. A location where there's no definite good and bad.

The pacing is great. The story takes you down one path, makes you feel comfortable and then switches everything on you.

The Other Side of the Mirror is a gritty noir story that grabbed a hold of me from the first page. It's full of unapologetic, foul-mouthed non-PC people who just DGAF about who they're offending or hurting. But instead of turning me off, it totally fit the narrative.

It's full of twists and turns, keeps circling back to the beginning in a way that ties everything together in a messy bow. And by the time I reached the shocking and quite sad conclusion, I was on the edge of my seat. OMG, I can't believe it went THERE.

Of course, the suspicion bloomed inside my mind during the backend of the book, but even then, more unexpected surprises popped up.

I REALLY enjoyed this insanely awesome book.

Also, I'd like to thank HellBound Books for sending me a copy.


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

SILENCE IN THE WOODS by J.P. Choquette

In 1917, four friends and photojournalists set out in the woods looking for answers. Why have so many hikers and hunters gone missing in the area of Shiny Creek Trail? 

No one imagines the evil lurking in a remote cave. A horrifying discovery leaves one person dead and two others missing. Two months later, Paul, one of the four, returns to the forest to find his wife. But will he find her before someone—or something—finds him?


The author of this book was nice enough to send me a copy. And although I didn't know anything about it, the blurb instantly caught my interest. 

It's 1917, and two couples head into the woods hoping to find the story of a lifetime. They want to figure out why people go missing around the Shiny Creek Trail, while having an adventure. But things start going wrong right away. 

There might be an animal stalking them and when the weather takes an ugly turn, the couples end up inside a cave that is supposed to offer shelter. Instead, they find themselves in the middle of even worse danger... 

This was such a good and fast read! The pacing is great, and kept me turning the pages so fast I ended up reading the whole thing in 24 hours. 

I really liked how the story started in an asylum and quickly took the reader back into the woods. Not only that, but it's mostly told in the POV of a very likeable married couple, Paul and Jane Rogers. One of them is telling the story in the present, the other in the past, but both POVs are perfectly intertwined. 

The way the story unravelled was great. The suspense was thick all the way through, and the spooky atmosphere never lets up. Not to mention that the location was so mysterious, and the glimpses of the evil presence only added to the building tension. 

Silence in the Woods is a dark and intense thriller with an intriguing mystery and just the right dose of horror. All of these combine together to reveal a great story that doesn't disappoint, and will keep you interested until the very clever end. 

I'd like to thank J.P. Choquette for sending me a copy, because I really enjoyed this.

Monday, 26 August 2019

A Month After Breaking the Habit


That's right. Exactly one month ago, my horror story about a newlywed couple's terrifying honeymoon ordeal was released by Demain Publishing.

Just because I love posting it, here's the eerie cover:


Adrian Baldwin made it, and I seriously love how well this cover fits my story. Everything about it captures the mood without spoiling the twist. Puts the reader in the middle of the location without giving anything away.

There's a little something in this novelette of mine, that's best not to know until you're actually reading it. This makes it hard to reveal too much when I'm answering interview questions, or writing blog posts. But it's also exciting to read about the reader's reaction.

My story is actually part of the very excellent, Short Sharp Shocks! series. It's #27, and was released with these four other stories: 


They all look very cool, right?

So, how do I feel now that Isla's bloody, heartbreaking and violent tale has been out in the wild for a whole month? Well, I'm STILL super excited. How could I not be? It's been several years since my last book was released, and this awesome opportunity was the best way to step back into the publishing arena.

Not to mention that Dean from Demain was so awesome to work with. And that being part of a horror series alongside so many fantastic authors makes me very happy.

Yeah, I'm still very excited about Breaking the Habit, and am really enjoying finding out what readers have to say about it.

If you've read my tale of woe, thank you and don't be shy about letting me know what you think. Feel free to post a review so I can read your thoughts. 

And if you haven't, and you're interested, you can grab a copy from these Amazon stores:

US | UK |Australia | Canada

Another cool thing about this book is that it's 99c!

So, help me wish my creepy little story a Happy One Month Anniversary! 

Also, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who's read, reviewed, shared the announcements and links to help me get the word out. 😀

Friday, 23 August 2019

The Monster Book Ate My Brain

That's right. After a very productive week, this one slowed down a bit. I still got several things done, but it didn't include finalising two stories, LOL.

This week, my main goal was to finish reading IT. And to be honest with you, I tried to squeeze in some brainstorming but just couldn't concentrate. All I could think about was what was going on in the book, what was going to happen next, and looking forward to The End. Not because I wanted to be done with the book, but because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen.

Even then, it took most of the week to get through. Exactly three weeks after starting IT, I finished this amazing tome. And I loved every minute. Even after reading the last sentence yesterday, I continue to think about everything that happened. Keep going through all the stuff in my head. 

I guess it's hard to let go of a story that I've been stuck in for so long. Hard to forget all the shit that went down. Everything is still floating around inside my head, blending in together. I'm in awe, but haven't even written my review yet (which will be featured at Kendall Reviews) because I need a few days to get everything straight.

How can anything I say do the experience justice? 😎I plan to write it over the weekend and then proofread what I come up with on Monday.

So, asides from getting lost in this intoxicating read, we watched the second season of GLOW. Man, this show is so well written. I love how women are portrayed, the sisterhood and all the personal problems each one brings to the table. Not to mention that it's funny and so much FUN. Plus full of 80s and wrestling references.

I really hope there's another season.

When I wasn't reading or watching, I was sorting through my (many) books. In the last few months I seem to have doubled the amount of books I own and have to keep sorting them out. I also managed to trim my hair, which was long overdue. ðŸ˜ķ

Anyway. It's getting late so I'm going to wrap this up now.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, 16 August 2019

Another Week

That's right! It's FridayAnd this week, I'm happy to say that I completed several writing projects I had on my to-do list. Yay. 😁

These are things I've had on my mental to-be-done list for a while. Things I constantly carried in the back of my mind but, for one reason or another, I kept (unintentionally) pushing them back. So, last weekend I decided to move these things from my mental list to my handwritten to-do list.

That way, I actually set deadlines for myself, which always pushes me to complete the tasks. I don't know why, but when I write things down on paper, I hold myself accountable.

So, what were these things? Here's the list:
  • Complete third draft, read-thru & sub latest short story WIP.
  • Proofread the previously contracted story I recently got my rights back for.
  • Write two guest blog posts & email.
  • Answer interview questions & email.
  • Reach the halfway mark on IT.

This list might not look/sound like much, but I broke everything up into different days, and it took most of the week to get through. I managed to cross everything off by the end of Thursday. Plus, I have another two finished short stories on file. 👍

Then, we celebrated by going to one of our favourite thrift stores. Where I found a LOT of awesome books. Our apartment is slowly becoming a books and games library, and I love it! 😁

I also (really) like productive weeks. It makes me feel quite accomplished. Especially when it involves writing pieces that were stuck in my brain for ages. 

Although my mind is never clear--because there are always ideas and plans and stuff jammed inside--I'm now in a place where I can start thinking about other projects. And that's what I'd like to concentrate on next week: planning my next project/s.

I have a pretty good idea what I'd like to work on next, but need to get pen + paper to sort through my thoughts on paper before getting stuck into a nice lot of brainstorming.

But first, I'm going to enjoy the weekend.

I hope you do too. Have a good one!


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Strange Writing Thoughts

Yeah, that sounds like the best title for a post about my jumbled writing thoughts for this week.

As we all know, story ideas come out of nowhere and everywhere. Sometimes I wake up with one. Other times a dream sparks something bigger. Walking fills me with inspiration. A song might become an unexpected story nugget. Even a word while reading can make something happen. Or even a creepy picture posted on Twitter...

I think you get the gist of what I'm trying to say. 😎

Sometimes, these ideas are so well formed I can write a 4k first draft in a day. I actually did exactly this several months ago. I woke up with the story in my head, and had the first draft written by the end of the day.

My latest idea, another one that wanted to be told RIGHT NOW, was a little different. 

First, the character--who happens to be from the same series as the story I mentioned above--appeared out of nowhere. The time and setting were there too. Then later that day, the beginning struck me. But still, I needed a few days to mull everything over and double check a few details.

By the time I sat down to write with pen & paper a few days later, I handwrote 4 pages without stopping. It flowed well. I too notes and left it alone again.

During that time, the story was constantly in the back of my mind. Percolating in the background. Forming deeper roots than I expected. But no matter how many times I thought about how it would all turn out, I couldn't put everything together. Things weren't clicking.

At this stage I knew that the best thing to do was to just write. That was the only way I was going to find out if it was going to work or not.

So I grabbed my laptop with the intention of typing everything up, but on that day Windows 10 decided to be an a-hole and needed a thousand updates and restarts. (Okay, so it was more like five but that's a lot. A LOT.)

I was lucky to get the pages typed up (added up to 677 words) and put everything aside. Again. I was too frustrated with my laptop to continue.

Yesterday, I decided nothing was going to stop me. I sat at my Writing Nook (more on that another time), opened the Word doc and started typing. I kept writing until lunchtime and--by that time I knew how everything was going to end--went back to it after eating.

Not long after that, I finished the first draft. It turned out to be 3,884 words. It's a bit rough but the main story is there. Finally out of my head and ready to be revised.

Do you understand the title of this post now? 😁 

I had all the pieces of this story inside my head for a few weeks but they were scattered, and no amount of thinking or note-taking could put them together. BUT, as soon as I started typing, everything fell into place and made total sense.

It's strange and wondrous and weird. Every story is as different as its process. 

To me, that feels quite magical.✨


Friday, 2 August 2019

This Week


Hey! I'm going to start this post with this awesome Demain Publishing graphic:


I love how this features all the great Adrian Baldwin covers. These are also the latest Short Sharp Shocks! released last week. And of course, that includes mine. Yay!

I've actually had a really nice week. Even though we had a few rainy days, I didn't let the weather affect me. There were too many things to focus on, that's for sure.

It's tax time here in Oz, so we got some pesky real life stuff out of the way, which always feels good. Now that our daughter is 18, finished school, and isn't even living in this country anymore, this is the last year of long-winded claims.

So, what else did I do? I read a fantastic YA horror book called TEETH IN THE MIST by Dawn Kurtagich and reviewed it yesterday for Hachette. It's awesome. It's also the third book I've read by this author and I enjoyed all of them.

Now, it's time to get stuck into IT. Yep. This'll be my first time reading this encyclopedia-sized book and I'm super excited. I promised myself that I would read this book sometime during 2019 and before the second movie is released.

There's no better time to read it than a month before the movie hits. 😉

Oh, this week my Guest Review of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina prequel, SEASON OF THE WITCH, was posted at Kendall Reviews. It was really nice of Gavin to host my review of a book that I adored.

You know I LOVE the show, and this book totally felt like another season. So cool.

Hubby and I finally watched GOOD OMENS on Amazon Prime. We watched an episode a night for most of the week, then binged the last two on Thursday night. We loved it. This show was heaps of fun, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it more than the book. Yep. I did.

Asides from all this cool stuff, I also received the Flame Trees ARC I won in a Twitter contest. I really enjoyed this author's first book, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Now that most of the reorganising of my writing & reading nooks are done, I started writing a new short story. Yes! This one is an unexpected idea I had about a character from my Sierra Fox series. It's strange how many of these are hitting my brain years after I finished writing the series. And the five books are no longer available.

BUT, a story that is available is BREAKING THE HABIT. Actually, today, the first two fantastic reviews posted made me grin like an idiot because both readers totally got this little story of mine. If you're curious, you can read them both on Goodreads. 😍

You can also grab yourself a copy for 99c. That's a bargain! Here are the links.

Well, there you have it. This turned out to be a great week. And now, we've got the weekend ahead of us...

Have a good one!


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

TEETH IN THE MIST by Dawn Kurtagich

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil's Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations... 

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember--so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

 In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward--one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever. 

 1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it. 

 Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching... 


After reading The Dead House and The Creeper Man, and enjoying the hell out of both of them, I couldn't wait to read Dawn Kurtagich's latest release.

As soon as Roan arrives at Mill House, things start going wrong. Her father has recently died and has sent her to live with a man she doesn't even know. The secrets she keeps are only surpassed by the ones everyone else is keeping in this weird house. And there's someone--or something--watching her.

All Zoey wants to do is get her father back. So she runs away to the place that caused his madness. But Mill House feels weird and soon, along with her best friend, she'll find out the horrible truth...

Wow. This book is amazing. In more ways than one. Not only because the writing style is so engrossing and at times, disorienting. Not just because the characters are all so interesting. But definitely because of all these things and so much more.

A sense of impending doom weighs down on every page of this gorgeously wicked tome.

The story is told in the point of view of Roan Eddington and Zoey Root, but also includes the bizarre diary entries of Hermione Smith. These three women, who suffer their own personal nightmarish tragedy in Mill House, are all somehow intertwined. There might be centuries between them, but the darkness of a curse that began so long ago ripples out through time. Affecting each one in an interconnected way that is truly chilling.

I loved the format of this book. Not just the way it's written, because that's cool enough. I mean, there are journal entries and camera footage and an old diary. There are three stories happening at once and all move in perfect pace with each other. But not just that, I loved the aesthetics of the actual book. It's beautiful. The illustrations, photos, fonts and layout are all awesome. Totally adds to the experience in a way that helped everything flow from start to finish.

This is definitely a haunting book that totally gets under your skin.

Teeth in the Mist is an atmospheric tapestry of three intriguing tales woven together so expertly, they become one creepy book. I was hooked, didn't want to put it down, and when I reached the shocking ending, I wanted more.

As I mentioned the other day on Twitter, Dawn's creepy kind of horror is totally my thing. I love how she dares to go wherever the story needs to go. No matter how dark things get, she'll drag us down with her characters. And that's something I love in my horror. 😁

I can't express how much I loved this story of evil ambition and greed. It's fantastic!


Teeth in the Mist, August 2019, ISBN 9780316478472, Little, Brown Young

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Cover Talk


I love cover art. Checking out new covers, and trying to figure out clues about what's hidden inside, is one of the many things I love about books.

I've bought books purely based on their covers. So yeah, I'm a fan.

If it's for a story I've written, I love imagining what the cover might look like. I can't help but wonder what the artist might come up with. But nothing beats actually seeing what a cover artist comes up with for the first time. It's so exciting.

Today, I want to talk about this beauty:


This eerie cover was made by Adrian Baldwin and I love it.

One of the coolest things about the Short Sharp Shocks! series is that as soon as you see one, you know that it's part of the series.

Sure, they all have the cool and eye-catching crimson Demain Publishing border, but it's more than that. Every cover is pitch black, and features one element that fits perfectly with the story: a single image lost in all that darkness. Something that's somehow highly appropriate to each book.

I love the seemingly simplicity of these covers. At first glance, they appear so simple, but there are many unexpected layers. Whatever is featured on the cover is directly related to the story that follows, but the reader won't know exactly how it fits until they read the book.

Take my one. On the surface, BREAKING THE HABIT is a story about newlyweds eager to get their honeymoon started. It's also a tense and bloody, heartbreaking story about a woman with a dark secret and a past she's desperately trying to outrun. When I tried to picture the cover, I couldn't wait to see what the artist would come up with.

Then I saw the cabin/cottage and fell in love with it instantly. It's genius! The perfect image to provide a hint of the story without any spoilers. The place where BREAKING THE HABIT is actually set is the only possible image that could convey so much in such a spooky way.

The darkness surrounding the cabin/cottage is also perfect, because it reflects so much about the turmoil inside Isla's mind. As well as what's going on at this precise moment in her life.

See, so many clues are hidden in this awesome cover. Of course, I wrote the story so I see a lot more than the casual observer, but if you read the book you'll definitely understand what I'm talking about. 

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on Adrian's great cover. 😁


My Short Sharp Shocks! story is now available from:




Friday, 26 July 2019

BREAKING THE HABIT is now available!


That's right!

The 26th is here, which means that my Short Sharp Shocks! story is now available from Demain Publishing.


All Isla wanted to do was enjoy her honeymoon. She was looking forward to relaxing on the beach and enjoying cocktails with the love of her life. Instead, she ends up in the middle of the woods in a cozy cabin, where the past she's worked so hard to bury can find her. Turning what should be the best night of her life, into a bloody fight to stay alive.


You can grab a copy from:


And it'll only cost you 99c! 😁


ADD TO GOODREADS


I really love the cover Adrian Baldwin made for my story about a newlywed couple who gets more than they bargained for on their honeymoon.

There's plenty of blood, some heartbreak and secrets that refuse to stay in the past.

Also, my story isn't the only one that was released. There are a handful of other Short Sharp Shocks! available today, and you can check them out HERE.

I'm very excited about this story, and even more excited about being included in an awesome series featuring so many great authors.

Yay!

Thursday, 25 July 2019

SEASON OF THE WITCH by Sarah Rees Brennan

Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It’s no secret that I love the Netflix series, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Two awesome seasons, a holiday special, the comic books—I’ve watched/read them all.

When I found out a prequel novel was going to be released, I pre-ordered it ASAP and started reading almost as soon as the lovely book arrived. Now, thanks to Kendall Reviews, I get to share my thoughts with the world.

Summer is slowly coming to an end and Sabrina Spellman still isn’t sure if Harvey Kinkle loves her or not. But she’s a witch and has ways of finding out what people don’t want to share. Not to mention a bored cousin who’s willing to help with any/all mischievous deeds.

Except, magic isn’t something one should tamper with for selfish reasons and can be tricky. When the spell backfires, Sabrina’s forced to embrace her witchy ability while not forgetting her mortal side, and depending on her oddball family…

OMG. I absolutely adored this book!

I have to admit that I was a bit worried about how Sabrina’s voice would come across. I wondered if the story would feel forced in order to fit into what we already know about the peculiar residents of Greendale. Well, I’m super excited to say that there was nothing to worry about. Everything about this book is fantastic and flawless.

Sabrina’s voice is awesome and authentic. Actually, this prequel sets up the events of the show perfectly. It also effortlessly answers a bunch of questions I didn’t even know I had.

The blend of cute and bubbly is well balanced with the dark side always creeping up on Sabrina. No matter how hard she tries to stay on the straight and narrow, or how sweet she is, her curiosity gets the best of her and leads to a whole lot of trouble. It’s a character flaw that makes this young witch’s chilling adventures very appealing. She’s got a good heart, yet can’t help but delve into a little wicked behaviour.

What she does to Harvey, how she gets caught up with a water spirit, the way she damages her close relationship with Ambrose. All of it turns into a test—a very entertaining test that gripped me all the way through. I had a hard time putting this down, and was surprised by how much I managed to read every time I ‘wanted to squeeze one chapter in’.

Another very cool thing about this book is the format. Sabrina’s first POV dominates the book, but we also get a peek into the minds of a bunch of very familiar characters. Their POVs are excellently woven into the black pages (seriously, the pages are black with white print), giving us a glimpse into several things we didn’t know about what’s really inside their hearts and minds.

Yeah, asides from being an awesome book, it’s also really pretty and I love how the beautiful cover complements the already established aesthetics of this witch world.

Season of the Witch is the perfect prelude into Sabrina Spellman’s dangerous and wicked life, with a twist of the cosy. Her close-knit unconventional family is a delight to read about. The dark world of witches and the mortals able to balance everything out for this half-mortal, half-witch never cease to scheme and surprise. It’s well written, a lot of fun, fits perfectly with the show, and is a great addition to Sabrina’s expanding world.

No matter what season, Greendale always feels like Halloween and I love that.

I actually pictured all the actors while reading the book, which just added to the fun. And you know what else? It made me want to watch Sabrina all over again. 😁

Oh, and the great news is, there are more books coming! I can’t wait to read more…


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

An interview!


I've got another cool update!

Today, Demain Publishing posted an interview about my upcoming Short Sharp Shocks! story, BREAKING THE HABIT. 

You can read it HERE.

If you want to find out a bit about the story, my writing process and a bunch of other stuff, go and check it out. 


It's SO exciting! 😃



Monday, 22 July 2019

CIRCE by Madeline Miller

Circe My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this stunning book and absolutely loved it. It took me a few weeks to read because we've been really busy doing real-life stuff, and that means that I went days without picking it up. 😞

But, none of that matters because taking my time with this mythological blend of dark fantasy, adventure and horrific monsters was great.

I love Greek mythology, and have always been fascinated by Circe, so of course I enjoyed the hell out of this book.

Helios might be the sun god and a Titan, but he's also a mean bastard who doesn't care about his daughter. Circe's not pretty enough and her voice grates on his nerves, so he rejects her. But he's not the only one, even her mother and siblings ridicule and ignore her.

Circe leads an isolated, unloved existence, so she turns her attention to witchcraft and her fascination with mortals. When one of her spells angers Zeus, she's exiled to the island of Aiaia.

Her exile serves as a personal adventure that helps her power grow, leads to exciting discoveries, heartbreak and some horrific situations...

Wow. This book is full of so many familiar players in Greek mythology. All seen from the POV of Circe. It was so cool to see Hermes pass himself off as a friend while seducing and spreading gossip. Daedalus was such an interesting and great man. Odysseus was an interesting, yet vain man. Athena was as wrathful as expected.

There were a lot of very cool characters and monsters, but the ones that surprised me the most were Penelope and Telemachus. I didn't expect Odysseus' family to serve such a vital part in Circe's story.

Yeah, let's talk about how awesome the characterisation of Circe is. I mean, she might be a goddess and a powerful witch, but she's also a woman easily lost in her loneliness. She never fit in with her family, everyone who ventured into her life ended up taking advantage of her (or left her) and no matter how hard she tried to make people happy, it always backfired.

Even when she offers hospitality to the needy, they manage to betray her in the worst possible way. It was truly sad, but great to see how she uses experience to hone her skills. No matter what happens, Circe still managed to open her heart and home because it was in her nature.

I love stories about girls/women who have often been described as evil or cunning, but are really kind and powerful, posing such a threat that they're turned into false villains. And Circe seems to be one of many in Greek mythology.

The shitty behaviour of the Gods and Titans was something else I enjoyed. Not to mention how cool it was how other nations and gods are mentioned and co-exist alongside the Greeks. Very clever.

I'm so glad I finally read this because it was just as wonderful and dark as I hoped it would be. The writing is beautiful, the story fantastic, the cover gorgeous the main character is amazing, and THAT ending... Loved this!



Monday, 15 July 2019

I have some news!

Hey!

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my Saturday tweet featuring a very cool announcement and a new cover.

That's right, I've signed a contract with Demain Publishing for my novelette, BREAKING THE HABIT. I'm SO excited about this upcoming release for several reasons.

This is my first new release in quite a while. Several years, actually. So it's awesome to get the opportunity to have a new story out in the wild for a new audience. So I want to thank Dean M. Drinkel for giving me the chance to share my horror story with the world.

What makes this even more exciting is that this story is going to be a part of the very cool series of stories called Short Sharp Shocks! A series that includes stories written by Barbie Wilde and Calvin Demmer, to name a few.

My story is #27. And it's SO EXCITING!

These are the books that are already available:




The other day, I received the awesome cover, made by Adrian Baldwin. Not only does it match the others in the series, but it also features something that is central to the story.

Here it is:


Isn't this creepy and cool? I love it!

As soon as I have more information--blurb, pre-order link, etc--I'll be sure to post about it here. But for now, I'm super excited and had to write a little something to share this awesome news.

Thanks for checking in.

Have a great week! 🌞

Friday, 5 July 2019

ESIO TROT by Roald Dahl

Esio Trot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last week, hubby surprised me with a Roald Dahl box set and this was one of the books included. The cover's cute, the blurb intrigued me and it's quite short, so I picked it up today and read it in one sitting.

Mr Hoppy is a lonely man who lives in a concrete building above the widow Mrs Silver. He's secretly in love with her but she's only got eyes for her pet tortoise, Alfie.

The day Mrs Silver mentions to him that she wishes Alfie would grow bigger, a nefarious plan takes shape in Mr Hoppy's mind...

OMG. This book is pretty much an allegory for loneliness, and what an obsessed man is willing to do to get what he wants. It's not a nice thing and it's a shame he didn't get busted, but sometimes good people do shitty things. Sometimes, even the simplest of manipulations are harmful. And this guy, he wanted a particular someone so badly he was prepared to be terrible.

Mr Hoppy's plan to make Mrs Silver recite a magic spell of sorts so he can replace Alfie with one of the many tortoises he purchases is truly awful. It's conniving and mean.

Not to mention how shitty it is that Mrs Silver doesn't even notice poor Alfie's gone. BTW, I loved Alfie. He was adorable! During the whole time, I couldn't wait to find out what happened to him, and I was glad to see he had his own ending.

I also think it's important to read the Author's Note at the very beginning because after finishing the story, it puts everything into perspective.

This book might not be full of loveable characters, but I still enjoyed it. It's clever, in a very twisted way. Seriously, it's quite messed up when you think about it...



Thursday, 4 July 2019

GLOW #1 by Tini Howard & Hannah Templer

GLOW #1GLOW #1 by Tini Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Netflix show GLOW, so when I found out there was a comic book series, I had to check out the first issue.

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling think they've got a weekend off, but Sam ruins their plans by announcing he's signed them up for the Reseda Wrestlefest. And now, they all have to come up with creative ways to fund the trip...

Like the show, this was a lot of fun. Actually, it pretty much focuses on the lighter and fun aspects, instead of the deeper underlining serious and dramatic stories the show does so well. And hey, I'm totally okay with that.

The main story focuses on getting the girls to the actual event, while Carmen freaks out at the thought of not being taken seriously by other wrestlers. But once they get there, the ladies find out they've got something else to worry about--unexpected competition.

I also thought the artwork perfectly captured the characters, their personalities and the colours are all 80s, baby. It's all so pretty and bright.

This is really cool, and I definitely want to read more. Also, I can't wait for the third season!


 
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