Tuesday 31 August 2021

File Changes

Hello. How are you today? 

I'm actually taking a mental break at the moment because my last project muddled my brain quite a bit. 😵

It was TOTALLY worth it because I'm really happy/proud about how it turned out. But a break is definitely what I need right now.

This is actually my second week and I thought I'd post a little something because since finishing my latest Revision WIP, I've been making a LOT of Story File changes on my phone. And that always leads to a bunch of file updates on my laptop and external drives.

So, how/why did this come about? Although I'm still on schedule to complete at least two more revision projects by the end of the year, I'll be putting revision aside in November to take part in NaNoWriMo. That means I've been going through my Idea Folders to narrow down the possibilities... and that's when I realised that several ideas just didn't interest me anymore. Or there wasn't enough to justify an actual story.

I ended up deleting about five different ideas and merged two others. I'm so much happier now because all the story files are neat and tidy, plus getting rid of mind clutter feels as good as getting rid of actual clutter.

Yep. I'm totally in a spring cleaning kinda mood, because I also DNFd and donated 36 books! 😬 

It's definitely that time of the year.

Now that I've cleaned up all these files, I might be able to get stuck into some actual reading... LOL.

Anyway, have a great day!

PS. Can you believe it's the last day of August? 😳

Friday 27 August 2021



Kitty's Greatest Hits (Kitty Norville #0.1, 0.5-0.8, 1.5, 2.5, and more)Kitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now that I've finished the awesome Kitty Norville series, it's time to read the two short story collections that are set in her exciting supernatural world.

This is the first one.

IL EST NÉ: David's wolf has taken control of his life, but one fateful Christmas he finds himself in a Waffle House with a werewolf named Kitty. Together, they embark on a bloody adventure...

A gory, sad and heartwarming story about two lonely wolves, and gaining control when the beast side is stronger than the human half. It was nice to see Kitty find someone during the holiday season while being far from her family.

A PRINCESS OF SPAIN: I really enjoyed this historical take on Catherine of Aragon and what happens when she's married off to the future King of England and finds herself alone in a strange, dark land...

Great way to cast the creatures of the night into the past, and the kind of role they could have played. 😁

CONQUISTADOR DE LA NOCHE: This is a fantastic novella! It's the origin story of Rick, the Master of Denver—aka Ricardo de Avila—and it's a bloody, violent and totally thrilling story. Loved this as much as I love Rick.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL: I didn't think I would enjoy the story of Daniel set in Babylon and featuring so much faith and political mayhem. But I did because this little shifter twist was awesome!

THE TEMPTATION OF ROBIN GREEN: Robin Green is a soldier working the night shift in a lab studying supernatural creatures. She never breaks the rules, until she crosses paths with a seal...

I love selkie myths and this tale was an original take, while also sticking to the familiar. Oh, and Rick makes an appearance! That was a lovely surprise.

LOOKING AFTER FAMILY: This is Cormac and Ben's origin story. They're both teenagers and Cormac has just moved in with Ben's family at their farm after tragedy struck, but they're not instant friends. THIS, is when THAT happens. Fantastic tale!

GOD'S CREATURES: Another Cormac story! And of course it was awesome. You know, for someone who hates the monsters, he sure as hell is as methodical and reckless as they are. Guess that's why he's THAT good.

I enjoyed the Catholic Church connection because it adds a lot to the way Kitty's world works.

WILD RIDE: I really enjoyed TJ's origin story because it's sad but hopeful, and revealed some pretty tough inner strength he didn't believe he had. Another fantastic and emotional story.

WINNOWING THE HERD: This was a fun little glimpse into how boring Kitty's life was before she was outed as a werewolf. I enjoyed her internal thoughts and how she separated herself from the humans during a staff meeting. Who can blame her? These forced social gatherings are shitty. 😅

KITTY AND THE MOSH PIT OF THE DAMNED: An awesome action-packed story about Kitty going to a concert in hopes of getting the popular band on their show. Devil's Kitchen are hiding a secret as big as the very mysterious bartender, Jax. Jax turned out to be such an intriguing character, wish he'd made it to the series.

KITTY'S ZOMBIE NEW YEAR: I didn't expect this story to be so sad on several levels. Firstly, because Kitty goes to a NYE party at Matt's house but feels so lonely. And secondly, because of how the zombie situation turns out. Terrific story, though.

LIFE IS THE TEACHER: This is such a great story about Emma becoming a vampire and dealing with having to let go of her past, accept that taking blood is now part of her life, all while engaging in a nice seductive game. Clever tale.

YOU'RE ON THE AIR: I always loved when Kitty got calls from the supernatural community, and this little tale is about one of those. Jake is a vampire but he works the graveyard shift at Speedy Mart and doesn't have much else going on. But after calling Kitty's radio show, his boring life takes an unexpected turn. One that reminds him what he is and what he can do. Such a fun story.

LONG TIME WAITING: Cormac's jail novella is fantastic! I've wanted to read this for ages and now that I have, I'm happy to report it was awesome as I hoped it would be. Sprinkle Cormac's bad luck with the very interesting Amelia, and this turned out to be a recipe for destruction. And an unexpected partnership that happens to be perfect.

Well, I took my time reading this collection of amazing short stories and I'm glad I did. I LOVED EVERY SINGLE STORY! They're all seriously awesome and Carrie Vaughn is a terrific writer. Love her style.

PS. Also enjoyed the story notes at the end of the book.

Friday 20 August 2021

August's Revision Update!

Well, it's Friday and I thought I'd pop in to post an update.

Things in NSW are going from bad to worse. We've been suffering through this half-arsed mockdown for 8 WEEKS now and instead of getting better, the case number are getting out of control. We've had 600+ cases for three days in a row. Hotspots are no longer reported and the contact tracing is not of the gold standard calibre they always bragged about. 😫

This is alarming, scary stuff made worse by the fact our state government is delusional. They fucked up from the beginning and refuse to accept responsibility or tighten the meaning of essential worker. And now, people are dying and our hospitals are under pressure.

It's awful and so frustrating because we can't do anything about it. But that's what happens when people keep voting for right-wing governments that DGAF about them. 😑


It's best to concentrate on the good parts: hanging out with hubby, going for walks, enjoying nice meals and getting back into yoga.

Oh, and this happened:
  • Monday: 40/202 (76,764w)
  • Tuesday: 69/202 (76,536w)
  • Wednesday: 144/201 (76,355w)
  • Thursday: 205pgs / 76,077w

I actually reached The End yesterday, but it always takes me an extra day to tidy up any last-minute changes and checks. Plus I have to rename the files, format to double space and update all my external drives. And clear away the many post-it notes + random pieces of paper I've accumulated. LOL.

I'm super excited about finishing another WIP. Yay. 😁🎉  Especially this one because this is a novel I wrote back in 2017 and I worked really hard to make this story stronger. I fixed all the inconsistencies, cleaned up the writing, trimmed the fat, changed the direction of several subplots, altered the timeline and even wrote a new ending. Yeah, this isn't a linear book. 😁

Really happy and proud with the outcome. I put my poor main character through a LOT, but I love where her dark journey leads. 😁

So, finishing this project also means I can update my 2021 Revision List again:
  1. April: Full edit of Wall of Dolls
  2. May: Full revision of Destiny
  3. June: Full revision of Victoria
  4. August: Full revision of Possess

Looking good! I still have a bunch of WIPs to get to, but this is great progress. I set myself a serious goal this year, and so far I'm sticking to my plan. Even with the sad state of the world.

I almost forgot to mention that this week I also proofread The Wired City and The Bone Factory for the upcoming paperback release. So, yeah, it's been a super busy week!

Anyway, I think that's enough chatter for now. I need to take a breath, because I feel like I've been holding it in all week, and give my brain a break.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Friday 13 August 2021

The Revision Continues...

Hi! How are you? Can you believe we're almost halfway through August?

And it's Friday the 13th today! So make sure you don't catch Jason's attention. 😬🔪

Well, NSW has been on mockdown for seven weeks now and the numbers are still too fucking high. Actually, the cases are higher every single day. In order for a lockdown to actually work, everyone in the state needs to be under the same restrictions and any business that isn't absolutely essential needs to be closed. These are things this useless government doesn't seem to know. Stupid assholes only care about their greedy interests.

It's SO frustrating because people are dying and way too many are ending up in the ICU. It's sad and awful, but when your own government doesn't care it makes everything worse.

Anyway, I better not get caught up in this endless cycle of anger... 😠

Let's focus on something good. I spent this week working on the third draft of my YA demonic possession WIP, and am very happy with the progress.

Here's how it went: 
  • Monday: 27/199pgs (75,959w) 
  • Tuesday: 63/201pgs (76,820w)
  • Wednesday: 108/200pgs (76,226w)
  • Thursday: 159/200pgs (76,207w)
  • Friday: 202pgs / 76,901w

That's right. THE THIRD DRAFT IS DONE! Yay. 😃🎉

I worked really hard on this particular draft because I wanted to make this story shine. I ended up adding 2,929 new words, but also cut a LOT of excess. The word and page count kept going up and down all week because of all the re-writing.

The heart/core of the story is pretty much the same as it was during the first draft, but I cleaned/tightened everything up to make better sense of my heroine's dark journey. I even changed the direction of several plotlines an strengthened the mother-daughter relationship. 

While this is challenging, I'm really enjoying the process. 

Now I'm going to take the weekend off and will start the read-thru on Monday. I've already added the doc to my Paperwhite, so it's ready to go. ☺

Have a good one!

Saturday 7 August 2021

THE SMALLEST OF BONES by Holly Lyn Walrath


A haunting ossuary of tiny poems covering a wide range of topics such as love, romance, relationships, queer sexuality, religion, death, demons, ghosts, bones, gender, and darkness. The Smallest of Bones guides those on an intimate journey of body acceptance, with sparse words dedicated to peeling back skin and diving bone-deep into the self. Raw, honest, and powerful, this collection is an offering to those struggling to find power in the darkness.

The other day, the author of this lovely little book reached out and asked if I'd be interested in checking it out. I was really excited because I loved the pretty cover as soon as I saw it. Not to mention that I have a strange fascination with skulls, skeletons and bones, so reading a poetry collection featuring different bones sounded very appealing.

This lovely and soul-stirring collection of tiny poems is broken up into clever sections featuring a new different and very important bone in each one. It's also framed by some very interesting mythical, factual and spiritual information about the CRANIUM (great way to start), MANDIBLE (powerful), STERNUM (fragile), SACRUM (haunting), SPINE (sad), CALCANEUS (chilling) and TEMPORAL (a fitting end).

I really enjoyed this book! It's deep and dark and even quite sad. It's amazing how well such a brief selection of words convey such powerful emotion and imagery when perfectly crafted into small and very imaginative poems.

My favourite thing about this book is how deeply I felt every raw and honest word, it felt more like a visceral experience that managed to surpass the simple act of reading and haunted me until the very end. 

This is a beautiful collection of minimalist poetry and packs quite a sentimental punch.

Thursday 5 August 2021

August's Revision Begins...

Hey! How are you today? How is this week treating you?

So, our state (NSW) is still on mockdown and will stay this way until the end of this month. For us, that means staying the hell away from everyone, wearing masks as soon as we step out of the apartment, buying groceries once a week and going for daily walks when hubby starts work and when he finishes. That's it.

I can't believe we're worse off now than we were at the beginning of this shitty pandemic. 😒

Anyway, enough about the sad state of this selfish world. 

A new month is here and after taking the whole of July off, it was time to get back to my 2021 Revision Plan. 📝

This time, I got stuck into my tentatively titled novel, Possess, which is a YA horror story I wrote back in September 2017. The first draft word count was 76,971 and it deals with one of my most fave tropes: demonic possession. But it's ultimately about family, friendship, inner strength and identity.

Here's my progress:
  • Friday: 24/201pgs (77,492w)
  • Monday: 83/202pgs (77,438w) 
  • Tuesday: 145/201pgs (76,969w)
  • Wednesday: 190/201pgs (76,627w) 
  • Thursday: 195pgs / 74,481w

Oh boy, going back to this draft was like reconnecting with a strange WIP I hadn't seen in AGES! We had to get to know each other all over again. Most of the events were familiar—I mean, I did write them—but some of the stuff was a total surprise. That's the bad and good thing about putting a story aside for too long. LOL.

I'm finding that novels I wrote two+ years ago require a fast and sharp get-down-to-business second draft. This covers the basics, as well as getting to know my story and characters all over again. When I do this, my brain starts working overtime and the story starts to fill my (almost) every waking moment.

That's when the fun starts, and when things click into place. Only then can I make better sense of the character's motivations, the antagonist/s, etc. It might sound like a strange process, but I enjoy the challenge. Especially if I believe in the story, and I definitely believe in this one. 😊

Another thing I did during this draft is change the ending, which involved changing a certain relationship dynamic throughout. I think it works much better this way, but also meant I had to delete a chapter, scrapped the original Epilogue and wrote a new one. You know what? I'm really happy with how it all turned out.

Of course, I've already started a Third Draft Revision List because there's plenty left to smooth out, but I'm a lot happier with this story now.

The revision process is a LOT of hard work, but man, it's always so worth it.

Well, I guess that means I get a three-day break from this novel. Yay. I'm going to enjoy that time, while looking forward to the next stage next week...

Have a great day!!

Tuesday 3 August 2021

BILLY SUMMERS by Stephen King


Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He's a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can't-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It's about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won't put this story down, and you won't forget Billy. 

I always look forward to reading the latest Stephen King, so I'd like to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of this one.

Billy Summers is a killer for hire, but he only kills bad guys. Now, he's ready to tackle one last hit, but this particular job isn't what he expected. And you know what happens when a man is determined to go at it one last time...

Yikes. What a book! 😳

Well, what can I say about the latest King that I haven't said before? I was hooked from the beginning. I wanted to know more as soon as I started. The more I read, the deeper I fell into the events. The characters leap off the page and I couldn't help but get attached.

These are things I constantly find myself saying because Stephen King is that special kind of writer. The one guaranteed to grab my attention and keep me glued to whatever's going on because the story is gripping, and so very addictive.

Billy's story was no exception. He's not exactly a good guy, and he certainly knows a lot of bad people, but they pay well and he's good at his job. Even if his job involves killing. 

The tension in this story builds slowly, but the relationships he forges happen fast. It's all enough to keep the reader interested from start to finish. For me, the only time I lost interest was when Billy was writing about his shitty time in Iraq. I don't particularly like war stories so these bits were hard to concentrate on, but in typical King fashion, a new obstacle is soon introduced that fired up my interest.

And that was Alice. Poor Alice and the horrifying ordeal she goes through injects a new surge of urgency and emotion into the narrative. After that, I couldn't put the book down because the connection between Billy and Alice is pure and strong and totally heartbreaking. I couldn't read fast enough and wanted to find out how Billy's last job was going to turn out. 

Billy Summers is an intriguing thriller featuring a very interesting and complicated narrator. The way he pours his sad and tragic life onto the page provides a gripping account that's hard to turn away from. I really enjoyed sharing his dark and dangerous journey and followed it all the way to the clever but bittersweet end.

Although this story focuses on real life horrors done by monstrous people, there is a certain kind of magic too. As well as an interesting mention of one of King's best-known classics.

I also need to add one last thing. This book definitely needs trigger warnings about child abuse, rape and war because it deals with the violence and trauma involved in all of these. While the details aren't graphic in nature, these uncomfortable topics are peppered throughout. 


Billy Summers, August 2021, ISBN 9781529365719, Hodder & Stoughton

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