Thursday 30 June 2022

June Revision Update!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have an awesome day!


Friday 24 June 2022

More Revision...

Hey! How are you today? 

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

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

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

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

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

I ended up cutting SO MANY words!

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


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

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

Have an awesome weekend, guys! 😁

Friday 17 June 2022

It's That Time Again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Have a good one!

Friday 10 June 2022

SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED is now available!


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

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

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

Featuring new, unreleased work from:

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

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

Edited by Jennifer Bernardini

Now available on:

THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Sarah Jane Huntington


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, plus that title rocks.

Loved this!

Thursday 9 June 2022

BELOW by Laurel Hightower


BelowBelow by Laurel Hightower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

Yikes! What a dark ride!

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

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

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

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

Awesome story!

Wednesday 8 June 2022

STONE MATTRESS by Margaret Atwood


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

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

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

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

Oh, and the setting was great!

BLOOD MOUNTAIN by Brenda S. Tolian


In this mosaic of Southwestern Gothic Horror, a primordial goddess awakens deep within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The mountain hungers for revenge as invaders leave her emaciated with their greed and brutality. She cries out for blood, infusing the minds of those who do not belong—twisting them outwardly into the dark forms of their true intentions.

An Under Sheriff struggles to grasp brittle threads of hope within the valley and mountains, his soul tormented by the unanswered questions of crimes he can’t explain and the dead and missing he could not help. The demented Red Women fracture the meaning of being maiden, mother, and crone within the shadows of twisted belief systems. Men and women devolve into the grotesque, drowning in their greed and violence transmuting into creatures too hideous to name. Others find seduction on her rocky hips and release within the baptism of her blood. The valley steeped in cults and crime hides something dark, where mirage plays with the senses, disappearances go unexplained, UFOs and creatures await watching in hunger.

This composite novel of interwoven stories and brief vignettes invites the reader to hear the hypnotic call of the Blood Mountain. Will she ask you into her vortex or swallow you whole?

With such an awesome and atmospheric cover, of course I was interested in checking this out.

Deep in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado, something hungry awakens after an ancient being is fed up with the greedy invaders and trespassers that leave her feeling used and abused...

Well, this collection of interconnected stories sure was brutal.

Although there are twelve different stories with interwoven interludes featuring the struggling Under Sheriff, Dave Blackwood, as he contemplates the carnage he's seen, these tales all come together to complete one very violent and bloody novel. Within these pages, there are many characters living through a variety of situations that often focus on the cultish and selfish behaviour of humans. But the narrative always returns to the mountains. Or rather, the darkness haunting the mountains and how she takes payment in the form of possession and death. 

These stories don't hold back and dare to tread into very dark and claustrophobic trails to follow those who dare to enter, because of one form of depraved greed or another.

They're all horror stories to the core, and also provide plenty of social commentary from the beginning. Not just in the way that men take, take and take some more, but also in how easily women can be twisted as well. At the end of the day, even though the patriarchy tries hard to convince us otherwise, we're all human. Man or woman, we're all capable of unfathomable things. We all wear skin over our brittle bones and can conjure truly horrible things with our minds, especially when caught up in the claws of religion. But we're not the only ones living on this planet, and sometimes the Earth bites back with a vengeance.

One last thing, my favourite story was Seraphim because I loved the imagery, anger and mood. Plus, it captures the essence of this book and is the perfect conclusion.

Thank you Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this book!

Tuesday 7 June 2022



Portfolio of the 100 Best Hard Case Crime CoversPortfolio of the 100 Best Hard Case Crime Covers by Various
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another PDF I've had on my phone for several years. Not sure why it's taken me so long to check it out. I mean, asides from whatever's on the 100 covers, there's no other text to read.

Still, it's really nice to have all of these awesome pulpy covers in one place. Hard Case Crime has some pretty cool titles, but even the ones I couldn't get into have fantastic covers. The artwork is fantastic and has a certain noir feel that you don't see much anywhere else.

It's a great collection of beautiful covers. 😊



The Broker of NightmaresThe Broker of Nightmares by Jon Padgett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've had this as a PDF on my phone for a while, and decided to start it last week.

Slaw is an ER doctor at Dunnstown General. She has a problem with dreams and addiction. The night a strange old woman comes to the hospital begging for drugs, Slaw's life is turned upside down...

Well, that turned out to be a waking feverish dream. It's weird and creepy, full of grotesque imagery that makes you suffer through all the gross stuff with the narrator. I mean, that whole spit thing. 👀

It's quite a trippy ride. Watching this (not very nice) woman spiral out of control because she's addicted to dreams was bizarre.

The artwork that accompanies this story is bright and lovely, but captures the darkness perfectly.

Overall, I enjoyed this.

Monday 6 June 2022


In the county, eerie stillness can be mistaken for stagnation. In the county, rumination on pain and guilt can be confused with omens and curses. In the county, feelings of claustrophobia stem from understanding what the encroaching darkness brings with it.

You’ve heard of country girls, and city girls, but what of the forgotten girls from the in-between space of the county? Confronting the things too wild for urban areas, and too methodically malevolent for the countryside, girls from the county are often dismissed by popular narratives, left to solve riddles of grief and rage for themselves.

Known for weaving folk horror with confessional poetry, unflinching true crime approaches with myth and fable, contemporary appetites with gothic literature, award-winning author Donna Lynch has composed a lyrical reconstruction for readers to navigate the lives—and deaths—of girls from the county.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I always get excited when I receive a poetry collection from RDSP because they publish some gems. So, I want to start by thanking Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this upcoming collection.

This haunting book starts with two sets of very interesting Notes from the author. Both give an insight into the words and set the tone for the pieces found within this slim paperback. 

Well, it might be slim, but every word matters. Every poem that Donna Lynch has shared with us bleeds on the page, and weighs on your soul. I loved every single poem I read, because they're all beautifully written and weave their way into your heart and mind with the sheer rawness and honest truth at the core of each small horror.

Every word painted a heavy and not very pretty picture. The reality of what's written on every page hits hard because whether we're from county, suburb or city, we've all heard the stories. We've all watched the news and are very familiar with the dangerous world girls live in. The many situations that could start as happy, but just as easily slip into terror.

I was captivated from start to finish, and actually read this book in one sitting because the distressing and true nature kept me turning the page.

This is a fantastic collection. The words might be lovely and lyrical, but the subject matter is uncomfortable and dark, so confronting. The very real lives fictionalised in these beautiful poems are all somewhat familiar and quite sad.

If you're into poetry that reveals intricate, emotional tales about the lurking dangers that shadow girls every moment of their lives, then you should definitely check this out.

Friday 3 June 2022

SAGA, Issue #59 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples


Saga #59Saga #59 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not the best installment.

I love this series but sometimes, there are filler issues that really don't hit the right chord for me. This was one of them. Sure, the family is taking a new direction and shitty people (you know the assholes I'm talking about) are still planning shitty things, but this part of the story is starting to drag a bit.

Maybe this is why reading comic books in Volumes is a lot more fulfilling. You don't have to wait for the next one.

Also, that ending was a little 😵‍💫 for me!

Thursday 2 June 2022

GWENDY'S FINAL TASK by Richard Chizmar & Stephen King

When Gwendy Peterson was twelve, a stranger named Richard Farris gave her a mysterious box for safekeeping. It offered treats and vintage coins, but it was dangerous. Pushing any of its seven coloured buttons promised death and destruction.

Years later, the button box re-entered Gwendy's life. A successful novelist and a rising political star, she was once more forced to deal with the temptations that the box represented - an amazing sense of wellbeing, balanced by a terrifyingly dark urge towards disaster.

With the passing of time, the box has grown ever stronger and evil forces are striving to possess it. Once again, it is up to Gwendy Peterson, now a United States Senator battling the early symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease, to keep it from them. At all costs. But where can you hide something from such powerful entities?

I've really enjoyed following Gwendy Peterson through the years. Watching her grow from a self-conscious young girl trying to get into shape, into an author and politician. And of course, seeing how the dreaded button box affected her life.

Many years have passed since Gwendy last had the displeasure of having the button box in her possession, but now it's come back into her life. And this time, she's got the impossible task of getting rid of it...

Wow. What a whirlwind conclusion this turned out to be! 😳

I have to admit that when I started reading, I was wondering why Gwendy would be anywhere near a spaceship. I mean, I know she's curious and adventurous, but what's she doing heading into space? Well, the book certainly explains all that and a whole lot more.

The story alternates between Gwendy in the present—battling to retain every piece of important information she can to complete her task—and Gwendy in the past—when Covid hits and she's running for the Senate. It provided a well-rounded explanation about the new catastrophe she's facing, and sheds some light on her personal struggle, introduces that creepy little town called Derry, and reveals some intriguing things about this magical box 

I got a kick out of all the Stephen King universe mentions, as well as how everything is woven into this new tapestry. While also throwing the reader into some Sci-fi trouble that proves evil isn't limited to Earth.

Watching Gwendy's gradual mental deterioration as she struggles to hold onto her memories and thoughts was so sad. And brave. Like everything else life has thrown her way, she does what she has to and never shies away from trouble or danger.

Gwendy's Final Task is as enthralling as the other two books in the trilogy. I couldn't wait to find out more as soon as I started. But this installment was really emotional, and the stakes are higher than ever.

I loved this book and this trilogy. Richard Chizmar took an amazing Stephen King idea and turned it into a wonderful, and memorable experience. 

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

Gwendy's Final Task, February 2022, ISBN 9781399702379, Hodder & Stoughton
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