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Friday, 30 September 2022

FAIRY TALE by Stephen King

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher - for their world or ours.

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself - and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
 

I always look forward to getting stuck into a new Stephen King story, so when Hachette Australia sent me a copy of this book, I couldn't wait to get started.

Charlie's really young when his life changes forever. After losing his mother, his father tumbles down the rabbit hole of alcoholism. This leaves him alone for a lot of the time, but he learns to take care of himself as well as others. So, it's no surprise when at seventeen he ends up caring for an elderly neighbour and his dog. What is a surprise is where this unexpected friendship leads him...

Wow. This is fantastic! I was hooked instantly. Even though I found it hard to put down, I paced myself to savour every moment of this hefty novel.

King has an addictive way of drawing readers into a seemingly average situation involving an everyday-kinda person. Then, he tangles you up in these people's lives. And ultimately, you're so caught up in the intricate web of words he weaves, that you can't escape. 

These average lives might start out that way, but it doesn't take long for the extraordinary, horrifying and creepy stuff to appear. And by then, you care so much about the characters that you feel everything that happens. Very deeply. 😣

I didn't know if Charlie Reade's adventure was going to lead to a happily ever after, but I was determined to follow him to The End. 

Of course, the fact we end up going down a spiral staircase inside a shed, and venture into a dark fantastical world, only made everything that much more exciting. And dangerous. But I'm getting ahead of myself, because before we go there, we get to know Charlie and Howard, get to experience a true friendship that stems from a young man's personal promise to himself. As well as the gorgeous dog that ties everything together. I seriously loved Radar. She's the best.

Charlie's quest kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Or is that down? I found the Other as fascinating as the people who inhabit this world, and didn't lose interest at all. I loved Charlie for all his kindness and determination, as much as his flaws. He's no Disney prince, but I think he's something a lot better.

Fairy Tale is exactly what the title says. It's a modern fairy tale that somehow manages to stay original while referencing countless amounts of folklore, myth, movies, and more. This might start out as the story of a boy who loses a lot too young, but it's really about a helpful guy who ends up falling in love with an elderly dog and will do anything to save her. But it's also a love letter to stories. To every story. To all stories.  

It's heartwrenching, heartwarming, and tremendously entertaining. Not to mention highly imaginative.

I LOVE this Book of King Fairy Tales.



Fairy Tale, September 2022, ISBN 9781399705424, Hodder & Stoughton

Friday, 23 September 2022

PERFECT BLUE by Yoshikazu Takeuchi

 

Perfect Blue: Complete MetamorphosisPerfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Several years ago, my daughter was going to get rid of this book because she didn't like it as much as the movie and she asked if I was interested in checking it out, I said 'yes'. I mean, I enjoyed the movie too. 🙂

Kirigoe Mima is a pop idol who embodies purity and innocence. But after years of doing the same thing, she's ready for a sexier change. Except, not all her fans are happy with this change, and one particular man is going to make sure she stays the same. Forever...

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but as soon as I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I literally read it in a few sittings because I really wanted to know how this was going to turn out. I know that sounds weird because I've seen the movie, but this is very different. It's pretty much a completely different story.

This turned out to be an excellent thriller with horror elements. As well as a good dose of gore, and features a delusional superfan. I mean, a monster. The guy is seriously demented. And so obsessed with Mima, he actually thinks he's helping her. 😳

Asides from the interesting commentary on the unrealistic expectations placed on these poor idols by the public—uh, I mean men—there's also the chilling reality of how women who are stalked (in this case via creepy calls and creepier letters) don't feel justified to go to the authorities because they won't be taken seriously. Until they're attacked. Or killed.

This is a sad fact.

I also really liked the characters. Mima was nice and easygoing, a kind woman who wants to change her image enough to grow with it. Rumi, her assistant, is another great character. A failed idol who dedicates her life to helping Mima's career. Her agent, Tadokoro, was a very likeable guy. Although Mima's his ticket, he still shows her respect and doesn't move forward unless she agrees, which I thought was awesome. Oh, and I can't forget about the photographer, Yuji. I liked his casual manner.

I loved all of their interactions, but especially enjoyed the last few scenes. Wow. That was quite the horror finale and it provided a satisfying conclusion!


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Wednesday, 21 September 2022

BONESET & FEATHERS by Gwendolyn Kiste

 

Boneset & FeathersBoneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This story turned out to be quite the dark fairy tale, and I was hooked from beginning to end.

Odette lives in a village full of people who don't want her there because they're scared she's a witch. Yet, all she's done for five years is stay away from everyone and bury her magic so deep within, she can barely cast a single spell. But when the birds fall from the sky, everything changes and it won't be long before the witchfinders return...

I absolutely loved everything about this lovely but sad story. It's amazing and wondrous, poetic and even devastating.

The persecution of witches always hits me deeply.

I also love characters who are pure and kind, even when so much hatred surrounds them. Odette might be an outsider and labelled as dangerous, but it was never because of something she did. And even though the village shuns her, she never hurts them. In fact, she hurts herself more than anything. And all she wants is to be able to live her life in peace after she's lost everything. 😣

While the awful and callous patriarchy is familiar enough to fill me with rage, I found the way this world portrayed witches, witchfinders and magic totally fascinating. It's mysterious and so consuming I lost myself within the words of this lyrical book instantly, and couldn't put it down.

I LOVED this. So much.

I've read several stories written by Gwendolyn Kiste and have enjoyed all of them immensely. I can't wait to read more.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

CRIME SCENE by Cynthia Pelayo


Cynthia Pelayo sings a song for the least of us, the victim we want to forget as soon as possible, the one who disappeared before ever really appearing. With a fairy tale gaze and a heart bigger than the world, her siren song insinuates itself past our defenses, past the hardened calluses and apathy we’ve erected to protect ourselves from the everyday horror of another missing girl.

Pelayo relates the familiar story, poem by poem; a body is found, a brutal crime investigated, clues take us in circles, and lead us nowhere. We are on an epic journey, the hero’s journey, and it must play out to the end in all its painful, ticking moments. Pelayo imbues her hero, Agent K, with the entirety of our dedication and that crumb of hope we’ve been hiding, saving for later. We will need to save for years, for decades, if we want to come out the other side. The job takes its toll, the answers are never complete and whys fracture, crack and spread. Still there is no turning away. We must bear witness, though it changes and contorts us.
 


I have to thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this sad and tormenting, but beautiful collection.

The cover prepares the reader for what is waiting within these troubled pages, as much as the title. Yet, I wasn't prepared for the interwoven poems that tell this bleak and heartbreaking tale in a very unique and immersive way.

Each poem is listed under a Report No. and follows what happens after two kids find a dead body. Agent K soon takes over as she investigates. But Agent K is a tortured soul. Not only is she haunted by the endless, callous nature of what human monsters are capable of doing, but her past is darkened by her own personal tragedy. An experience that chases her into slumber and doesn't fade while she's awake.

The way Cynthia Pelayo paints such detailed and gruesome murder scenes is only rivalled by the beauty of the dark imagery. I could see every location she describes so vividly, imagine all the ghosts, and smell the cloying scent of decay. 

Poetry, in the hands of a skilful poet, can dig it's claws deep into your soul until every word takes your breath away. And that happened to me many times, while reading this stunning collection. 

True crime is one of those things that horrify and intrigue us at the same time. I've been watching a lot of it lately and after every case featuring an innocent woman or girl—because it's mostly the female of the species who suffer these horrendous and unfair crimes—reaches it's horrible conclusion, I always feel the same way. Broken and sad, confused while asking the one question that never seems to be answered: Why take what isn't yours? Because, even when the selfish killer has a screwed-up motive for their despicable actions, it never justifies taking someone else's life.

And this brings me back to this brutal book. I loved how confronting every single poem is, and how well each lyrical word captures the macabre, uncomfortable subject matter.

This is definitely a keeper. The contents of this poetry collection might have torn me apart at every turn, but I loved it.





My Revision Plan is Finally Over...

 

Last year, while working on the edit for WALL OF DOLLS, I decided it was time to put a Revision Plan together...

It took me well over a year to complete this goal. I started in April 2021 and finished September 2022.

The plan was long and involved a lot of hard work, but I committed because I believed in the variety of novels I'd cared enough to write in the first place. The first draft word counts varied from 50k to 78k and were mostly written between 2017-2019. There were nine to tackle. Except, that number became ten after I took part in NaNoWriMo 2021 and added another draft to the list. 😳

Still, I pushed on.

I kept myself from drowning in fatigue, and pushed away any overwhelming thoughts, by taking a few weeks off between projects. Sometimes, when my brain needed a longer mental break, I took a month off here and there. It was important to stay on target but I also didn't want to burnout, and risk having to stop the process.

So, filling the creative well was a must.

In the end, I turned three of these first draft novels into novellas, while six remained novel-length, and one was shelved. I hate that my last project turned out to be an abandoned story, but when you consider the total amount of projects I finalised, losing one novel isn't so bad. 🙂

I mean, I did cut a total of 104,423 words!

So, what's the next step for these finished stories? Some I've already started subbing. While others might never find an audience because they're too strange. Or too short. Weird in ways that are hard to market. Like my novella about a young woman who descends into madness using a fairy tale narrative. Or the novella about a teenager who might have fallen in love with an alien... Yeah, there are some peculiar tales in the bunch but I'm excited to have given every one of these ten stories a chance to become complete.

Well, except for the urban legend novel that didn't turn out how I imagined it would. 😬

This is a big personal goal and sometimes, I have to remind myself what a huge achievement this actually is. Just like clutter around the house, story clutter can become a problem if I don't take care of it.

And now, it's all done. *sigh*

It's time for me to take a bit of a breather for the rest of this week, while catching up on some reading. After that, I'll start thinking about my next NaNoWriMo project, and will polish a short story I wrote on my phone. As well as write two other stories that I started earlier this year but never got around to finishing. Not sure if they'll turn out to be short or longer pieces, but I'd like to write them by the end of the year.

That's it for today. I just wanted to end my goal with one final reflection post. 😊


Thursday, 15 September 2022

Revision Time!


Hey! Long time no blog, huh?

So, how are you? What's new? What have you been up to? 😁

After getting several revision drafts done in a row, I decided to take most of August off, and spent it with my awesome husband while he was between jobs. It was a lovely break and prepared me for the final Revision Project. Yay.

This time I tackled a YA horror novel that deals with urban legends/myths, but has a demonic twist. I really enjoyed writing the first draft of Urban back in 2017, so I was looking forward to finding out if I still felt that way. Five years away from this story put a lot of distance between the original concept/idea and, although I still liked a lot of what I read, I spotted too many problems.

Here's how my week turned out:

  • Monday: 37/182pgs (69,041w)
  • Tuesday: 74/178pgs (66,930w)
  • Wednesday: 104/169pgs (63,050w)
  • Thursday: 160pgs/60,398w

Well, the second draft is done.

As you can see, there was quite a bit of word-cutting done during this draft. Excess, things that didn't need to be there, and plenty of other probs that stood out.

Yeah, this revision didn't work out the same way as the others.

I mean, there's a lot to like about this tale because so much of it is essentially a series of stories within the main story. But for some reason, the thread that strings it all together wasn't as strong as I remember. 😧

Looks like I've reached the stage where I have to admit to myself that this novel isn't working.

I initially started thinking about this as early as Tuesday, which is a shame. This situation reminds me of something I said to my husband after watching the movie, Ouija. I told him that although there were quite a few cool ideas/concepts that I really liked, the overall story didn't work.

Well, that's exactly how I feel about Urban.

So, after reaching the end and thinking about it, I've decided not to continue the revision process for this novel. Instead, I'll probably cannibalize chunks from this draft and will turn them into shorter stories. Actually, there's one particular creepy scene that I think will work great as a short story. And other bits that can be added to some of my other future ideas.

So, it's not a total loss. 😊

Now that I've completed the Revision Project List, I can tally the total number of words I cut this year. Between this draft (-9,637w), June's novel (-17,056w), the novella I revised in May (-27,927w) and March (-24,600w), as well as February's (-25,203w), I've now cut a total of 104,423 words this year! Yikes!!

Although, since I'm scrapping this novel, one could easily consider the entire word count cut. 😬

Oh, and another great thing about completing this project is that I can update my Revision List for the last time:
  • April 2021: Full edit of Wall of Dolls
  • May 2021: Full revision of Destiny
  • June 2021: Full revision of Victoria
  • August 2021: Full revision of Possess
  • September 2021: Full revision of Monsters
  • February 2022: Full revision of Cosmic
  • March 2022: Full revision of Madness
  • May 2022: First edit of Possess
  • May 2022: Full revision of Summer
  • June 2022: Full revision of Neon
  • July 2022: Final edit of Possess
  • July/August 2022: Full revision of Stuck
  • September 2022: Second draft revision of Urban done before abandoning the novel.

Well, I might be finishing this Revision Quest on a bittersweet note, but I'm still super excited to have reached The End of a long task I set for myself last year. 😁🎉

All that's left to do is sorting my files. Then, I look forward to getting stuck into a bunch of new projects because the writing never ends.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy the next three days with hubby before he starts a new job. 

Have an awesome day!


Sunday, 11 September 2022

THE LENORMAND FORTUNE-TELLING CARDSby Harald Josten

 

The Lenormand Fortune-telling Cards: The Legendary 18th-Century OracleThe Lenormand Fortune-telling Cards: The Legendary 18th-Century Oracle by Harald Josten
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is another deck we picked up during pre-Covid sales in a bookstore. It's more Oracle deck than tarot, but I love the artwork. The writing on the actual cards isn't great. It's not a problem, but you know, it kinda pushes the focus of the illustrations to the bottom.

The guide book is cool, though.

I'm glad to have this in my collection. 😁

THE TAROT DECK by Marseilles Tarot Cards

 

Tarot DeckTarot Deck by Bounty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this tarot deck for quite a while and can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet. 👀

This deck isn't fancy, it's pretty much all the cards stuck inside a snug box that fits them perfectly. There's also no guide book, it's just a small sheet of paper with some very basic details, but it never bothered me because I have guide books in other decks.

My favourite thing about this deck is the simplicity. The artwork isn't outstanding, but it's still nice in its simplicity. Plus, it reminds me of playing cards, which I also collect. 😁

Unlike some of the other tarot cards in my collection, which are so beautiful I don't want to handle them, I appreciate this one because I enjoy using them.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

THE WILD UNKNOWN TAROT DECK by Kim Krans

 

The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook (Official Keepsake Box Set)The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook by Kim Krans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This happens to be a tarot deck that I forgot I had. 👀 I vaguely remember picking it up at a bookstore pre-Covid, but I'm not sure where. I think it might've been in the city, and it could've been on special... but I'm not sure.

Either way, I'm glad I have it because these cards are beautiful. I love these illustrations! They're lovely, and the guidebook is helpful enough. I also like the way the deck is packaged.

I love how many of these decks I'm adding to my collection (after temporarily forgetting I owned them). ☺️



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Friday, 9 September 2022

THE LITERARY WITCHES ORACLE by Taisia Kitaiskaia & Katy Horan

The Literary Witches Oracle: A 70-Card Deck and GuidebookThe Literary Witches Oracle: A 70-Card Deck and Guidebook by Taisia Kitaiskaia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another beautiful deck to add to my collection!

This one features 30 creative women from literary history, including Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Plath and Angela Carter. There are also symbol cards with lovely illustrations. Actually, every illustration is beautiful. And the guidebook is cool and helpful.

LOVE this witchy Oracle deck.

 

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Wednesday, 7 September 2022

WHEN THE GHOST DOG HOWLS by R.L. Stine

 

When The Ghost Dog Howls (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #13)When The Ghost Dog Howls by R.L. Stine
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Late last week, I set myself a small reading challenge: read the 10 Goosebumps HorrorLand books we found in one of our local thrift stores earlier this year.

Well, this is the last one. And I have to say it's one of my least favourite. Not because this is the start of the new HorrorLand arc, but because I just didn't like these kids. Especially Andy's cousin, Marnie. She was annoying as hell. Pretty much from the moment she appears trying to steal his popcorn. Ugh.

Anyway, the kids meet Jonathan Chiller, the shopkeeper who 'sells' a yellowed hound's tooth to Andy. It's supposed to belong to the Blue Kerlew Hound and can grant wishes.

As you can probably guess, many wishes are made and a lot of things go wrong for Andy. But nothing is shittier than what Marnie puts him through. I seriously couldn't stand that cousin of his. And because of her, I couldn't enjoy this story. 😐

ESCAPE FROM HORRORLAND by R.L. Stine

 

Escape From Horrorland (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #11)Escape From Horrorland by R.L. Stine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While the previous Goosebumps HorrorLand books were novels with a shortie at the end, this entire installment takes place in HorrorLand. Well, actually, that's not right. It takes place in Panic Park.

That's right, Lizzie and her brother, Luke, along with some of the other regulars find themselves in this very bleak, black and white world full of shadowy people. And while here, they have to find the other kids before trying to return to the place they were trying to escape: HorrorLand. 👀

I enjoyed this a lot more than the last few books because Lizzie is a cool narrator and the mystery of what's going on kept me interested. I mean, I want to know where this is going next. Except, it ended in a cliffhanger. 😳

The biggest pet peeve I had with this tale is that many of the obstacles the characters faced in previous stories happened here again, which was a bit repetitive.

Anyway, this was cool.


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HELP! WE HAVE STRANGE POWERS! by R.L. Stine

 

Help! We Have Strange Powers! (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #10)Help! We Have Strange Powers! by R.L. Stine
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Okay, so this book was SO meh, I had to skim a lot of it. The problem is that I didn't find Jillian and Jackson very interesting. Actually, their story was boring and quite ridiculous.

These two are twins who develop powers, are in constant turmoil with another set of twins, and then wind up catching the attention of a mad scientist. All things that really don't amount to much excitement. There was also nothing remotely scary or freaky about this book. Even the SF angle sucked.

Yeah, not a fan of this one.

But worst of all was the fact that this brother and sister hog most of the HorrorLand shortie, which made it almost unbearable. 😐


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Tuesday, 6 September 2022

SAY CHEESE—AND DIE SCREAMING by R.L. Stine

 

Say Cheese - And Die Screaming (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #8)Say Cheese - And Die Screaming by R.L. Stine
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This happens to be the eighth book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series and I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the others.

I read another Say Cheese and Die! story a few years back, which I really enjoyed. But the use of the camera in this one wasn't as exciting. I never warmed to Julie because she's as dull as everyone around her. The adults in this one were particularly frustrating.

Except for a few creepy scenes, it wasn't remotely scary. Or interesting, if I'm honest. But what's even worse is that I didn't like the HorrorLand shortie. 😣

Oh well, they can't all be excellent, can they? I do love the cover, though.

MY FRIENDS CALL ME MONSTER by R.L. Stine

 

My Friends Call Me Monster (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #7)My Friends Call Me Monster by R.L. Stine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know, when I started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it. I mean, it starts with three friends breaking into their teacher's house to dump a black cat, hoping to freak her out because she's superstitious.

BUT, the more I read, the better it got.

Michael and his two friends don't like their freaky teacher, Mrs Hardesty, because she likes monsters and keeps their classroom dark. Yet, they didn't expect to find a giant egg in her attic...

Yep, that's pretty much the gist of it. If you add a creepy mystery, eggs that should never be eaten, a seemingly friendly principal, and a bit of alien SF to the mix. Put all of these ingredients together, and it makes for a fun and gross story featuring a very interesting narrator.

I really liked Michael—the twelve-year-old with the nickname Monster because he's big and tall, plus has a bad temper. I didn't think I'd like him much, but he's great. And especially shines in the HorrorLand shortie featuring all the familiar faces and a new place called Panic Park. 😳
 

Monday, 5 September 2022

WHO'S YOUR MUMMY? by R.L. Stine

 

Who's Your Mummy? (Goosebumps HorrorLand #6)Who's Your Mummy? by R.L. Stine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm really enjoying this Goosebumps HorrorLand reading binge. Especially after finishing this AWESOME book.

Abby and her brother Peter go to stay with their Uncle Jonathan, who they don't know, because their grandmother needs to go to hospital for some tests. Their uncle is into Egyptian mythology and even has mummies, but the house is weird and soon they find themselves caught up in a very dangerous situation...

Wow. I really enjoyed this one! It was creepy, the tension kept building and building, until everything was revealed in the most wicked of ways. I loved the twists and turns. The secret plot they had no idea about until it was too late. The spooky isolated village. The house at the top of the hill. The violent bats. Did I mention the delicious secrets? I also thought that this was one of the creepiest Goosebumps I've read. In the best way possible.

Even the HorrorLand shortie was awesome!

This one is definitely one of my most favourite in this series. Ever. Loved it.

Sunday, 4 September 2022

DR. MANIAC VS. ROBBY SCHWARTZ by R.L. Stine

 

Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz (Goosebumps HorrorLand #5)Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz by R.L. Stine
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I know this is aimed at kids, but there's a reason why people don't like stories that end with 'and it was all a dream'.

Although this book didn't end on that note exactly, the same vibes are there, and it left me feeling hollow. And somewhat cheated. That's before considering how silly this storyline really is, or how much I dislike Robby because he even managed to bring down the HorrorLand shortie portion of this book. 😐

I'm not even a fan of the cover art. I'm afraid I didn't like much about this tale and even skimmed some bits without really missing a beat.



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THE SCREAM OF THE HAUNTED MASK by R.L. Stine

 

The Scream of the Haunted Mask (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #4)The Scream of the Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this happens to be the fourth book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series. It's also technically the third book about the dreaded Haunted Mask, but because I've found most of these books in thrift stores, I don't always read them in sequence.

As it turns out, I've actually read the second book but not the first. But that didn't stop me from reading this one. 😁

Carly Beth had a horrible experience with the ugly Haunted Mask one Halloween. It was so bad that she hid the mask in the basement, but now it's calling out to her again. With another Halloween just around the corner, she's not sure she can ignore the mask's evil call...

I really enjoyed this installment. Carly Beth and her best friend, Sabrina were such a dynamic duo. Their friendship is strong and real, so the two do everything together. And that includes a shared babysitting job after school at Tumbledown Farms, which ends up hiding a secret of its own.

This turned out to be another spooky and fun story that intrigued me until I reached The End. And kept me interested after, because the HorrorLand shortie was also great. I love how all these kids are interacting in that creepy and very dangerous place.

CREEP FROM THE DEEP by R.L. Stine

 

Creep from the Deep (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #2)Creep from the Deep by R.L. Stine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series and although the cover is super cool, it doesn't match the story. At all.

When siblings, Billy and Sheena spend the summer on their uncle's boat, they're looking forward to a sea adventure. Especially Billy, who likes to pretend a lot. But then their uncle, Dr. Deep, goes missing during an expedition...

Well, I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I found the story to be as meh as the characters. There was something about this story that bugged the hell out of me, which made no sense because I usually like pirates. So, zombie pirates should've been right up my alley.

Yet, I didn't feel this aquatic tale. I actually enjoyed the HorrorLand shortie a lot more. It was creepy, fun, and even included Britney and Molly from the first instalment!


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REVENGE OF THE LIVING DUMMY by R.L. Stine

 

Revenge of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #1)Revenge of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This happens to be the first Goosebumps HorrorLand book, but it's not actually the first I've read in this series.

Britney Crosby doesn't like her annoying cousin, so when Ethan arrives with a creepy ventriloquist dummy, she's not happy. When she starts to realise that the creepy dummy might be talking and moving on his own, it's up to her to take care of him...

What a fun book this turned out to be! Britney's story is spooky and tense, full of mischief that she tries to unravel. Only to find that her parents don't believe her, so her cousin gets away with being a jerk. I was as frustrated as she was, but I also had a blast reading this book.

Although Slappy is always a displeasure to run into, I loved the two friends. Britney and Molly made this book amazing. Their friendship is cool, and Molly's father's obsession (well, profession) made everything better for someone who adores stories about scary dolls.

Oh, and the HorrorLand shortie was also fun. It's always freaky when a new group of kids has the misfortune of getting a special invitation. 😬

Awesome book!


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Saturday, 3 September 2022

WAIT FOR NIGHT by Stephen Graham Jones

 

Wait for NightWait for Night by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the cover illustration for this story as much as the story. It's awesome, but also fits the narrative perfectly.

A laborer called Chessup works with a small crew hired to help clean up a flooded creek outside of Boulder. When their shift is over and his car battery dies, he tries to fix the problem. Instead, he winds up finding something that's been unearthed and learns a lot more about Burned Dan than he bargained for...

This is a fantastic story! I loved every second of it. As soon as Chessup's narration began, I was drawn into this creepy and weird tale and couldn't stop reading. I read it in one sitting and loved how everything turned out. I didn't expect things to go the way they did, but it was exciting to find out.

Awesome, riveting and a unique twist on a familiar trope.

Oh, and this little gem is available for free online: https://www.tor.com/2021/10/11/read-w...

I highly recommend you read it.

DISNEY VILLAINS TAROT DECK by Minerva Siegel & Ellie Goldwine

 

Disney Villains Tarot Deck and Guidebook | Movie Tarot Deck | Pop Culture TarotDisney Villains Tarot Deck and Guidebook | Movie Tarot Deck | Pop Culture Tarot by Minerva Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My husband surprised me with this beautiful, but wicked Tarot deck the other day. Actually, I didn't know it was coming until it arrived. It was such a lovely surprise. 😊

The cards are seriously beautiful and feature a bunch of Disney villains, including some of my favourites: Ursula, Maleficent, the evil Queen. Even the Guidebook is lovely. Not just because it features several spreads, but the artwork within these pages is amazing. It's so nice I felt bad holding/reading it. LOL.

This deck by Minerva Siegel is complemented with the illustrations by Ellie Goldwine, and I love it.

I'm very excited about adding this to my growing collection.



View all my reviews

Friday, 2 September 2022

YOURS CRUELLY, ELVIRA by Cassandra Peterson


The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story filled with intimate bombshells-told by the bombshell herself.

Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn't shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl's long strange trip to become the world's sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.


I've had my eye on this book for quite a while, so I want to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a beautiful hardback copy.

Wow. After reading the first sentence, I knew I was going to enjoy this incredible and very interesting ride because Cassandra's voice hooked me instantly. I love her storytelling style and how easily and naturally she introduced the concept of Elvira, before taking us back to her early childhood.

Cassandra's life is fascinating, so I'm glad she finally decided to pen this amazing book. She wasn't even out of her teens and she'd already crossed paths with Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix! 👀

It doesn't get cooler than that. Especially when you add becoming a Vegas Showgirl, meeting Elvis, and having the misfortune of crossing paths with Tom Jones to the mix. And that's without considering her long and adventurous career.

She's open and honest about everything she went through—the good and the bad—and certainly doesn't shy away from anything. No matter how funny or scary. But most of all, I found her to be genuine and down to earth. For someone who survived a life in the celebrity spotlight, she sure is cool, nice and reasonable.

Yep. All of this drips off every page of her memoir and I couldn't wait to get back to read more to find out what happened next. Or who she met before they were stars. Not to mention the established stars she encountered. As well as the many fascinating places she worked, the opportunities she found along the way, and the many relationships/friendships she made throughout.

There are several sad and/or low points in Cassandra's life that made me sad or angry, because the unfair treatment of women in any industry never fails to enrage me. But I love her tenacity and that no matter how hard things got, she managed to keep going. Pretty much refused to give up, and I admire the hell out of that.

Yours Cruelly, Elvira turned out to be even better than I imagined. Sometimes when you highly anticipate something it lets you down, but not this book. Cassandra is one amazing and super talented lady with a horror-loving heart that I enjoyed spending time with. 🖤

Actually, I enjoyed it so much that I read most of it out loud to my husband. It was a great way for both of us to experience this awesome book.

This is definitely a memoir worth reading!



Yours Cruelly, Elvira, June 2022, ISBN 9780306874352, Hachette Books

Sunday, 21 August 2022

THE ORACLE TAROT by Lucy Cavendish & Melinda Pearson

 

Oracle Tarot CardsOracle Tarot Cards by Lucy Cavendish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few weeks ago, we popped into a thrift store and my husband found this lovely Oracle Tarot deck because he knows I love collecting tarot cards.

I checked it out and was excited to find all the cards were still in the box, as well as the instruction booklet. Actually, I would go as far as to say they were close to new. So, we bought it.

Today, I decided to take a proper look and was very happy with the deck. It contains 62 cards that are beautifully illustrated by Melinda Pearson. The bright colours and unique artwork caught my eye as soon as I saw it.

The booklet written by Lucy Cavendish is cute and very helpful. I liked the different spreads and the description of each card.

Yeah, I'm definitely happy to add this deck to my growing collection. 😊



View all my reviews

Saturday, 20 August 2022

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK: Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell

 

Fortunately, The Milk...Fortunately, The Milk... by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My husband found this charming little book in a thrift store a few weeks ago, and after binging The Sandman series on Netflix, I was definitely craving some Gaiman. So, I picked this up this morning and read it in a few sittings.

When Mum's away, the kids depend on Dad. He seems to have everything under control, too. Until they realise they're out of milk and can't have cereal for breakfast. So, Dad goes to get some but is gone for ages, and when he gets back he's got a fantastical reason...

I loved this! It's funny and the story unfolds in such an easy and clever way.

The Chris Riddell illustrations enhance this very quirky and fun tale about one father's quest to buy milk and get back home. While squeezing in an alien abduction, a very interesting inventor, pirates, a wrathful god, vampires, dinosaurs, a lot of time travel, and piranhas.

Yeah, this book is packed full of awesome stuff.

Plus, I loved that ending!

Neil Gaiman writes some very engaging stories, and never lets genre restraints get in his way.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

SAGA, Issue #60: Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #60Saga #60 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the last issue for this season/volume. It starts out with an unexpected surprise, takes us to a nice and comfy place where Hazel's small family is finally having a stroke of luck. But after a nice night out, everything goes wrong.

The artwork in this series is amazing. The last page is so beautiful, yet so terrible. Also, quite heartbreaking. 😫

Looking forward to finding out what happens next.


Friday, 5 August 2022

July/August Revision Update!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!


Friday, 22 July 2022

Revision Continues...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one!


Thursday, 14 July 2022

Back to Revising!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!


Wednesday, 6 July 2022

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB by Christopher Pike

 

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

THE CREEK by Rayne King

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View all my reviews

Monday, 4 July 2022

SHE CAME FROM THE SWAMP by Darva Green

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 3 July 2022

HARDCORE KELLI by Wrath James White

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View all my reviews

Thursday, 30 June 2022

June Revision Update!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have an awesome day!

 

Friday, 24 June 2022

More Revision...

Hey! How are you today? 

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

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

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

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

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

I ended up cutting SO MANY words!

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

LMAO.

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

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

Have an awesome weekend, guys! 😁

Friday, 17 June 2022

It's That Time Again!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Have a good one!


Friday, 10 June 2022

SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED is now available!

 

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


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

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

Featuring new, unreleased work from:

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

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

Edited by Jennifer Bernardini


Now available on:





THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Sarah Jane Huntington

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, plus that title rocks.

Loved this!

Thursday, 9 June 2022

BELOW by Laurel Hightower

 

BelowBelow by Laurel Hightower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

Yikes! What a dark ride!

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

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

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

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

Awesome story!

 
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