_____________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, 20 May 2022

The Revision Continues...

 

Hey! How are you today? After so much shitty rain, it was nice to enjoy a streak of sunny days.

But guess what? The rain just couldn't stay away and returned today. 😕

Anyway, this week I got stuck into the third draft of my latest Revision Project because this story has been eating my brain since I finished the second draft.

As you might remember, I wasn't entirely happy with how the story turned out because there was something missing. So, as soon as I started the next draft, I cut paragraphs, chapters, an entire POV character, and moved things around. A lot of things. I also added a bunch of new stuff to strengthen the plot. Of course, that also means that this novel has now become yet another novella. 

Yep. This seems to be a running theme this year. But if it makes the story better, I'm happy.

Here's how this week turned out:
  • Monday: 21/117pgs (38,857w)
  • Tuesday: 35/113pgs (37,545w)
  • Wednesday: 58/96pgs (31,992w)
  • Thursday: 76/92pgs (29,758w)
  • Friday: 93pgs / 30,097w
As you can see, it took me all week to complete the third draft but I'm not surprised because this turned out to be a complete rewrite. Seriously, I ended up replacing and changing SO MUCH! The bare bones of plot and character is still the same, but it's very different now. Much better!

Phew.

I feel like this is how I originally envisioned this story. Man, that first draft was quite a mess, but it's always exciting to turn a story around.

Anyway, the third draft is (finally) done! Yay. 😊

Now I'll put it aside until Monday and read the whole thing all over again on my Paperwhite. Can't wait to see how all the changes fit together.

Asides from working on this, I finally got the chance to catch up on some washing. And that's about it, because even when I wasn't on my laptop working away, I spent ages thinking about and taking notes for this story.

Like I said, it was eating my brain. 😳

I need a few days off so I'm looking forward to the weekend. We actually have the Federal Election tomorrow and I'm hoping Australians do the right thing and vote these crooks out.

See ya!


Thursday, 12 May 2022

It's Time to Revise!

That's right! After completing an edit last week, this week I got stuck into another Revision Project. 😁

So, how are you? It's been a while since I blogged because hubby had annual leave in April and I took a small writing break. We had a great time together, but now it's time to get back to business. 

Here's my progress:
  • Monday: 64/153pgs (56,333w)
  • Wednesday: 117/145pgs (51,639w)
  • Thursday: 136pgs / 48,049w
I'm actually (really) glad I reached the end of this one, because I felt like putting it aside several times... 😟

I wrote the original draft of this story back in 2019, so it's another one of those projects that I've had lying around for too long. And that means I was able to look at everything objectively, which is why I spotted what didn't work pretty early on. Even though I decided to cut one of the three POVs, I read and revised the whole thing. 

On the one hand, this certain POV provided some cool insight into a particular character. But mostly, it ruined the mystery/intrigue/horror and softened the creepier parts of the story. So, it had to go, but I waited until I was done.

Working on this draft reminds me of my March revision. Like that one, I continually found myself wondering if this story was going to work at all. Although I like the main darkness and the sheer weirdness of this small town, there seemed to be something missing. And after catching up with everything, I know what that is.

I'll now spend a few days pondering how to fix all the things I didn't like during the third draft. And I'm actually looking forward to it. 😁

Well, that's it for now. 

Have a great week!!


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

MY EVIL MOTHER by Margaret Atwood

 

My Evil Mother: A Short StoryMy Evil Mother: A Short Story by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I grabbed this short story the other day, decided to check it out tonight, and read it in one sitting.

The story is set in Toronto during the 1950s and is narrated by a girl with a single mother, who was anything but conventional. Actually, her mother insisted she was a witch and that the girl's father was a garden gnome. But as she remembers her life with and without her mother, some of the truths slowly reveal themselves.

What I especially loved about this wonderful mother-daughter tale was how whimsical it was. Her mother wanted desperately to protect and teach her how to survive in a gossipy world in hopes of making her life easier by filling the days with magical terms, characters and situations. Yet, as the story wrapped up and everything slotted into its comfortable place in reality, I still couldn't help but wonder... ✨


View all my reviews

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

THE SURVIVORS by T.C. Weber

 

In a calamitous future, runaway climate change has made the planet nearly uninhabitable. Civilization has collapsed, and every day is a struggle. Lucy, a young mother of two, dreams of a better life by bringing back vanished knowledge. But the rest of her group, headed by her brutal aunt Irma, is focused only on day-to-day survival—at any price. When a deadly hurricane destroys their home, Lucy’s group is forced on the road, where they must cope with hunger, searing temperatures, and vicious rivals. And their nightmare is just beginning.


The author of this novella reached out to me a few weeks ago and because the blurb sounded interesting, I decided to give it a go.

Climate change has decimated the planet. Every single day is a struggle for the new generation of humans. Lucy is a mother of two living with a small group of fellow survivors. After a really bad storm destroys their tower, the group is forced to move to find another home, which turns out to be a lot harder than expected...

Yikes! This is not a happy story. It's bleak, unsettling, and totally brutal. The people living in this apocalyptic world constantly struggle against an erratic climate and other territorial groups determined to keep strangers out. Even those within their own group are often a threat. Scavenging and hunting are the only way they can eat, which isn't easy while trying to avoid other people.

Having young kids, a baby and a pregnant woman in their group makes things harder, but Lucy is determined to keep her children safe.

I liked Lucy because she desperately wanted to do the right thing, even if she was scared about speaking up and going against the others who were a lot stronger/wilder than her. She also wasn't as vile as Irma, or as deluded as Angelica. But I did get frustrated by her constant silence. She wanted a real future for her kids, dreamed about a better place to exist without all the fighting and death, but survival meant she had to keep her mouth shut. 

Still, I enjoyed her unpredictable tale of survival during such a dark time, and really liked that ending!

The Survivors is an ultra violent story about people living during the aftermath of what the Vanished Ones (you know, the humans who could've made a difference but chose greed and laziness) left behind. It's not pretty. It's raw and full of characters who are willing to do whatever it takes to survive. 🤢



Trigger warnings: 
This book contains scenes with violence and gore, and may not be suitable for all readers.



SURVIVORS IS NOW AVAILABLE: 


Sunday, 8 May 2022

THE RED ROOM by H.G. Wells

 

The Red RoomThe Red Room by H.G. Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved The Time Machine, so checking out a horror story by HG Wells sounded like a cool idea.

A skeptic man, in the company of three peculiar old people, has come to a creepy castle to investigate the Red Room. A place where some awful things have happened...

Well, this turned out to be a psychological tale full of imagery that might be there, but might not. I liked how the nameless narrator is so determined to prove everyone wrong and then finds himself in a peculiar situation he can't explain. Because what lurks inside our minds can be so much darker and scarier than what is actually there.

Watching as he loses himself in the frenzy of keeping the candles lit was quite an unnerving display. And the ending pretty much confirms the truth about this 'haunted room'.

This is a psychological gothic horror story with an undercurrent of dread strong enough to make one wonder if it was all in fact in his head. Or was it so much more?

I enjoyed this.

Friday, 6 May 2022

HARLEY QUINN: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki & Steve Pugh

 

Harley Quinn: Breaking GlassHarley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When we go for long suburban walks, not only do we stumble on a bunch of Street Libraries along the way, but also randomly find boxes full of books and/or movies outside people's houses.

This graphic novel happens to be one of them.

Harleen is on her way to stay with her grandmother in Gotham City, but when she gets there, she finds out she's passed away. Her apartment now belongs to Mama, a lovely drag queen who runs some pretty awesome drag shows. Here, she makes a family, starts going to school and even makes a friend. Ivy introduces her to the unfairness of the city, and when Mama is kicked out of her home, Harleen is determined to help...

I REALLY enjoyed this! I honestly didn't know whether I would, but it turned out to be an excellent modern take on the DC universe that deals with some very familiar current issues, while still including some well-known DC staples. I mean, I didn't expect the guy in the shadows to turn up.

It's all presented in a very cool way, where the characters and city are very much diverse.

My favourite thing about this book, asides from the absolutely fantastic artwork, was Harleen. I love how hard she tries to help others, and how her desire to do the right thing always gets her in trouble because she wants a quick outcome without really weighing out the options. She's also funny, quirky, creative, and doesn't care what others think of her attitude.

Yeah, this graphic novel has a LOT of heart, plenty of great characters, and a great message.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 5 May 2022

SAGA, Issue #58 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #58Saga #58 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this issue!

So many small and interesting things happen, and all of them are going to lead to a VERY bad place. And OMFG, that last page was so: 😳

Noooooooo!!

Can't wait to see what happens next...

Friday, 29 April 2022

BLOOD SUGAR by Sascha Rothchild

She's accused of four murders. She's only guilty of three...

When Ruby was a child growing up in Miami, she saw a boy from her school struggling against the ocean waves while his parents were preoccupied. Instead of helping him, Ruby dove under the water and held his ankle down until he drowned. She waited to feel guilty for it, but she never did.

And, as Ruby will argue in her senior thesis while studying psychology at Yale, guilt is sort of like eating ice cream while on a diet - if you're already feeling bad, why not eat the whole carton? And so, the bodies start to stack up.

Twenty-five years later, Ruby's in an interrogation room under suspicion of murder, being shown four photographs. Each is a person she once knew, now deceased. The line-up includes her husband Jason. She is responsible for three of the four deaths... but it might be the crime that she didn't commit that will finally ensnare her.   


This is a book that caught my eye as soon as I read the blurb. And it did NOT disappoint.

Ruby is a therapist in Miami Beach, but is now sitting inside an interrogation room with a detective and four photographs. She's been accused of killing her husband, Paul. And although Ruby is no stranger to murder, this is one she didn't actually commit... 

Wow. Just wow. This was such a brilliant story! 

When I started reading this, I found the first chapter quite shocking and a little disorienting. I mean, why would a kid do that? BUT, after reading the next chapter and the one after that, it soon became very apparent why that happened. It was still shocking, but now I HAD to find out more about Ruby's life and why she found herself inside a police station at the age of thirty.

The writing style is addictive. The way everything unfolds while she sits inside the stuffy (and freezing) room as each photo sends her mind back to the past, was very well executed. Every single flashback Ruby remembers and shares with the reader is important in some way. No detail is too small to fit seamlessly into the heart of this gritty account by a woman trying to survive in her own way, and by her own rules.

Ruby is one of those murky characters who on the surface appears to be somewhat unhinged, even psychotic. Yet, the more I got to know her, the more I realised how intelligent she really was and how she was able to justify everything about herself and everyone around her.

The way she narrates her truth is so commanding, that I couldn't look away. Even when I knew something really awful was waiting ahead, I pushed on because nothing mattered more than delving deeper into this woman's complicated life. 

Also, I really liked Mr. Cat and Kangaroo. The fact she loved animals was something I didn't expect but truly appreciated. As well as the portrayal of sisterly and platonic love.

Blood Sugar is a riveting and disturbing book because it doesn't shy away from the raw reality of life, people, and their personal motivations. Good or bad, everything is seen under the garish light of reality without its many daily filters. Plus, it does a great job at exposing the innermost unfiltered thoughts that race through everyone's minds more often than they would care to admit. Every single moment of this story is fascinating, and even though Ruby did commit some awful things, I often found myself really liking her. This woman believed in her convictions and actually did what she thought was right. 

I enjoyed the hell out of this deeply psychological study into the human psyche. 

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

 
Blood Sugar, April 2022, ISBN 9781398705616, Trapeze

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

ANATOMY: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

 

Edinburgh, 1817.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who's just trying to survive in a city where it's too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist's Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham's lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books - she'll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she's made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares - until Hazel. 

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society. 


Firstly, this cover is absolutely beautiful. It's such a simple piece of art that captures the heart of the plot. So, thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

Hazel Sinnett isn't as interested in getting married as she is in becoming a surgeon. But it's 1817 and ladies are expected to behave a certain way, while being excluded from many things. Jack Currer is a resurrection man and stagehand, just another person trying to survive in Edinburgh's Old Town. When the two meet, they realise they might be able to help each other in a lot of ways...

Well, that was amazing! A seriously awesome book that I found hard to put down.

I got sucked into this gloomy tale as soon as I started reading. The city of Edinburgh at the beginning of the 19th century is a cesspool of filth, entertainment, and scientific breakthroughs. It's a place that isn't pretty, even for the wealthy because there's a plague sweeping through the city.

This most fascinating story captured all of that misery and desperation in such a vivid way that I felt like I was temporarily transported there.

Actually, all of the imagery is described in the same detailed way. Starting from the grave digging, all the way to the many surgical procedures handled in the interesting narrative, as well as the social expectations, and the anatomy Hazel is so obsessed with.

Hazel is the main narrator, but we also catch a glimpse of Jack's POV. I really liked both Hazel and Jack. Hazel is such a strong-willed young woman with an interest others consider morbid and reserved only for the male species. And she does everything she can in order to learn the trade, even if it's bound to backfire because the odds are against her. Jack is just as strong. He works two hard, physical jobs to stay afloat in the decaying city he calls home. Their time together was captivating. Their connection serves as the backbone to the events that help uncover the horrible mystery they find themselves in the middle of when Hazel starts helping the poor.

Anatomy: A Love Story turned out to be a very dark and entertaining novel peppered with the frustration of how women were treated/disrespected through history, even when they had ambitions to be more than wife and mother, but still weren't considered important family members. There's a serious Frankenstein vibe throughout that I found intriguing, and a sense of wonder that spills from every page. Plus, I'm always a sucker for strange happenings in the middle of the night inside a cemetery. Especially in such a bleak setting, during an awful and unsteady time.

It's also a heartwarming love story between two young people who should never have even crossed paths, let alone found each other.

I absolutely loved this! ❤️


Anatomy: A Love Story, January 2022, ISBN 9780349433356, Piatkus

Friday, 22 April 2022

SAGA, Issue #56 & 57 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #56Saga #56 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although we 're introduced to a bunch of new characters and return to others, this kinda felt like a filler issue. I also did NOT like that shitty ending.

That pirate spaceship is super fucking cool, though. And the art in this series is still amazing, unique and so damn creative.

 
 


Saga #57Saga #57 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ah! That's more like it!

This issue takes us back and reveals a very important thing that Alana did, which will directly impact her interaction with these pirates. She accepts a job, has to leave the kids for a while, and in the meantime, the Will (aka, the asshole) has some shitty plans that are going to cause some serious problems for Alana and Hazel.

Wish there was more Lying Cat, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit!

Thursday, 21 April 2022

SAGA, Issue #55 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #55Saga #55 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saga is one of my favourite comic book series, and after the heartbreaking Issue 54, I was devastated. 😭

And now: it's back!

Three years have passed and things are still pretty shitty in this world. But Hazel is a bit older, and a lot snarkier. She's also quite brazen, rebellious and cheeky. Yeah, she's definitely inherited a thing or two from her parents.

After the awful tragedy they suffered, Alana is trying to keep their small family going, and has resorted to some unsavoury ways of doing so...

The gang is back with quite a few new faces, and I'm hooked. The artwork is still awesome. The story is still outrageous, and doesn't shy away from violence, sex and the totally unexpected.

Looking forward to reading more!

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

GWENDY'S MAGIC FEATHER by Richard Chizmar

 

Gwendy's Magic Feather (The Button Box, #2)Gwendy's Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just realised that I read the first Gwendy book in 2017. Yikes! 😳 I can't believe it's been that long, but between the many books I have all over the place and my own writing, I always manage to forget I have heaps that I really want to read. 😣

Gwendy is all grown up and is a Congresswoman in DC. She's trying to change the world, and the last thing she expects is to come across the button box again. Especially since she's heading back to Castle Rock for the Christmas holidays...

This book hooked me in as soon as I started reading. I wanted to follow Gwendy on her new adventure and ended up reading the first 55 pages yesterday in one sitting, then read the rest today because I couldn't stop.

After finding out Stephen King didn't actually write this, I wasn't sure what to expect. But it didn't matter because Richard Chizmar is a great writer, and this turned out to be a fascinating installment. Not just because of the temptation Gwendy faces when the box mysteriously reappears, but because there's an awful mystery in Castle Rock that she gets caught up in. And Gwendy's parents provided another layer of unexpected emotion.

Plus, I really enjoyed reading about the twists and turns Gwendy's life takes right until the very end. I loved that ending!

The illustrations were lovely, too.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

YOU LOVE ME by Caroline Kepnes

 

You Love MeYou Love Me by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying that Joe Goldberg is a delusional piece of crap, who casually blames the women he gets with (and anyone who orbits them) for his shitty luck. Like, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a fucking psycho who's attracted to unavailable women. 😐

The problem is, that I can't stop reading his books. Even though I hate him from start to finish. Even though I'm totally judging him all the way through. And, even though I cringe at pretty much every arrogant thought that enters his mind—and there are MANY.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's talk about the latest installment in this series.

This time, Joe ends up on an island in the Pacific Northwest, working as a volunteer because he's found his next target. Mary Kay is a librarian, his boss, and the new woman to obsess over. She's efficient, kind, and gets Joe hot under his cashmere sweaters. But the harder he tries to hook her in, the less he seems to achieve. So it doesn't take him long to resort to stalking. Ugh.

Yep. Joe once again convinces himself that this new woman is the one for him. And to make sure that happens, he slips back into his manipulative and stalkerish ways. While excusing every bad deed because after all, he's just a nice guy who is searching for love and wants to rescue the bored mother.

Mary Kay doesn't know what she's getting herself into by catching his attention, and then by offering friendship. With a few other perks. But she's no angel and her friends and family aren't perfect, either.

Something that I really like about these books is that although Joe is a shit person, he always manages to expose just how shitty other people are too. There are some really despicable characters in this book. Some actually rival Joe, because sociopaths are sure to attract others just like them.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: don't get involved with Joe, because he destroys everything and everyone he crosses paths with. Then lands on his feet.

Another awesome installment!

Thursday, 31 March 2022

THE GHOST THAT ATE US by Daniel Kraus

You remember the brutal crime, don’t you? Maybe you read about it on Twitter.

Maybe a friend sent you a news clip. Maybe you saw it on an episode of Spectral Journeys that night you were flipping through channels, unable to sleep. 

Maybe after reading the true story, you won’t ever sleep again.

On June 1, 2017, six people were killed at a Burger City franchise off I-80 near Jonny, Iowa. It was the bizarre and gruesome conclusion to nine months of alleged paranormal activity at the fast-food joint—events popularly known as “the Burger City Poltergeist.”

The story inspired Facebook memes, Twitter hashtags, Buzzfeed listicles, Saturday Night Live sketches, and more. But the case was never much more than a punchline…until bestselling writer Daniel Kraus (The Shape of Water, The Living Dead) decided to head to Iowa to dig up what really happened.

Presented here is the definitive story of “the most exhaustively documented haunting in history,” including—for the first time ever—interviews with every living survivor of the tragedy.

The employees of Burger City were a family. They loved one another. At least, at the beginning.

But love can make you do unspeakable things.


With such a bright cover and an intriguing premise, of course I was interested in reading this book, so I want to thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy.

I actually got stuck into this a few weeks ago and reached the halfway point before I was derailed by other writerly things. So, it was nice to get back to it.

Although everything that's laid out about the Burger City Poltergeist, what happened before and on that fateful night of June 1, 2017 appears to be based on real events, this is actually a fictional story that puts the author in the middle of a very freaky investigation...

Well, that was a bizarre little tale of unexpected darkness.

The thing I found really intriguing about this book, is how Daniel Kraus fills your head with what (at the time) appears to be too much information. There seems to be a lot of irrelevant details packed into each page, before getting back into the meaty parts. But in fact, you need to pay close attention to every single piece of information.

Also, as detailed as the interviews were, there was so much more going on when he was setting up the scene than when the people were speaking to him. So clever!

This is definitely one of those stories that sets out the situation, places all the key players on the board, vividly describes the location, and for a long while, they're all nothing more than small pieces of a much bigger puzzle that don't seem to fit together.

Then, when you least expect it, everything and everyone's role clicks into place.

I won't say more about this creepy tale set in a unique location where we don't usually expect hauntings to take place, but it was very entertaining.

There's a lot to like about this story that is so well written you often forget none of this actually happened. But that last section was my favourite. I loved every second of it, and the ending was perfect. I didn't see that coming, but it was wickedly cool.





Wednesday, 30 March 2022

March Revision Update!

 

Hey! How are you today? I hope you're all doing well.

I've been busy finalising my latest Revision Project, while trying to ignore the shitty weather, the Covid numbers, and that daylight savings ends this weekend.

Anyway, here's how this week turned out:
  • Monday: 49/84pgs (28,224w)
  • Tuesday: 84/84pgs (28,177w)
  • Wednesday: 84pgs / 28,131w
Madness is finally done. Yay! 😊🎉

I'm really excited about finishing this story because during the second draft, I seriously considered putting it aside. Several times. The only reason I didn't is because I'm stubborn and pushed until the end. After that, thinking about the story for several days is what saved this dark fairy tale. 

Who says writing is only done while sitting behind a desktop/laptop? Some of my best ideas and plot epiphanies have come while thinking. During a walk. While falling asleep. While sitting on the couch watching Judge Judy/Judy Justice. 😁

I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2018 and the word count ended up being: 52,731w. That means I cut 24,600 words.

Yikes! That also means that between this revision and the one I completed last month, I pretty much cut a whole novel worth of words so far this year. 😬

Another cool thing is that completing this project means I can update my Revision List:
  • 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 if Madness

Well, that list is looking really good because I only have three old drafts left to revise, and last year's NaNoWriMo story. 

Okay. Now that this is finally done, and I'm really happy with how it turned out, I'm going to try and get stuck into some reading. I haven't read a book in almost THREE WEEKS! 😳

I'm also going to enjoy a mental break because I need it. LOL.

Have a great week!



Thursday, 24 March 2022

The Revision Continues...

Hi! How's this week treating everyone? Staying busy? Taking a break? Doing a bit of both?

We started the week with flu shots. Yep, it's that time of the year again. And since people are out and about now, pretending Covid case numbers aren't going up every single day, it looks like we're also heading into a nasty flu season. Best to be protected, I reckon.

Though, I have to admit that between the first, second and booster doses, I'm starting to feel like a bit of a human pin cushion. 😅

Anyway, I got stuck into revision this week, so I've been MIA from just about everything. But Animal Crossing. I always make room for my villagers and island. Have I mentioned the name of my island is Grimoire? 

Here's my revision progress: 
  • Monday: 23/66pgs (23,809w)
  • Tuesday: 52/73pgs (25,464w)
  • Wednesday: 82/82pgs (27,395w)
  • Thursday: 84 pages / 28,275w

As you can see, the third draft is done. Yay. Awesome. Cool.

You might also have noticed that the word and page counts are very different to last week. I did mention that I was thinking about cutting a whole POV from the story, and I did!

After finishing the second draft last week, I was supposed to be taking a couple of days off between drafts, but I actually spent most of my time thinking about the best way to fix this story. It took a lot of thinking, so I didn't do any reading at all. Instead, I took a lot of notes and figured out the best way to tackle the changes.

In the end, I came up with a solution that put the spark back into this WIP. Gave it a new lease of life that involved keeping the dark fairy tale side of the POV, and adding several new ideas that really work.

Now that the draft is done, I'm really happy with how it turned out. I've already added the document to my Paperwhite so I can read it one last time. Next week. And I'm actually looking forward to it, which is great because when I first picked this up again last Monday, I was seriously thinking about putting it aside. Glad I didn't give up on this peculiar tale of madness and tragedy.

As I said above, my head's been SO FULL of this story ALL WEEK, so it will be nice to get a three-day mental break. And two of those will be with hubby, so that's doubly awesome.

Have a nice day!


Wednesday, 16 March 2022

A New Revision Project Begins...

 

Hey! How are you? Staying busy? I've been feeling a little wonky this week, which is something that happens to me every time the season changes. I can't handle the hot and cold at different times of the day. Although we didn't have the best summer, I'm not looking forward to winter. It's my least favourite season. Ugh.

Anyway, after a three-week (sorta) break, it was time to get stuck into my next Revision Project. This time it's a dark fairy tale about loneliness, being misunderstood and madness. 

Here's how it went:
  • Monday: 42/135pgs (51,854w)
  • Tuesday: 94/129pgs (48,122w)
  • Wednesday: 126pgs / 46,225w

As you can see, I finished the second draft today. Yay. 

This is a story that I wrote in November 2018, during NaNoWriMo. At the time, I was really excited about how the dual POVs complemented each other and seemed to reveal the very dark truth simultaneously. But after being away from the story for several years, I've realised that what I thought was a great concept is actually the reason why the story isn't going to work. 😬

As soon as I got started, I realised something was missing and I'm pretty sure it's the fact that these dual POVs feel like two very different stories that simply don't fit together. Actually, the more I revised, the more one of those POVs lagged behind. I think that the only way to fix this story is to cut half of the narrative out and concentrate on the voice/narration that really works. Because one of the POVs really worked, while the other kept throwing me off.

So, I guess that's what I'll be doing next week when I work on the third draft. Also, it looks like this novel will end up being a novella. Just like last month's revision.

I always like to leave a bit of time between novel/novella drafts, but putting them aside for too long has its own strange consequences. On one hand, it helps me look at the story objectively and I can spot what doesn't work and why. On the other hand, too much distance means the initial spark of creativity is gone and I end up being extra judgy. 

Actually, I think both of those consequences are good things.

I'm going to put this aside until next Monday. Looks like I have some thinking to do. Nah, I'm pretty sure which direction I'll be taking...

Have a great week! 😊

Sunday, 13 March 2022

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS Tarot Deck & Guidebook by Minerva Siegel & Abigail Larsen

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck and GuidebookThe Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck and Guidebook by Minerva Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love The Nightmare Before Christmas and I love tarot cards, so this is definitely something that I've wanted to add to my collection for a while. And last year, my daughter gave me this lovely deck for Christmas. 😍

Everything about this deck is beautiful. Starting with the very sturdy pretty box, the guide book, and the actual cards.

The guide book is full of explanations to help you read the cards, accompanied by colourful illustrations of familiar characters and objects all fans of this movie will recognise. There are even spread suggestions, and throughout the whole thing, the dark beauty of The Nightmare Before Christmas is right there. And the cards? Well, they're simply stunning. Abigail Larsen is an amazing artist and is perfectly suited to this deck. She captured the source material perfectly.

I absolutely LOVE everything about this. I just don't know if I can bring myself to handle these pretty cards very often.



View all my reviews

Friday, 11 March 2022

Took a Break & Ended Up Doing Stuff

 

Hey! How are you today? What have you been up to? It's Friday, so I'm looking forward to this afternoon so we can start the weekend. 😍

As you probably already know, I always like to take a few weeks off between writing projects. But this time, I did things a bit differently. I took three weeks off and although I did take a reading break, I also wrote and revised two short stories.

One of them is just under 4k, and the other just under 1.5k. Both were dark ideas that I couldn't shake and demanded to be written. One I started writing last month (600w) and finished last week, the other I wrote on my phone last weekend. I had a blast working on these two short tales. I love chipping away at the first draft during revision until they're even stronger/better than my initial idea. And since they were both for specific sub calls, I went with the flow and sent them in. They're longshots, but you gotta be in it and all that, right? Wish me luck.🤞

Anyway, these are the books I read:

(ETA: there's a book missing from this graphic because I read it after posting this.)

You can find my reviews below, or check them out on my Goodreads Reading Challenge page. These were all great in their own way, and although I still have HEAPS of books I want to read, and these don't even make a dent in my multiple TBR piles, I'm happy I read them. Also that there's a nice mix of Kindle and paperback versions.

So, what else have I been up to? Well, I spent a lot of time wishing for the sun to make a comeback. We've had a couple of nice days this week, but for almost two weeks all we had was rain and horrid downpours. It got so bad NSW suffered some pretty bad floods. The weather has been terrible, and winter hasn't even started yet. Not that we had much of a summer this time around. 😫

At this stage, I can't believe anyone has the audacity to pretend climate change isn't affecting us already. And don't even get me started on how the Covid case numbers are going up again since the 'government' decided to remove check-ins, number restrictions, and masks indoors in crowded places. Not to mention all the other terrible things going on in this world. Clueless/selfish people really need to stop voting for fascists. Ugh.

I enjoyed this nice and very productive break, so I'd like to get stuck into my next revision project next week. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Have an awesome weekend! ☺️


THE SMALL HAND by Susan Hill

 

The Small HandThe Small Hand by Susan Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We used to go on thrift-store adventures a lot, but then Covid hit and we don't do that anymore, but I've still got a bunch of unread books from those hauls in multiple piles, and this is one of them.

I wasn't planning to read anything today because I wanted to sort through these books, but once I started this one I couldn't stop. 😬

Adam Snow is an antiquarian bookseller who is going home after visiting a client, when he takes a wrong turn along a country road. That's how he stumbles on a derelict house with an overgrown garden. There's something about this place that he can't shake, and it's not just the feel of a ghostly hand taking his...

Wow. I actually read this book in two sittings because I couldn't put it down. I love a good ghost story, and this one totally hooked me in as soon as I started.

The creepy atmosphere spills into this story from the very beginning. The vivid descriptions of the garden Adam stumbles into really gives this story a strong sense of location. Actually, every place he visits is so well described that you can't help but be dragged into the middle of things.

Adam's voice is also very strong and so interesting. I loved his job and how searching for these old, rare books takes him all over the world. I mean, he even ends up in the mountains of France, where he visits a monastery full of silent monks and suffers through some pretty scary incidents.

The tension is thick and the more Adam suffers from panic attacks, gets lost in nightmares and even encounters ghosts, the spookier everything gets. Until the connection is revealed, and everything makes total sense.

This is a slow burn gothic tale that consumed me so deeply, I couldn't stop following Adam on his dark and confusing adventure. Also, it's so well written. Loved the writing style.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

BENNY ROSE, THE CANNIBAL KING by Hailey Piper

 

Benny Rose, the Cannibal KingBenny Rose, the Cannibal King by Hailey Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've got a bunch of Rewind or Die novellas on my Paperwhite that I've been meaning to read for a while, so I thought I'd start with a Hailey Piper story.

Desiree lives in Blackwood, a boring town with a big legend. Benny Rose, the Cannibal King is a mysterious figure responsible for killing and eating children, as well as every other scary story they can attach to him. But during Halloween 1987, while trying to prank the new girl, Desiree and her friends are about to find themselves the targets of this horrific killer...

Well, that was quite the gorefest. And I say that in the best way possible because the carnage in this little horror gem just keeps coming.

This creepy tale really nails the 1980s teenage vibes, as well as tapping into what made all those VHS movies so much fun during movie nights with friends. The characters are introduced in a way that hooked me into their lives instantly. The Halloween situation plays out as expected... Well, until it doesn't, because there's nothing predictable about what these friends go through. 👀

I also enjoyed the underlying social commentary about what people are willing to do to stop change. It's sad, but true, and very entertaining in this novella.

Oh, and the last chapter is absolutely brutal. And inspiring, in a macabre kinda way. Teenage girls are some of the strongest and most loyal people, though they rarely get credit for it. So it was awesome to see these girls taking the lead against a horrible monster.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

BOTTLED by Stephanie Ellis

 

BottledBottled by Stephanie Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading an awesome and intense long book, I was in the mood for something shorter. While looking through my Paperwhite, this novella caught my eye because it sounded so different, and strange.

Tyler isn't in a good place right now. He's divorced, rarely sees his son, and is living with his pushy mother. That could all change if he abides by a stipulation in his grandfather's will. The only problem is that the house he has to return to left deep emotional and mental scars that still haunt him...

Yikes! What a bleak and disturbing tale this turned out to be. 👀

I wasn't sure what to expect from this novella, but the cover looked intriguing and the description caught my interest. And as soon as I started reading, I found myself captivated by what was going on. I love stories about creepy houses and family secrets, and this story is full of both.

I instantly felt bad for Tyler because, even though he clearly had problems, it was obvious that most of the people in his life were constantly trying to manipulate him. His mother wasn't very subtle about her quest for the money she felt she deserved, and his ex was just as annoying. Not to mention how his grandfather was still able to control him from beyond the grave.

Reading this novella was like being trapped inside a fever dream. Not because it was hard to keep up with what was happening, but because everything that poor Tyler experiences is so trippy, and shrouded behind a layer of madness. He goes through some scary, haunting stuff. And the fact he enjoyed drinking didn't help matters.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Bottled because it was an addictive, nightmarish story I totally lost myself in. Some of the imagery is amazingly dark, and so damn chilling.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

DEAD TO HER by Sarah Pinborough

 

Dead to HerDead to Her by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always love reading a Sarah Pinborough book because she never disappoints. Her stories hook me in from the very beginning, and this was no different.

Marcie is married to Jason Maddox and is part of Savannah's high-society, but has several secrets stashed away. Keisha is William Radford IV's new young bride, living in the shadow of his dead wife, trying to live this unfamiliar life for the sake of survival and escape. But when one woman suspects the other of malicious intent and they strike up an uneasy friendship, it can only lead to trouble...

Wow. Fantastic.

Like I said above, this author sure knows how to drag me headfirst into a story. Even though these rich, arrogant and mostly clueless rich people all lead lives most of us are not familiar with, I couldn't help but become addicted to their shallow existence. And the best thing about these kinds of stories is that there are always wicked secrets stashed away in the past, wicked plans to ruin someone, and plenty of wickedness buried beneath the surface.

Yep, wicked is definitely the word that comes to mind for this particular story.

Watching how the shiny shimmer is slowly tarnished to reveal the true, ugly stuff beneath turned out to be both fun and disturbing. Plus, SO addictive. I couldn't stop reading because the layers of what's really rotten and wrong with these characters slowly reveals itself.

Not to mention the twists. So many awesome twists. There were quite a few, starting with what ends up happening between Marcie and Keisha. And voodoo. Did I mention how well this is woven into everything?

Another thing that I enjoyed was the sense of location. Savannah is a place that has always intrigued me and the vivid descriptions fly off the page. Loved it!

No one writes awful, despicable characters that you dislike so much you HAVE TO KEEP READING, like Sarah Pinborough.


View all my reviews

Friday, 4 March 2022

IN THE ARTIC SUN by Rowan Hill

 

In the Arctic SunIn the Arctic Sun by Rowan Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I pre-ordered this novella and it hit my Paperwhite last week, so I was eager to get stuck into it. The premise sounded so intriguing.

Sarah lives in Alaska, isolated from the world after her husband and her exchanged the fast-paced city life for something quieter. But their marriage has hit a stumbling block and she's living alone. Well, as alone as she can be with the bright orb of the sun burning in the sky all day, constant drilling, a new neighbour, and some kind of creature...

From the moment I started, I fell into Sarah's quiet, but disturbing existence. I felt her agony at having to deal with the sun all day. Could feel how cheated she was by the isolation that had slowly become a trap, instead of a comfort. Understood her anger at a partner who should still be with her, while she found a distraction in a new, younger man.

Not to mention whatever had wormed its way into her basement. 😱

And then, somewhere along the way... everything changed. I started doubting everyone, but still felt sorry for Sarah because no one believed her. No one was there to witness the terrifying stuff.

I really enjoyed this psychological horror tale with such slow-burn dread dripping from every page. This story will keep you guessing until the end, and even then you'll be questioning the ambiguity.

Great debut!

Thursday, 3 March 2022

CURSED OBJECTS Strange but True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker

 

Cursed Objects: Strange But True Stories of the World's Most Infamous ItemsCursed Objects: Strange But True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This little beauty caught my eye for two reasons: that cover is amazing, and cursed objects intrigue me. Besides, I'm always looking for new research fodder for my own stories. 😁

I had a LOT of fun reading this book, and liked the awesome illustrations throughout. The hardcover edition is stunning and packed full of interesting info. As well as some unexpected humour, which I wasn't expecting but really enjoyed.

There were quite a few objects that I already knew something about, but so many I didn't. After all, I'm a huge fan of creepy dolls. And OMG, there's even a section that covers chain emails. I remember when these were huge and packed full of urban legends.

I also found the Antikythera Mechanism absolutely fascinating and will have to find out more.

This might look like a thick book, but it's a breeze to get through.

I'm adding this creepy volume to my Keeper Shelf! 💀

Monday, 28 February 2022

KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE by Eiko Kadono

 

Kiki's Delivery ServiceKiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service is one of my comfort movies. A movie I've watched countless of times and always look forward to watching again because I love it so much. And to be honest, I didn't know it was a book first... but when I found out, I couldn't wait to check it out.

Kiki is a witch with a black cat called Jiji. She lives in a small town, but when she comes of age, she has to fly out into the world to find her own place. She's determined to go somewhere near the sea, which makes Koriko the perfect place to settle...

Oh, this is such a wonderful story. As beautiful as the movie, yet very different. A lot of Kiki and Jiji's adventures are completely different, but still serve the same purpose. One thing they both share is Kiki's innocence, kindness and goodness. How she looks at the world with such enthusiasm and willingness to help those who need her. This version of Kiki is also a little more playful.

Just like the movie, Jiji is really cheeky. I love this kitty's attitude, and how he adapts so easily to every new human they meet. Together, they make an awesome team.

I absolutely LOVED this witchy tale, and the physical book is beautiful. The cover is adorable and vibrant. The black and white illustrations throughout really complement the lovely words.

There's SO much beauty in this book. 🖤

View all my reviews

Sunday, 27 February 2022

THE EYES BENEATH MY FATHER'S HOUSE by Tyler Bell

 

In the dusty agave fields of the Guadalajara countryside, a peasant girl cuts a deal with the insidious thing living beneath her father’s house. An industrial accident aboard a space station in humanity’s distant future forces an unappreciated laborer to survive an unpredictable alien menace. A young man recounts his last days as the caretaker of a reclusive elderly woman in her remote - and possibly haunted - mansion. Welcome to the Westside Fairytales, where nothing is as it seems and everything is connected. A universe of possibility, horror, and madness spanning humanity’s past, present, and future. If you think you’re brave enough, and clever enough, then we entreat you to discover the mysteries of The Eyes Beneath My Father’s House.



The author of this collection reached out to me, and I decided to check out what this book had to offer.

THE UMBRELLA MAN: Well, this was quite a creepy coming of age story about four friends who discover something very dangerous while checking out an abandoned house. Very creepy indeed. And so interesting I couldn't stop reading. Really enjoyed this one!

BEST ROSES, MANASSAS, WEST VIRGINIA: I couldn't get into this story, and wound up giving up because I wasn't feeling any of the characters or what was going on.

MUD OF THE HEART: This is a confessional tale told by a man who takes care of a peculiar, ill woman. While I liked the atmospheric feel of the location and the creepy nature of the manor, in the end I found it underwhelming. 

OH, HEAVEN: DNFd this one. 🫤

OJOS OSCUROS: I was enjoying this one until all that awkward sexual abuse stuff started and then I lost interest...

WITHIN AS WITHOUT : Another story that I found hard to focus on because it was a bit dull.

THE MOVE: DNF.

DOG STAR: I enjoyed this creepy psychological SF mind trip in space. It was interesting, tense and Mikosh goes through a lot. And I mean a LOT.

THE THREE FLIGHTS OF MATEO JEFFERSON: Another story I found hard to connect with.

CARRIER: Wow. What a messed-up tale this one was. It's as gross as it is wrong, and so intriguing I couldn't stop reading about Ollie's horrid ordeal. 😟

Well, this collection turned out to be a mixed bag. Although I couldn't get into quite a few of these stories, the ones I did enjoy were excellent. And the illustrations are super cool, too.

I appreciate the chance to read this. Thank you, Tyler.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

A PUPPET SCORNED by Jamie Kort

Camille and Brad are sock-puppets that live in a dusty old attic. They fill their days by exploring the storage boxes in their small world. One day they find yarn and needles and they create something that causes a nightmarish series of events to unfold... and Brad has been hiding something from Camille... a terrible secret that might destroy them!
 


Okay, I have to admit that when I saw the review request email this morning, I thought this was a joke. I mean, the words sock puppets and erotic are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. 😅

After looking it up on GR and showing my husband, he said I should definitely get a copy. And he was right, of course, because I was intrigued. 

Camille is a beautiful sock and she's in love with the equally beautiful sock, Brad. They live an adventurous life together inside a dusty attic, but the day Brad finds a pair of knitting needles, Camille is introduced to an unexpected world of bliss, betrayal and responsibility...

Yikes. What can I say about this story? It's short and I read it in one sitting, which was a good thing because once I started I couldn't stop.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this haunting horror tale of undying, obsessive love, and how it warps Camille's mind until she hatches one dark plan after another to get her lover back. She's tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and actually ends up showing quite a bit of kindness towards the monsters.

Don't get me wrong, this story is TOTALLY messed up. But it's also clever, funny and full of sewing/knitting/fabric puns that cracked me up.

I'll never think about knitting sessions the same way again. I really enjoyed this very strange and dark little tale. 🧦🪡

I have to thank the author for sending me a copy.





Thursday, 24 February 2022

A FAR WILDER MAGIC by Allison Saft

In the dark, gothic town of Wickdon, Maggie Welty lives in an old creaking manor. Maggie's mother is an alchemist who has recently left town, leaving Maggie with just her bloodhound for company. But when Maggie spots a legendary ancient fox-creature on her porch, her fate is changed forever. Whoever tracks down and kills the hala in the Halfmoon Hunt will earn fame and riches - and if Maggie wins the hunt, she knows her mother will want to celebrate her. This is her chance to bring her home.

But the rules state that only teams of two can join the hunt, and while Maggie is known as the best sharpshooter in town, she needs an alchemist.

Enter Wes Winters. He isn't an alchemist ... yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he's landed, this is his last chance.

Maggie and Wes make an unlikely team - a charismatic but troubled boy, and a girl who has endured life on the outskirts of a town that never welcomed her. But as the hunt takes over, the pair are drawn together as they uncover a darker magic that may put everything they hold dear in peril...
 


This book caught my eye when I was looking through the Hachette catalogue a few months ago. I thought the cover was lovely and when I read the description, I was definitely interested.

Maggie Welty lives in an old manor in the town of Wickdon. Her mother is an alchemist who often leaves her alone in a place where she's only liked by a handful of people. Weston Winters lives in the city with his mother and sisters. He desperately wants to become an alchemist. That's how he ends up on Maggie's doorstep, and begins a magical adventure with this strange girl...

Wow. What an amazing and super addictive tale. I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to know how this was going to turn out. And it didn't disappoint.

When I started reading this book I just wanted a sample, a small taste of what lay hidden between the pages of this pretty book. But before I realised what was happening, I was halfway through and didn't want to stop because I was instantly captivated by the interesting characters, the fascinating alchemical world, and the mysterious white fox. I also wanted to know where Maggie's mother was, and why she would be so careless about her responsibilities to a daughter who wants and deserves her attention.

I loved how the vivid descriptions of the town of Wickdon spring off the page as easily as the colourful characters we meet. And that brings me to Maggie and Wes. 

The story is told in the alternating POV of Maggie and Wes. I was instantly drawn to both of these characters for very different reasons. Maggie is a lonely, self-sufficient girl who is also stubborn, determined, and comfortable in her isolated existence. Wes is an outwardly cocky, somewhat arrogant guy who seems to get what he wants all the time. Yet, his charm only gets him so far, and he hides who he really is behind this well-constructed mask. Together, they're two opposites who will obviously attract, no matter how hard they try to fight it. 

Another thing that I thought was very well written and flawlessly woven into the narrative was the different religions, how they work and don't work together. It wasn't hard to figure out how each was influenced by the real world, but they're re-created in a different light and mixed with alchemy to feature some very interesting worldbuilding. Yet, are still troublesome and encounter the same prejudice.

A Far Wilder Magic is an exciting fantasy tale with a slow burn passionate love story at its wonderful core. It also deals with plenty of dark issues such as bigotry, parental neglect, malicious bullying, manipulation, and the mental scars grief leaves behind. And when everything is mixed together, it makes an unforgettable story that I absolutely fell in love with.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.


A Far Wilder Magic, March 2022, ISBN 9781510110755, Orion Children's Books

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

THE UNSUITABLE by Molly Pohlig

 

The UnsuitableThe Unsuitable by Molly Pohlig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this lovely book for a while, and I decided it was time to check it out.

Iseult Wince is a woman like no other. She loves to go for long walks, is used to being ignored by her father, and talks to her dead mother all the time. Her father told her that she's responsible for her mother's death because she died during childbirth, so she lives with this guilt every day and her mother's whispering voice doesn't help. Then she meets Jacob...

This is one odd and twisted little Victorian gothic tale. Iseult looks like she'll become a spinster at twenty-eight but is so preoccupied with the voice inside her head and the pleasure she finds in self-inflicted pain, that she barely notices. Her life is a lonely one lived mostly in her head and in her room.

But when her horrid excuse for a parent (hated her father) is fed up with trying to marry off the weird daughter he clearly doesn't care about, respect, or even tolerates, everything changes. It was so sad, to watch this poor woman go through life like a pincushion who gets verbally abused constantly, from outside and inside her head.

It's heartbreaking to see the constant barrage of disgust flung her way, because she's a bit different and is obviously suffering from mental illness, because of the callous treatment she experiences from everyone. 😥

No one understands her or seem to care, which is why I liked Jacob. The silver man actually seemed like a nice person and listened to everything she said.

The writing style was really cool. In between the third-person narrative in Iseult's POV, there's also the confused and aggressive thought exchange between mother and daughter. It's disorienting and so well done.

I REALLY enjoyed this melancholy tale and the secret, mixed with that ending, totally worked for me because it's messed up. And also very sad.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

February's Revision Update!

 

Hey! How are you today?

Well, it's Thursday and today it was time to take care of a few last-minute revision tweaks. Yeah, I always end up with a list of rep words and details to double check before calling the project done.

Anyway, here are the stats: 
  • Monday: 38/79 pgs (28,956w)
  • Tuesday: 79/79pgs  (28,746w)
  • Wednesday: break day!
  • Thursday: 80pgs / 28,420w

So, Cosmic is now DONE! Yay. 😃🎉

I'm really excited about finishing this story because I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2017. 😳 And after getting stuck into this revision, I started wondering if it was even worth finishing because something was bugging me about the narrative... It wasn't until the third draft that I realised there were a few subplots that could be eliminated. After cutting three chapters, everything started coming together.

The first draft was 53,623 words. That means I cut 25,203 words! I did mention last week that this was going from novel to novella real fast. And I was right. But I don't mind because the story is SO much better now, stronger.

I'm happy I stuck with it because the two girls in this otherworldly tale deserved to have their story told. 😍

So, finishing this project also means 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

Asides from working on this story, we finally watched the rest of EVIL S2 and it didn't disappoint. I love this dark, twisted and wicked TV show. They're not afraid to push the boundaries, and I enjoy the demonic angle.

Well, that's it for me today. I'm looking forward to taking a bit of a mental break. Also, it's time to figure out which Revision Project will be next. As well as... am I going to write short stories for the interesting anthology calls I keep seeing on Twitter?! 👀

Have a great day.

Friday, 11 February 2022

THE MAKER'S BOX by David Barclay

 

Emily has been obsessed with the occult since her mother died, collecting every pagan curio and oddity she can find. Then on the night of her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a piece of real magic: a beating human heart inside a wooden box. If the gift weren't strange enough, his instructions are even stranger: “You'll need to feed it to keep it alive.”

The box needs her blood, and in exchange, shows her rousing and wondrous things. Desires she never knew existed. But as Emily’s father lapses into addiction, as she grows weak with blood loss, she realizes all too late the box has desires of its own. 

The Maker’s Box is a contemporary dark fairy tale of magic, obsession, and madness.



The author of this novella contacted me a few weeks ago, and because the premise sounded interesting, I asked him to send me an ARC. 

When Emily's father gives her a beating heart inside a box for her sixteenth birthday, she doesn't think it's that odd because he's not exactly a conventional parent. But the heart needs to be fed and it doesn't take long before she tries to figure out the mystery...

Well, this turned out to be quite a strange and dark tale. I mean that in the best way possible because I really enjoyed it.

I like stories set in our world that also throw caution to the wind and introduce the unbelievable in a whimsical, intriguing way that sweeps me away for a fun ride. Emily's story takes some weird and wondrous turns, is full of blood and obsession. Deals with addiction in several different ways, while also delving into troubled family ties, deadly secrets, and complicated friendships.

Emily is such a terrific narrator, a joy to spend time with. She's nice, loyal, determined to keep the peace at home, and totally consumed with her pet heart. Firstly, she desperately wants to make sure to feed it, and later, wants to figure out who it belongs to, what it wants, and how to stop losing herself before it's too late. 

We also catch a glimpse of her friend, Noah's POV. I liked her grandmother, but despised her father. I won't get into what a mess that guy turned out to be. I would've liked to see more interactions with Stacey, because her connection to Emily was interesting.

The Maker's Box is a story that ventures into some very grim situations, definitely doesn't shy away from the bizarre, and often tumbles into disturbing. All while still managing to be freaky fun!

Thanks for sending me a copy, David.





 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants for single moms