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Thursday, 16 September 2021

September's Revision Begins...

Hey! How are you today? Can you believe we're halfway into this month already? Yikes. Time sure moves fast. 😕

Today, I'm not going to dwell on the Covid situation for long because we all know that between how infectious this Delta strain is, the useless government's lack of leadership, anti-vaxxers and selfish assholes, things aren't getting any better. Our numbers are constantly over 1k daily and this ridiculous never-ending mockdown just isn't working. Ugh.

Anyway, I took a three-week break after my latest revision WIP. So, it was finally time to get stuck into the next project on my 2021 Revision List. 📝

This time I'm tackling a YA horror novel I wrote back in September 2018 and is tentatively titled, Monsters. This is a story about a family going through a really bad time. It deals with dark family secrets, Greek mythology and monsters. It's a bit of a tragedy full of complicated relationships.

Here's how I went:

  • Friday: 21/215pgs (77,834w)
  • Monday: 65/215pgs (77,621w)
  • Tuesday: 117/211pgs (76,544w)
  • Wednesday: 173/206pgs (74,797w)
  • Thursday: 202pgs / 73,600w
As you can see, I ended up cutting quite a bit. Phew. I'm not afraid to chop away chunks of words if it makes the story better and/or stronger.

Just like Possess, going back to this novel was a little strange because I didn't remember so much of what actually happens. Seriously, a few of the mystery threads had me stumped until everything was revealed. I like to have some distance after a first draft, but I reckon that a three-year break might be a bit too long. 😅

I mentioned this last time, and have to touch on it again because I think this will keep happening with my older WIPs. The second draft ends up being more of a reunion, a chance for me to catch up. LMAO. This is when I find myself fixing a lot of the odd sentences/phrasing and cutting anything that sounds wrong. I deleted over 4k words during this draft, including the Epilogue I don't think it needs. 

I'll probably end up adding words during the third draft because there are a several scenes and situations that definitely need a bit of tweaking. And of course, I've already started a Revision List.

These older stories are turning out to be hard work, but totally worth it. 😅

Well, it looks like I'll be taking a three-day break before tackling the third draft on Monday. I'm actually looking forward to getting stuck into this new version, and really want to sharpen/tighten everything even more.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 9 September 2021

EXPOSED NERVES by Lucy A. Snyder


Exposed Nerves continues the explorations into dark poetry by Stoker Award winner and Shirley Jackson Award nominee Lucy A. Snyder, pairing the author’s sly wordplay and imagery with grim introspection. By turns challenging, wryly amusing and gut-wrenching, Snyder’s work plumbs bittersweet catharsis and maps a survivor’s path through dangerous worlds, both the real and the horrifically imagined.



Around this time last year, I read a short story collection by Lucy A. Snyder that I enjoyed immensely, so of course I was interested in checking out her poetry collection. I mean, look at that haunting and very visceral cover!

This dark book is broken up into four parts, and each section contains a variety of biting and important poems. Every single one of these burrowed deep into my mind until every word became so much more than a lovely connection of words, and the undercurrent of meaning exploded right after reading.

There's a lot of social commentary within the pages of this inspiring book. Some of these observations are subtle and concealed in clever ways displaying dual meanings. But others get straight to the point and are rather confronting in their convictions of truth, and had me nodding because many of these situations were so familiar.

Not just because she does such a great job at highlighting the many different degrees of horror girls and women go through every single day of their lives, but also because of the racism and inequality in our society. And the disbelief or disregard given to some because of the colour of their skin, sexual orientation, gender, or just for daring to be different and speak out about it.

I also found that the title, Exposed Nerves, is the perfect representation for this book because of how well Lucy A. Snyder captured the rawness of every situation. But don't fret, there are also some cunning, playful and lighter poems that will make you smile.

Well, this turned out to be quite a memorable collection.

I have to thank you Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy!





Wednesday, 8 September 2021

WHEN THE CICADAS STOP SINGING by Zachary Ashford

 

When the poison gas first leaked out of the ground, they thought the horror would be over in no time.

But they kept dying.

When the lizard-men followed, swarming the land and picking off the survivors, those who remained were scattered to the hills and the forests.

Most did not last long.

But Cora, who found refuge and made a home in the mountains, where she lives with the memory of her dead son, still fights.

Tenacious, she lives wild and protects that home from the lizards who seek to kill her. Until now. Man has also arrived and he’s not friendly.

 

The author of this novella sent me an ARC, so I was lucky enough to read this thrilling story before it's release. Thank you, Zachary! 🙂

The world is a ruined and desolate place after poisonous gas leaked out into the cities and destroyed everything. Then the lizard-men came and started killing the survivors. Cora left with her son to live in the wild mountains and forest, in hopes of finding a somewhat comfortable life. But things didn't turn out that way and when a mysterious couple invades her territory, she'll do whatever she can to protect her land...

Wow. This was one fantastic and brutal story. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

From the very beginning, we're introduced to a very likeable and crafty woman who is weighed down by grief, but still has the strength to get on with her life. Well, it's a lonely existence, really. And she's fine with that because people are a problem she wants to keep her distance from.

Not only that, but she still has to deal with the lizard-men. Vile creatures that appeared after the world was ruined and hunt/kill humans. They're awful, but she has the skills to deal with them. What Cora isn't prepared for is the beefy man and skinny woman who are obviously keeping dark secrets. And the guy, Darren, is a real piece of work.

And by that, I mean he's a real piece of shit. I despised this arrogant asshole from the moment he appeared and he's one despicable, totally gross brute that puts Cora through hell. Sarah was interesting too, because she had her own way of dealing with the shitty world she lives in. 

When the Cicadas Stop Singing turned out to be a fast-paced blend of gritty post-apocalyptic madness, and has the intensity of a terrifying creature feature that doesn't stop until the very end. The heroine is tough, engaging and has a heartbreaking past. The villain is a totally disgusting, despicable brute who underestimates Cora and overestimates himself. This makes a combustible combination.

I enjoyed the hell out of this gripping, violent ride.


Tuesday, 7 September 2021

MONSTRUM POETICA by Jezzy Wolfe

 

When was the last time you walked through the woods? Checked under your bed? Walked down into your basement alone? Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe is an invocation of boogeymen, a graveyard seance, a summons to horrors both large and small. This is a collection of poems that bite, scratch, snarl, and bleed. Filled with magnificent beasts and the sounds of cracked bones and broken teeth, Wolfe takes her readers through the folklore and mythology behind some of the world’s most terrifying creatures.

Here you’ll meet jinn, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos, tangle with mermaids, wraiths, aswang and hellhounds. It’s a dance of specters and spiders, a logbook of limbs and lost persons. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn what to do when the lights flicker, when the lightbulb goes out, when darkness becomes your only friend, and the next time you hear a whisper, or feel the hot breath of fear on your neck, you’ll remember what do, where to go…

Because this is a book that teaches you how to hunt monsters, how to track fiends, how to bathe in the blood and digestive juices all of things that go bump in the night. Carry this manual with you. Hold it close, memorize its contents for these poems are warnings, a resounding alarm.

I suggest you head them.

They might just save your life. 



Firstly, I want to thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this fascinating book. And secondly, I love the cover.

I always get excited when I receive a book of poetry from RDSP because they publish some gems. This time I got two!

So I decided to start with this one. 

I'm a huge fan of supernatural creatures and urban myths, so I was looking forward to getting lost in the forest of words in front of me. This book didn't disappoint because it's full of deep and disturbing tales of mythology, folklore, urban legends, and even pop culture. And each of these tales is presented in poems that either fill you with wonder, make your skin crawl, or bring out a smile because the sheer darkness captured within this collection of artful words works so well.

Something else I really enjoyed was the way each section is introduced with a bit of handy information about the many creatures—some more obscure than others—before each poem delves into their gloomy underbelly with nightmarish and vivid precision.

It's almost a manual for the furry, fanged, decayed, dead, undead and so many more monsters one might encounter in the darkest of places, on the spookiest night under a watchful moon.

I think this one's a keeper because I really enjoyed the ride through the landscape of Monstrum Poetica.

This is a fantastic collection. If you're into poetry intricately woven with the arcane, then you should definitely check it out. 




Monday, 6 September 2021

WALL OF DOLLS has a cover!

 

Well, a new week is here and I hope you're all having a good one. 😊


Over the weekend, the awesome Sci-Fi & Scary blog featured the Cover and Synopsis Reveal for my upcoming YA horror novel, WALL OF DOLLS.


In case you missed it, I'm posting it here as well:


For generations, the women of the Lucas family have lived in the small town of Whenall, Massachusetts, at Raven House. They make dolls that they call wardens to protect the townsfolk, a long tradition that some might believe holds no power, but a tradition that Whenall enjoys all the same. 

Quin is proud of her heritage, her cousin Beth, however, isn’t interested in her position as the future family matriarch. The girls spend their time with their two closest friends, Henri and Al, with Beth always taking the lead, flirting with the boys and leading them into mischief.

One Halloween night, Al finds a Ouija board in the attic of Raven House, and Beth eagerly encourages them all to play with it, but Quin knows that these boards are not a game. Something was unleashed that Halloween night, and a year later, the girls will face the consequences. Can Quin stop them from being devoured by the evil force that spoke to them that night? The force that haunts the woods surrounding Whenall? With Henri by her side, she is sure as hell going to try…


Well, what do you think? I love this cover because it's awesome and creepy and cute. Plus, it totally captures the essence of the story because these dollswardensare very important in the town of Whenall.




I'll post all other buy links as well as the official release date really soon. It'll be available just in time for Halloween, which is perfect because Quin's story happens around the spookiest and most fun time of the year. 

🎃


Saturday, 4 September 2021

New Demain Paperbacks!


That's right! 

My other two Demain Publishing novellas are now available in paperback and I'm super excited. 😃


Max Patella just wants to do her job...


Murder! Mystery! Mayhem #5:



☠️🏭💀🕵️‍♀️☠️


In a city full of mindless robots, Tolliver longs for adventure...

Weird. Wonderful. Other Worlds. #2:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Amazon Canada 


🤖🌟🌌🌟🤖


That means all three are now available in print and eBook.



So exciting!!

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT by Silvia-Moreno Garcia

 

1970s Mexico City: while student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite seeks escape from her humdrum life in the stories of passion and danger filling the latest issue of Secret Romance.

She is deeply envious of her neighbour, a beautiful art student apparently living the life of excitement and intrigue Maite craves - so when Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman, journeying deep into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. 

But someone else is also looking for Leonora, at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: he loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. Watching Maite from a distance, he comes to see her as a kindred spirit who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

As Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the dangers threatening to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents and Russian spies all aiming to find or protect Leonora's secrets - at gunpoint.


I've already read three awesome books written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and loved every single one, so I was excited about this one.

It's 1971, Mexico City. Maite is a single secretary living a dull life full of routine, daydreaming and white lies. At least she's got her romance comic books and music to keep her company. Elvis is a thug and is part of a group that does whatever their boss tells them to. He doesn't do much else. Well, except for listening to his favourite music. The day Maite's neighbour, Lenore, disappears, her life is personally affected and leads her on a collision course with Elvis...

What an addictive story this turned out to be.

Yeah, I was pretty much hooked after the frenetic first chapter introducing us to Elvis and his criminal life. Then, after meeting the disillusioned and desperate for romantic adventure Maite, I knew I needed to follow these two on their separate paths and couldn't wait until they intersected.

The story is told in the alternating POVs of Maite and Elvis. Their existence parallels each other via association as they follow their own clues to find a missing girl for very different reasons. But both find themselves caught up in the brutal political intrigue that is shaking Mexico to the very core.

I actually liked both of these characters and enjoyed following their plight until the very end. These two find themselves in a lot of interesting situations, encounter some very problematic people, and never lose their individual drive. Or their flawed qualities, which made me like them more.

My favourite thing about this author is how well she captures every historical period she sets her stories in, as well as the location and whatever was happening at that particular time. I also love how versatile she is when it comes to genre. Every book she writes is in a different genre, and they're all full of interesting characters that keep me glued to the page.

Fantastic is the word that comes to mind.

Velvet Was the Night is an intriguing and violent noir mystery with a vivid sense of location, set during a turbulent political time in 1970s Mexico. There are a lot of criminal factions, dirty agents from all sides and students determined to start a revolution. Caught up in all of this commie paranoia are two individual daydreamers sleepwalking their lives away until a missing stranger changes them forever.

I can't wait to read more of this author's work because she's an awesome writer.

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.



Velvet was the Night, August 2020, ISBN 9781529417951, Jo Fletcher Books

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

File Changes

Hello. How are you today? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's definitely that time of the year.

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

Anyway, have a great day!




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


Friday, 27 August 2021

KITTY'S GREATEST HITS by Carrie Vaughn

 

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

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

This is the first one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

 
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