Friday, 25 September 2020

Book Review: "That Monster on the Block" by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I was all set to really not like this book and when I read the description to my hubby he said that "explaining to H [our nephew] about vampires being the undead would be way too scary for him" but it's not at all like that... it's fun and humourous and well illustrated and just perfect!  It deals with prejudice in a non-threatening way that children would understand and learn from.

WTG the author!

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Book Review: "Mind Riot" by Ken Bagnis

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Like with everything I review, this book is starting with the full 5 stars and I'm hoping it'll finish with 'em too, but we shall see.

I'm really enjoying this book so far... I hope it continues!

I'm wondering which decade this book is set in?  Cassette tapes?  Duran Duran?  Seems very 80's to me!

Ah right, it's part of a girly thing, not set in the 80's... that's a relief then!  I hope the author has gained permission to use big names like "Duran Duran" and "Sony Walkman" and "The Smiths though, or he could get himself into serious hot water legally!

Chapter one was great and I love that it's in first person throughout... so different from most books I've read recently!

I'm just about to start reading chapter 7 and I'm still loving this book... it's a definite must-read for all the teens out there and even adults will appreciate it too - this adult certainly is!

I'm appreciating this author and his research even more now... I'm currently recovering from one of the illnesses described and in literally one sentence I feel a lot more understood and far less alone now than I have done in the last two decades.  Thank you so so much, Mr Bagnis!

I don't know where the last 12 hours have disappeared to, but every word of this book is pure genius and I so wish I'd discovered it sooner!  I'm gonna read one more chapter then head to bed for an early night ready for me to dive right back into this fantastic book tomorrow morning.

I'm almost half way through the book and I'm reluctantly heading off to bed for the night now, but I can't wait to dive right back in as soon as I wake up and come back downstairs tomorrow!

Mornin' all.

This is still a fantastic book, but there are big brand names used quite a bit, so I'm hoping the author has gained written permission to use them so that he doesn't get into expensive legal hot water with the owners of the brand names he's using!

I'm on the verge of tears with this chapter and it takes a powerful author to achieve that, especially at not even two-thirds of the way through a book.  I stand by what I said yesterday, I know this is written for teens, but adults will enjoy it too... I certainly am.

The very end of chapter 24 is exactly the sort of cringeworthy thing I would say too lol

I've just finished the book and I'm sat here with huge tears streaming out of my eyes, down my cheeks and onto my laptop.  It's rare that a book achieves that so that must tell you more than any of the rest of this review.  If I could, I would award it 6 stars out of 5, but I can't, so it's getting top marks from me from start to finish.  A must-read for everyone.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

NaNoWriMo - always wanted to give it a try but never got around to it?

If, like me back in 2011/2012-ish, you've heard people talk about NaNo and you've always said you want to give it a go, there's no better time than this year❗  Most of us are stuck at home for Covid or personal reasons and there's about 5 weeks before it starts to get your NaNo novel planned out and ready for 1st November.

If you're a "pantser" then you can gear yourself up and find ways to reward yourself for hitting mini targets throughout it (my own personal target is for 5k words written each day and a bottle of J2O when I achieve it, but it might be different for you) as well as a huge reward when you type that 50,000th word (2 J2O's and a sharing block of chocolate all to myself is my own personal reward of choice).

If you're a "planner" but have got precisely no ideas then the free trial of my ideas software might be exactly what you're looking for.  If you become a member now then you get exclusive updates to the software that non-members don't get as well as access to me and other member-exclusives at a cheaper price and sooner notifications of open submission windows etc too.

Anyway, back to NaNo 😃

If you're a "plantser" like me, then NaNo is an opportunity to let your muse run wild for 30 days - NaNo and JanNo are my two guaranteed writing months of the year and my hubby knows that I'm not to be disturbed unless it's for something vital.

If you decide that 2020 is your writing year, sign up as soon as you can (it's free) so that you've got time to explore and get to know the NaNo site before it starts.  I'm on there with this year's novel which is called "Oh No!" if you wanna get support and encouragement throughout NaNo and beyond.

Go on... do this for you, you deserve it 👍❗👌

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Thinking of self-publishing your children's book?

If, for whatever your reason is, you wanna self-publish your children's book, do yourself a big favour and read this blog post by a fellow Scoobie first.  She's got some great advice and you've got nothing to lose by reading it through... who knows, it might save you a lot of time and money.


Wednesday, 9 September 2020

"Go Get 'em" has just been rejected

Just had a novel rejected, but that's OK now.  It would have destroyed my confidence a couple of years ago, but I realise that the best things come to those who wait now and I've already subbed to 5 other agents so maybe it was good that it was rejected?

I'm not gonna sub to anyone else for the time being, so that I don't run out of options before the end of the year... gotta get 3 more rejections before I sub to anyone else lol

I wish you all success in your subbing and hope that we're all taken on when the right opportunity comes along!

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Just subbed to an open submission window

 Firefly Press are holding two very short open submission windows today for "diverse and LGBTQ+ authors, as well as authors with a disability" and tomorrow for all other children's authors.


My members found out about this window as soon as I did, so have had time to prepare in advance... maybe you would like to become a member too, so that you've got more time to prepare next time 😉

Friday, 21 August 2020

Book Review: "Celdric Kane: The Unwished" by Nina Mofme

⭐⭐ out of 5

In the prologue the character is only 11 so a 13 year old wouldn't read any further... I'm wondering, already, if the author knows and appreciates that children don't want to read about characters that are younger than they are.  I hope the rest of the book is better than it's started!

There have been several bits that don't make sense, purely because of single word choices... "involuntary" instead of "involuntarily" in chapter 8 for example and "won't ever hands over" at the start of chapter 9.  Things like that are making me wonder about knocking off a star... gonna give it a bit longer first though, in case they are genuine mistakes that should have been picked up before it was published.

That's the star gone at the start of chapter 10 "I cannot do anything except waiting"

I've read four pages since knocking off that first star and it reads like the author has given up with using the right tenses appropriately.

Page 27 has soo many errors that the second star is coming off, unfortunately.

A page later and the errors are still there... it's like the author only edited the first three chapters in the hope of getting published, then slowly gave up so that by chapter eight we are reading the first draft instead of the polished story that it should be.

I've skipped ahead to chapter 26 now... it's just such a dull and boring book, sorry.  Keep your fingers crossed that things have picked up in the chapters I've skipped and that it's a better story now.

The author really doesn't understand the audience they are writing for... an 11 year old would never understand what "disquietude" meant for example.

I give up.  There are too many errors, it's boring, too many characters without any kind of personality... there are too many mistakes and I'm not gonna read any further.  A child might enjoy it more, but the author really doesn't understand who they are writing for and hasn't got into the heads of their characters so children don't stand a chance.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

That's 3 agents queried for the first time this year

That competition news was the boost I needed to get my querying head on again, for the first time this year.


I'm feeling really proud and even slightly confident now... I can so do this, 2020 will be my year!



I was wrong about the short story competition yesterday... the majority of the short stories really were rejected but one of them was good enough to be a runner up in that same competition❗❗❗ 😂  My first ever attempts at short stories and one of them was considered good enough to be a runner up❗

I'll have to re-read the email several times before it finally hits that one of my stories was considered good enough to be published in an anthology 😆

I'm gonna submit to agents now with slightly more confidence than I had 15 minutes ago❗  I really can write stories for children and I really do stand a chance of getting my longer manuscripts published now.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Feedback from the short story competition

Just heard back about the stories I submitted to a competition.  None of them were shortlisted but I've got some brilliant feedback to work on and a couple of potential novels in the making instead of short stories.

I can soooo do this, if I take the feedback on board and work with it instead of just leaving it and forgetting about it!

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Book Review: "The Witches of Vegas" by Mark Rosendorf

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I'm really enjoying this book so far. I didn't think I would initially, but the author is really into his stride now and I don't know where the last several hours of my life have disappeared to!

You can tell it's a good read when there's only one paragraph and I've only got 84 pages left to read!  This is a truly amazing book that's a must-read for every teen!

Wowzers!  What an awesome end to the story and an incredible way to spend today!  Thank you for sharing your awesome story with me, Mark Rosendorf!  I wish you amazingly well deserved praise and recognition for this book!

Monday, 3 August 2020

Book Review: "In Power And Knowledge" by Joe Lemaiyan

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

OK, first off, this isn't a novel 'cos it's only got 73 pages and the author says it's for Young Adults, so it's less than a quarter of the length of a fantasy novel, so I'm guessing it was self-published.  It also says that it's Book 1 so I'm thinking it would have been better to put the other books together with this one to make it into a longer piece of fiction instead of multiple shorter novellas.

Just finished chapter 1 and there wasn't a single word of speech throughout it.  If it's the same in chapter 2 then I'll be reluctantly knocking a star off.

Yay, we have a sentence of speech, so the book is keeping its five stars so far!

We're back to no speech again now... it's a very 'telling' and very little 'showing' book unfortunately.  If chapter 4 has such a small amount of speech then the star is still coming off... four stars is better than a single star though  ;-)

Chapter 4 has a small amount of speech, so maybe the author is only putting it in every other chapter for some reason?

Each chapter is incredibly short... usually only a couple of pages long - that's not industry standard for a YA novel either!

There's been a small smattering of speech, but nowhere near enough so the first star is coming off, unfortunately.

Oh!  The book finished just as it was getting going!  It's been a good read, just needs to be a lot longer and with oneheckuva lot more speech - if it had both those things it would have been a well-deserved five stars from me!

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Book Review: "Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten" by Laura Purdie Salas

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

The author has tried her best, but she's used language that would confuse a young child and might even make them feel worse.  The only redeeming feature is the illustrations!

You will need to help the child understand every page, unfortunately.  It has potential, but right now it's very much a disappointment.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Do I dare to get hopeful?

I sent out several manuscripts for a writing competition back at the end of April.

I haven't been rejected yet.

I also sent out a submission to an open submission window in May and people have been getting rejected for that over the last week or so.

Not me though.

Dare I get hopeful that I've maybe made it through to the next round❓  That the open submission one will request a full manuscript and that the writing competition will consider me for the anthology❓  That maybe, just maybe, my writing and editing is good enough for serious consideration now, rather than be immediately rejected❓

I've come a loooong way... so do I dare to allow myself to dream of at least getting to the full request again❓❓

Please keep those fingers crossed 🤞 for me that things finally work in my favour.  I'm not gonna publish the names of either the writing competition or the publisher with the open submission window until they are finalised and the sucessful authors have been announced.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Book Review: Bea's Thanksgiving by A. White

⭐ out of 5

OK, before I even open the book I'm confused about two things - firstly why the editor is credited and secondly why there's such a huuuuge age range... 10-18 years old covers at least two age ranges of book - Middle Grade for the 10-12 year olds and Young Adult for the 13-18 year olds.  I'm also guessing that the book is either written in or set in America as British kids would barely have a clue Thanksgiving even existed, let alone why it is a holiday in America!

In under 10 pages I'm thinking it should be Young Adult because of several word choices that a 10 year old would never understand but the main character seems to be a lot younger than a teen, so maybe that's why the author gave such a huge age range for the target audience?  IMO it should either have easier words and be aimed at the younger end of the target audience or keep the words but significantly mature the main character.

The main character is 8-10 years old, so it's younger even than middle grade 'cos children prefer their characters to be a couple of years older than them, so it should be an early chapter book for 8-10 year olds, maximum... there's no way an 18 year old would read a book with a main character who is a decade *younger* than them!!

The end of page 11 and not a single word of speech so far... a child would definitely have stopped reading the book and closed it up, never to pick it up again by now, so the combination of all these things means the book already loses a star.

Sixteen pages into the book and there have been three thoughts but still no actual speech. It would be so easy to do with a bit of minor editing, but the author obviously decided against it, unfortunately.

A huge knocking off of a star because of the swearing!  Do you really want a 10 year old to ask how you pronounce and what a b***ard (my own stars in place of the full swear word in the book) is?

Finally!  Page 17 and we've finally got a small amount of speech!

Another swear word... f**k this time.  That's another star gone and we're not even through the first chapter yet!  If it was aimed at Young Adults then I would maybe have let them slip through, but there could be 10 year olds reading it and there's no way I would want them reading swearing like that in a book!

F**k has just been repeated in less than a paragraph.  If there's one more swear word then I'm stopping reading the book.

Three times in a paragraph.  That's it, the book is losing the final star and I'm not reading any more... I haven't got a clue how the book was published for such a huge age range and without even lesser swear words used.  The rest of the book may be better, but I'm stopping reading now and giving it a single star because I can't publish a review without a star rating.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Book review: "Kat and Juju" by Kataneh Vahdani

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Immediate thoughts on the cover, really cute and deserves the five stars that every book I review starts off with, so far... I wonder if the author is also the illustrator though?

Lets get the book opened  ;-)

Oooh!  It *is* illustrated by the author, which is even better!

This is a great book... still a very well-deserved 5 stars and I'm already tempted to buy the hardcover version for one of my nephews!

The author has really got inside the head of young children who feel left outside of the popular crowd at playgroup/nursery/primary school and this is still a five star book, half way through... I've usually found something negative in a book by now, but this book is proving me wrong this time!

What a perfect ending, nothing negative or critical to say at all!  A very well deserved five stars and I'm gonna go and buy it for my nephew now... a must buy for any parent or carer or even childcare place with a child (or even several children) who feels very lost and alone and seems to be a lonely outsider!

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Book Review: "Sneasy the Greasy Babysits Abigail" by Michelle Birdsong and Robin Birdsong

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a good book, but it doesn't come anywhere near meeting industry standards as far as pages (it's got 16 pages but the industry standard is 28 or 32 pages, so it doesn't come even close to it).  The story is kinda rhymey but only on certain lines, and would be much better as either everything rhyming or no rhymes at all, not both at the same time.  Those two reasons are why I'm knocking off a star.  The illustrations are funny and so appropriate to a child's sense of humour, and I have no doubt they would enjoy it when it's read to them.  I'm just wondering about the pronounciation of "Sneasy" though... is it "Sneezy" or does it rhymn with grease or is it something else entirely?

Overall, a good book that will really appeal to young listeners who are reluctant to get clean after playing in the mud or who don't like having their hair washed or whatever.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Guest blog post from Catherine Rosevear

Many thanks to Amanda, for letting me write a guest blog post!

I’ve been writing for children for about five years now. I’d wanted to for many years before that, but I never had the time – or I thought I didn’t. Looking back, I think that I just needed to make a start, because once I got started, I felt motivated to continue, even when time was short.

Ever since I was really small, I’ve always loved reading. As a child, my favourite books were the Paddington books by Michael Bond, which really inspired me to be a reader and – later on – a writer.

When I first started writing I bought a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook, and as soon as my first chapter book, ‘The Secret of the Wooden Chest’, was complete, I went through the yearbook and looked at the lists of agents, trying to decide who seemed like the best fit for my book. I sent it out to a few agents before I realised that it probably needed editing, and so I used Cornerstones Literary to help me with a copy edit. But I still wasn’t successful in finding an agent who was interested and so, eventually, I decided to self-publish it with Matador (the self-publishing imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd).

Matador advised me to get a cover illustration ready and so, after yet more googling online, I turned to Ian R Ward, who produced a beautiful cover illustration for my first book.

The Secret of theWooden Chest’ came out with Matador in 2017, followed in 2018 by the second book in my chapter book series, ‘Mystical Moonlight’.

Since then I’ve been doing school visits with these two books, and also continuing with new writing projects. Currently I’m working on a Middle Grade book for slightly older children.

One thing I really love about taking my self-published books into schools is the enthusiasm of the children I meet, who are usually not only really keen on reading, but also exciting about writing. For this reason, I sometimes suggest a writing competition for the classes I visit. I then go back to the school a couple of weeks later to collect the children’s stories and take them home to read. Their imagination and powerful storytelling never cease to amaze me!

Since self-publishing, I’ve joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and have attended several of their workshops, which has really helped me to develop my skills. Last year I even attended their UK conference for the first time, where a whole weekend’s worth of workshops and talks inspired me with further ideas. One of the best things I leaned at the conference, was that a writer should spend a big chunk of their time reading – both inside and outside the genre they write in – so that they can learn from other writers. I’ve always loved spending a lot of time reading, but now, as well as reading for relaxation, I feel that I can justify spending even more time reading, and I consider it to be part of the work of learning to be a writer!

So, whether you’re a reader or a writer – or both – keep reading!

Catherine Rosevear lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband, two children and a very opinionated Tibetan Terrier. She has self-published two children’s chapter books – ‘The Secret of the Wooden Chest’ (Matador, 2017) and Mystical Moonlight’ (Matador, 2018), both of which follow the adventures of a girl called Hannah who is able to use magic to get in touch with a girl from ancient Roman times! She also writes a regular blog at, and she can be contacted through her blog for information about school visits and book sales.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Book Review: "Sally's Birthday Wish" by Ivette Corza

⭐⭐ out of 5

Well, before even opening the book I can already tell that it doesn't meet industry standards 'cos it's 7 pages too long, even for older picture books!  I'm already knocking off a star because of that, so we're at 4 stars before I've even opened it up!

The images are already letting the book down 'cos they are grainy and obviously copied and pasted from images that have been found online... I hope the author has gained permission to use them before publishing this book!

The author is using adult words in a picture book, that would confuse at best and upset at worst!  How many 5 year olds call their soft toys a "stuffed animal"?  That's another star knocked off.

Now the author has used Peter Pan and Wendy in her story... it's highly unlikely that she's gained permission to use those characters in her book!  That definitely calls for the removal of another star 'cos that's breaking an international law!

Just finished the book and there isn't a single word of speech in the entire thing!  There are a few places where it could easily have been speech and therefore more interesting to young listeners.  I'm guessing that the author didn't put her book through any edits, let alone a crit group.  It's hard being told these things so publically, but if a bit more time had gone into it then it might have had a higher star rating.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Book Review: "Science meet God: An Element is Born" by Tabitha Womack

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Just from looking at the cover, I'm seriously hoping this isn't a horror type book 'cos they give me nightmares for ages afterwards and I'm 42 instead of a teen❗❗

Oookaaaay❓  Why has it got a character page... surely I should be able to make up my own mind about the characters... why does each character's relationship need to be explained before we even get to the first page of the book❓  Are the relationships really so confuzzled from the outset❓  Why couldn't the author have used her world-building to incorporate them into the actual novel❓

The next page is a Lakota dictionary and we haven't even got to the first chapter yet❗❗

Now a Spanish dictionary too... 8 pages into a novella and I haven't even got to the first chapter yet❗

At last!  Chapter 1 and we can finally get going❗

It's good so far, but what is a punny❓  Is it American slang or has the author created a word because the novella is set in the future❓

There have been a few grammar errors that should have easily been picked up during editing and definitely before publication... things like a full stop being on a new line and then the next letter not being capitalised which I let slip through 'cos we're all human, but not closing the speechmarks should have been picked up a loooong time before publication❗

Not sure that I'd want a 13 year old reading swearing like there has been in chapter 1 and in the first paragraph of chapter 2 as well.

Another spelling mistake that should have been picked up in the first edit of the manuscript.

Another swear - not good at all❗

More grammar problems... this is really starting to spoil a potentially decent story now❗

Another chunk that could have done with better editing... this is starting to frustrate me now  😞

There's two lots of chapter 5... either this book wasn't edited at all or the author/editor just said they'd edited without even opening up the document.  There have been too many errors to receive the full 5 stars unfortunately, so we're currently down to four.

This is a really good book, but there are far too many basic errors throughout it - misplaced speechmarks now❗

Oh❗  The book finished just as it got going❗  That's pretty frustrating... if the author had kept writing, it could have been a fantastic novel for young adults as opposed to a good novella in need of editing❗

Friday, 29 May 2020

Another update to the writing software for my members

Just added another update to the full version of the writing software for my members so if you've been pondering on becoming a member, now would be a good time to do it 'cos my members will always be my top priority.

Other than the software, what else would you find beneficial on the Stories 4 Children site that I can look into putting up for you?  I'm open to most ideas, but I need to know what else you want to see first.  Leave me a comment in reply to this and I'll see what I can come up with for you!

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Book Review: "Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria" by J M Bergen

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

So far, so OK, but the author is already getting on my reading wick by not knowing/using the correct spelling of dropping the second s after the ' when a word ends with an s already - the author has written it as Arius's instead of Arius' which is already annoying me after only 10 pages.  I seriously hope it improves as I read further or I'll be knocking off a star for that alone!

I hope the author has got permission to use the Wikipedia brand or they could get into serious hot water!

Same with using the Avengers branding too!

It should be Nuh-uh instead of Unh uh too.

Enjoyed the last part of chapter 2 - served them right!  lol

Amazon too now... that's three internet giants that could come down heavily on the author if their brand names are being used without permission.  That's a second star off, so we're down to 3 stars now.

The author is definitely in their stride with this story now!  Some of the names are really hard to pronounce which kinda takes a bit away from the story, but not as bad as I was thinking the first few times I read them!

Chapter 10 is good and I'm mightily relieved that neither of them threw up or drew blood!

Oooh!  I'm loving these next chapters - full of intensity and we're not even half way through yet!

Oh dear... we're back to using trademarks without permission again - it had been going so well too  :-(

Yep, the author is definitely into their writing zone now and after a shakey start, it's looking good now.  Currently up to chapter 20 and the last 4 hours have just slipped past without me realising!  I definitely want to keep reading this book now and can't wait to find out what happens next!

Another trademark used that could lead to hot water... the author has created a great story, so why not create new websites and products too?

And another trademark!  If they were lesser-known brands then I would have let the author off without marking them down, but they've chosen to use giants instead!  I've already knocked off a star for doing this, so I'll be kind and not knock off any more, but the author really needs to not use such huge names because they will be able to afford more than the author can.  A simple email to each brand is all that it takes 'cos I've done it myself with my own books... better to be safe than sorry and all that jazz!

Oooh, chapter 27 was good... the tension is definitely building now!  The tension is building in chapter 28 too... don't be fooled, Thomas, Scott and Enrique!!

These next chapters are unremarkable after such good ones... currently up to chapter 34 and it's just plodding along again, but I suppose that's OK after all the action and tension in the lead-up to them.

The end of chapter 38 came out of nowhere!

These chapters are making me hold my breath!  I'm up to chapter 46 now and the tension is incredible!

I've just finished it and while most of it is good, the first and last few chapters are un-necessary and would have been a lot better if the author had just got straight into the action.  A good 3 stars from me!

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Book Review: "A Tale of Tyrannosauruses and sixty five million years later" by Carl Cupper

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

First thing to strike me about this book is that the title is waaaaay to long... it would have been a lot better to just finish the title after the Tyrannosauruses bit!

OK, so I'm 6 pages in and already the author has used words that a child wouldn't understand and measurements that would confuse them because they aren't metric... I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt to start off with though.

Still using feet and tons as well as a tiny amount of speech, so that's one star gone after only 18 pages.

AFAIK being a cold blooded mammal doesn't automatically mean you sleep during the day... I think what the author meant here was nocturnal animals rather than "cold blooded animas" (author's typo, not mine lol).

There's the use of poorly chosen words again - a newly confident reader wouldn't know what "appease the mischievious impulses of his brothers using reason as a resource" meant and may well give up, close the book and never pick it up again, even though we are less than a quarter of the way through it so far!

And now a biology lesson!  We've got "olfactory lobes" as well as "femur" and "tibia" - I'm 42 and even at that age, don't know where they all are without a biology text book in front of me!  That's another star off!

Now the author is adding yards to the feet and miles too!  It wouldn't be so bad if it was just occasionally but it seems to be at every opportunity!

There are also no chapters which'll be a nightmare when I head to bed tonight!  There isn't even very much speech to break it up - the dinosaurs really can speak in this story because they do, very occasionally, there just isn't very much of it at all.

Ah-ha!  A conversation with real speech!  Well over half way through, but it should have been like that from the start!

I'm confused by this earthquake... at first I thought it was a naturally caused earthquake, then a couple of paragraphs later I corrected myself that it was a huge dinosaur herd then a few paragraphs after that we're back to the natural earthquake again!  If it confuses a 42 year old then it's going to be even worse for the child reading it!

Now mountains are growing like magic out of the ground in minutes!  I realise it's fiction, but even so, there are things that can't be changed so that it's not as unbelievable!  Apparently seconds later the ground splits apart and swallows several dinosaurs then it's all over a few minutes later.  Minutes after that we've got a river now!

I wish I could have given a more positive review of this book, but I just can't unfortunately  😞

Friday, 15 May 2020

1 manuscript edited, several more to go

Just finished editing a MG fantasy novel that I'm now really proud of.  If I can get through a MG or YA novel both days of the weekend, I'll be really proud of myself and won't feel guilty about going back to studying on Monday.  It's a day earlier than I was thinking, but that's OK too - I knew it needed to be done, so I just got straight on with it 😌 👍.

Time to take my pills and head to bed soon I reckon.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020


Just written a particularly gross older PB... definitely not the kinda thing to read around the time it's eat! 🤣  I'm hoping it'll gross out the adult reading it and bring a smile (or hopefully an understanding chuckle) to the face of the child(ren) listening to it.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Book Review: "Tales of Nibiru Volume One Z.I.R.M." by B B Taylor

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

A great little read, only took about 2 hours to read from start to finish because it's so short (60 pages) and I thought I was gonna lose my lunch a few times at the gross descriptions of the blood and felt a bit scary even for a middle-ager at times too, so definitely not a bed-time read, but if you're looking for a quick, unique read, definitely put this in front of your eyes!

The descriptions of the blood and the fights is the only reason I'm knocking off a star.

Keep up the great writing, B B Taylor!

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Book Review: "You’re Amazing And I’ll Prove It!" by Neal G Brownell

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a weird kinda book... it's not fiction, but at the same time it's not non-fiction either... it's a kind of mix between the two - a fun, thoughtful book presented in a unique way that gets the reader thinking in new, better, more positive ways - great work, Neal!

I'm knocking the star off because of some of the illustrations - they look like they've been downloaded, cut out, pasted onto the page and a drop-shadow added.

I'm arachnaphobic, so seeing all these drawings of spiders sends my anxiety through the roof, but I've literally just learnt that small spiders prefer darker rooms because there is less light and therefore less insects milling about.  In the two decades I've been living here I've seen maybe 3 or 4 big, strong spiders in total, but there are more fragile spiders, especially during the darker months, so does that mean that we've got the level of light in all our rooms just about right so that I don't come into contact with the 8-legged creatures?

The comparisons are good and well-thought-out that make you consider different situations and would get an older child thinking more outside the box than maybe they did before.  I'm thinking that either some of the word choices need to be more considered for Middle-Graders or the language in general needs to be more mature for teens.

The measurements need to be metric... there's no way a child or even a teen would know how far away "200 feet" is, or how wide the wingspan is at "seven feet" - at the time of writing this review, I'm 42 years old and even *I* don't know how far that is lol  The next page says "3 to 5 inches" and there's no way a 9 year old would be willing to sit there and multiply things by two and a half centimetres and they may forget to ask their parents or even grandparents what that is in metric measurements they can understand.  A teen might be slightly more willing to work it out, but it's more likely that they would give up without even trying.

Ah-ha!  The author has just said that he's 58 years old at the time he wrote the book, so that explains why he used imperial rather than metric measurements, but his readers are a lot younger than that and wouldn't have a clue what his measurements meant, just like he wouldn't have a clue about centimetres and grams!

There have been superscripts throughout the book that would confuse a 9 year old at best and frustrate a teen that they were expected to use their boring education from school English lessons in their free time... it's a book, not an interview or academic paper or even a college assignment and it's supposed to be aimed at younger readers (the author said it was a Young Adult novel, then changed his mind to Middle Grade when I asked him the age range it was aimed at - the book is marketed to Young Adults aka teens, but the author has now decided it's Middle Grade which is 9-12!).

Overall a very good read, the author just needs to sort out the early images and decide on the age that he's written for then stick to it.  A well-deserved 4 stars.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Lockdown fun - do you wanna join in?

The hubby (Steve/my tech support guy) was listening to the radio or a podcast or summat while he was making our lunch and I heard a tiny snippet of it as I was making my way through to the bathroom, which inspired me to ask if anyone wanted to join in with it.

The task is to write a story of under 1500 words that centres around the theme of either creating a new school from scratch and/or coping with a fictional pandemic.

You will, of course, retain all rights to your work, you just give me permission to put it on the Stories 4 Children site for others to enjoy.  I can't pay you and I can't offer you any kind of support or representation or anything like that, but I will give you your own page on the site and you can submit as many stories as you want (within reason 😉) and you'll be able to link to your page in your writer's CV and queries and stuff like that.

Email your stories to me and make sure you give me the name you want me to add after the © after each of your stories.

If you're an illustrator and want to join in, then go for it, just keep your images to under 500 pixels on its longest side and the smallest file size possible (but please remember that jpg's lose quality the more they are viewed, so gifs and pngs are prolly the best file types to choose).

If you are submitting several stories/illustrations, then please zip up and upload them to a cloud-based file-sharing app like One Drive and email the link to me so that I can download them straight onto my machine to put on your page.

If you want me to link your story/illustration to your site/email address, just let me know what the URL/email address is on each of your submissions and I'll happily get it sorted for you.

I'm NOT publishing your work, I won't be able to pay you for it and you're more than welcome to send it out to publishers and agents if you want to, it's just something informal and hopefully fun to get those creative juices flowing again and break up the boredom/anxiety/stress that comes with each day of the lockdown.

Can't wait to see what you come up with❗

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Book Review: The Nameless by Allison Rose

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Waaaaay too much boring backstory in the first few chapters... doesn't really get going until chapter 12 which is 56 pages of boredom.

There could be a lot more speech (or at least thoughts) by the main character to explain the things that are just boring text right now.  It's a reasonable book so far, but there is already a lot that can be improved which is on the verge of another star being knocked off, but I'm in a reasonable mood this afternoon so it's at 3.5 stars instead of 3 right now  ;-)

Chapter 14 is a lot better, so I'm gonna promote it back to the 4 stars again.  Chapter 15 was good too... the author is really getting into her story now, which is great.

I'm really enjoying the novel now... I've read ten chapters without stopping to review any of them 🤣  Still a solid 4 stars... would have been the full 5 if it hadn't been for the first few chapters!

What a great ending!  If you can forgive the first few chapters this is a great read when the author gets into her stride.  A solid 4 stars before I head to bed.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Book Review: Beau Bear: The Tale of the Hidden Blue Treasure by M.R. Everette

⭐⭐ out of 5

First off, this book is aimed at 4-6 year olds but they have very different reading abilities... 4 year olds don't know how to read the alphabet, but 6 year olds are just starting to read books themselves with adult help, so who is it more suitable for?

Also, the title alone would put children off because they wouldn't know what "beau" was, let alone how to pronounce it!

Oh dear.  If a child looked at the first page of text, they would put the book back on the shelf 'cos in only one page there are more words than a 6 year old could read... way too daunting!

In the first paragraph alone, there are words waaaay too advanced for such young children... I'm thinking this is more for 8-10+ rather than 4-6 and even they would struggle already!

Another page full of text!  This is definitely more for older children than the small ones it's aimed at and we haven't even got onto the boat yet!

And a third page full of text... the author has lost even the most dedicated reader by now and has used up an entire book's industry-length word count on each page and there's still 9 pages to go!

There's no way any child would know how tall "forty-foot high waves" were either... it's been metric for well over 30 years so far!

Just finished reading the book and it's waaaay to advanced for the audience it's aimed at... it's more like a very short early chapter book without the chapters judging by the vocabulary and length the author has used.

Judging by the graphics, this is a self-published book too and I'm guessing the author had got so frustrated by the rejections from publishers with it not meeting industry standards that they gave up and self-published it rather than seriously editing it to meet requirements of the industry.

I don't like giving negative reviews, but there is very little I can find to be positive about with this book, unfortunately.  Sorry.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

New page in the members area!

Just added a new page to the members area with a new way to work when it comes to planning your next WIP!

Now would be a good time to sign up to become a member if you haven't done so yet!

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Book Review: "Super Doll" by Erin Schulz

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

 Oooh!  I've got a novel written in the first person in front of me, it seems!  I'm already inside the main characters head which is great going by the author!  Definitely deserving of the 5 stars each book I review starts out with.  I hope the novel continues like it starts off!  Immediate thoughts are that this is a great book so far... I hope I'm not disappointed in it by the end!

I hope the author has permission to use the Wikipedia brand name in her novel otherwise she could land herself in legal hot water.

Really enjoying this book so far... I'm already at chapter 3 and it still deserves those 5 stars.

The author has used the Oreo brand name too, so I hope she got permission to use it before her book was published!

There have been a few places where Piper has been talking to herself but the author has forgotten the inverted comma's to indicate this... slightly annoying but is that and the brand names enough for me to knock off a star??

There's the brand name problem again... it was going so well, but the brand name usage and not distinguishing the thoughts from the rest of the words is the reason I'm reluctantly knocking off this star, so we're down to 4 stars, but considering there are only 64 pages left to read tomorrow, that's really good going!

First chapter of the day starts off pretty mysteriously...

And another brand name usage!  I seriously hope the author has permission to use them all!

The end of chapter 22 is tense and slightly exciting... WTG!

Oooh!  The end of chapter 27 came out of nowhere... I thought it was Piper throughout the novel!

I really wasn't expecting the ending!!

What an awesome read and a definite must-read for Young Adults and even young-at-heart adults!

Monday, 6 April 2020

Just another update in the members area!

Just updated a page in the member's area... I'm gonna make a start on it tomorrow because it's unlimited submissions so I'm gonna make the most of the opportunity... are you going to join me❓  😄

Friday, 3 April 2020

Another update to the members area

Just added a new page to the members area - I can't log in to check it atm for some reason, but if you can then definitely have a look!  I'll add more as I come across them  😃

Any ideas please?

Hello again everyone.

I wanna make the most of the lockdown by at least planning, but hopefully also writing my next manuscript.

Sounds good so far, right?

Thing is though, I'm all out of ideas and can't afford to buy any software or books or even magasines to give me ideas... can't even afford the shopping until Monday!  Can you help me out pretty please?  If you've got an idea that I can expand on, I'll use your name (or a name of your choosing if you prefer) as the main character.  I'm all out of ideas even for the title of the manuscript.

I'm thinking maybe a fantasy novel but if you've got other ideas, just leave them in the comments in reply to this blog post!

If you don't have any ideas for MG/YA then how about a chapter book instead?  I'm totally open to pretty much anything right now and if you've got more than one idea, leave more than one comment and more than one name!

If you're more of a primary school ideas person then that's totally cool too, just a single paragraph with just the main characters first name is all I need for them - just leave a couple of blank lines in between each idea in a single post for those.

I write for all ages, but my muse has totally deserted me again, so I'm opening up the floor to you, the readers of my blog!

Over to you!  Can't wait to read your ideas and start on the planning out of my next manuscript!

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Another update to the member's only software

Just updated one of the pieces of software for my members... if you're interested in becoming a member and getting access to members only software, you can apply here!  If you're already a member then you get access to all the updates that I make, just like this.

Lemme know what else you wanna see on the site and in the members area and I'll definitely consider it and try and come up with something that hopefully exceeds your expectations!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Book review: “Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers" by Chris Stevenson

“Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers" by Chris Stevenson 
 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5 

This is a good start to the book, but in the UK everything is metric measurements now, so I very much doubt that the readers this book is aimed at will understand what the author means with the “nearly three foot in diameter” means getting on for a metre… even older teens are unlikely to be able to imagine it!

Same with the word choices of “fetid odor emanating” too! I’m already thinking that the readers will need a dictionary or a parent/carer/teacher to understand some of the word choices and I’m only a few pages into it so far!

I hope the author has permission from Wikipedia, Benadryl and Motrin to use their brand names in the novel!!

It’s getting better the further you read, so it’s worth sticking by it if you want to… it’s just way too telling, too many characters and using too many brand names which could get the author into legal hot water if they haven’t got permission to use them.

The author is really into their stride now! There could still be improvements and speech instead of descriptions but so far so good with this now!

The last chapter is a bit confusing… it’s just copied and pasted from the start of the book, isn’t it??

Not sure if it’s been copied and pasted word for word, but the last few paragraphs of the book make sense and it’s a positive ending.

There have been a few dull, boring bits throughout the book, but it definitely deserves the four stars I’m giving it now that I’ve finished reading it!