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❗