Saturday 10 December 2022

As long as...

...I can keep knocking out 4 chapters a day, I'll be finished in time for my 20th December cut-off date.  As of now I'm 10% of the way through and I had a late start this morning, thanks to indecision on my part, so as long as I can knock that on the head I'll be able to get it done and dusted in time.

I'm proud of everything I've achieved so far in 2022 - I've written 2 novels, started writing a third and I've edited over 100 other manuscripts, as well as entering a competition that I stand a decentish chance of being taken seriously for, rather than tutted at and ignored.  I've got my query email in better shape and I know which manuscripts I'm gonna feel most confident about querying.  I'm gonna spend more time reading rather than just using rejections to move further down the conveyer belt.

2023 is gonna be my year.

So far this morning, I've...

...started writing the sequel to my strongest MS 'cos I got woken up by my muse at 5am and I wanted to write it before I forgot.

This is a few months after the first book ends and I'm enjoying writing and finishing this manuscript again.  Justin and Mr Case are quickly gaining confidence and I'm tieing up loose threads and giving them both a fresh start after leaving Mum.

I'm giving myself until the 20th to write the first draft so that I can come back to reality for a few days before going over to see Steve's mum and sister on Christmas Day, then I'll have a few days to recover before I start writing again for JanNo.

I'm not rewarding myself with J2O's for this MS - they are purely NaNo and JanNo rewards but I'm feeling inspired so wanna make the most of it while I can.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Book Review: "Magpie" by Eve Ainsworth

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other, more recent, book reviews then you'll already know that I start them all off in the same way - by saying that every book starts off with the full shebang of stars and that I always give reasons for knocking any stars off.

I'm wondering what sort of book it'll be, after reading the description of it... there's only one way to find out I guess!

I've got another two of the authors books to read too and it doesn't say they are in a series so I'm seriously hoping that they are stand-alone novels.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I can already tell that this book is gonna have me in tears and I've only read the first chapter!

The ultimate test of this book will be if I manage to finish off my hot drink before it goes cold... that's always the sign of an awesome book for me.

Yep, this is a tear-jerker alright.  It's like the author starts out each chapter purely an innocently but by the end, my head is kinda going "get ready with the tissues 'cos the emotion is gonna spill out of your eyes..." then the chapter ends and we're back to normality again!  lol

My hot drink is just above tepid now, so one more chapter and it'll be cold lol

I have yet to find a single reason to even *consider* making a star wobbly let alone getting rid of it altogether.  This author really knows her audience and the fact that it's a first-person narrator is so refreshing too!

Chapter 3 wasn't quite as heart-wrenching as the first two, so I can actually breathe and relax now and my hot drink is, officially, cold.

I won't comment on any more chapters unless something significant needs to be mentioned, just take it as read that this is definitely worthy of all five stars in my eyes.

Ooh!  It's all getting nervously exciting now!  It's mentioned a social media brand though, so like with other awesome books that have done it, we're disappointingly down to four stars for potential trademark infringement... I'm seriously hoping that it's got a bit at the back to say that it's used fictitiously or with permission though!

Bullseye.  The bit I was hoping for after the story ended *is* there, so the fifth star jumps straight back on.

This is a definite must-read... especially if you like happy-ever-afters - no spoilers though, promise.

Monday 5 December 2022

Just had...

...a bit of a rapid change around of the shop URLs on the Stories 4 Children site because the shop that I had originally set things up with had suddenly gone from being free to charging fees for the shops, adding in a transaction fee of 1.2% to every transaction and no longer accepting personal PayPal accounts, so I've done a bit of a re-jig of things and added more things that you can buy as well as bulk discounts for my members on top of their already discounted prices and it just means that you'll need to email me with your order so that I can create an invoice for you to pay before I make a start on your order.  A big PITA but t'was necessary and it's all in one place now.

Friday 18 November 2022

Book Review: "No Filter" by Orlagh Collins

⭐ out of 5

 If you've read any of my other recent book reviews then you'll already know that I always start each one in the same way - by saying that every book starts off with the full basket of stars and I'm always hopeful that it'll still be a 5 star book by the time I close my Kindle.  You'll also know that I always give my reasons for knocking stars off and that 5 star books usually break my heart and become 4 stars because of use of brands potentially without permission.  The last book that I read said before the first page of the story started that brand names were used fictitiously in the story so they kept the full five stars despite using brand names pretty often... it just needs that one sentence or an acknowledgement to the company to keep that 5th star firmly in place.

Let's get reading and reviewing!

Oh dear, the first star is wobbly at only 1% because the author has used a well-known internet website... it's still clinging on, but barely - any more usage of brand names and the first star is coming off because there wasn't that sentence right at the start about the brands being used fictitiously.  And off it comes in the next sentence because of use of the use of a festival  :-(  The only way to get it back to 5 stars now is if they are included in the acknowledgements  :-(

The first section was OK at best, but it was pretty much entirely in italics which made for incredibly hard reading and has made my eyes ache like mad.

I'm a touch confused about the language used - some of it is American (like the use of "form" instead of "year") but the author has used the UK spelling of "mum" so if a mid-forties woman is confused, imagine what a young teen would be feeling already!  There has also been very little speech between the characters so far so it's already boring me... will this be a book that I skip more than I read?  The second star is slipping off, so we're already down to 3 stars after only 3%.

At last!  The end of the first chapter at 5%!  I'm already regretting every penny I spent on this book, unfortunately.

I'm guessing this is definitely an American author 'cos there have been three swears in a page and a half that would be unlikely to pass a UK publishers approval.  They're not bad swears, thankfully, but they are still there so the third star is coming off at only 6% and I don't reckon I'll even get a quarter of this book before I give up on it at this rate.

And now we're in Ireland... that's three countries and varying spellings in only 7%.  Unless things dramatically improve for the rest of this chapter, the fourth star is coming off and I'm stopping reading this book.

That's a relief - I got to the end of the chapter without feeling like I had to knock the final star off.  I've got 92% of the book left to get through and only one star left before I give up... not looking too promising right now, is it?

Ooh!  That was a decent chapter!  The first one in this book that I haven't needed to knock a star off during... does this mean that I'll get through the rest of the book now and that the author has finally found her inspiration?  I certainly hope so!

A second good chapter!  The author is definitely in her stride now!

After a good couple of chapters, it's back to boredom again.  I'm up to 71% now and I'm looking forward to the end of this blimmin' book... total waste of time and money.

I've scrolled forward another 20% and it really hasn't improved, so the fourth and final star is coming off.  What a hugely disappointing book.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Book Review: "My Messed-Up Life" by Susin Nielsen

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read my recent book reviews, you'll already know that I start 'em all off by saying that they all start off with the full shebang of stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will all still be stuck firmly in place by the time I finish reading.

I've also just (as in within the last hour) finished reading my first ever book by this author and discovered that this one came out before the one I've just read, so I'm hoping they are both stand-alone books otherwise it might get very confusing, very quickly lol

Let's get reading and reviewing.

Ooh!  Looks like I'll be buying and reading *all* of this authors books then, 'cos I've already read one and the other 4 are on my TBR pile... if this book is as good as the first one I read, will this author be a new favourite author for me?  I hope so!

Oh dear, the first star should be coming off on the first page of the first chapter but it said before the novel started that the things were being used fictitiously, so the star is staying on this time, thankfully.  Still a 5 star book and will hopefully all still be solidly in place when I finish reading it.

The first two chapters have been incredible and soo worthy of those 5 stars.  They *are* standalone books, which is a relief.  If it keeps on like this, it'll be a well-deserved 5 stars when I close the back cover... will I be blubbing at the end like I was with the previous book I read by this author?

Wowsers!  I'm already up to chapter 5 and I've yet to find a single thing to complain about at all, which is very unlike me!

Blimey Charlie!  I'm up to chapter 24 (88%) now and there still hasn't been any reason to knock a star off!  I'm gonna go and get myself a drink (cold this time lol) then finish off reading this incredible book.  WTG the author - she's rapidly becoming one of my favourites!

This book just gets better and better... I'm at chapter 27 now and I haven't got a clue what I've done with my life since I started reading this gorgeous book yesterday afternoon.  This is a definite must-read book for everyone - adults and children alike!

Just finished reading and it's been an incredible book from start to finish.  There were brand names and one famous person used throughout, which would usually mean I took off a star, but right at the start of the book the author wrote that they were all used fictitiously, so the star stays firmly in place.

If you're an adult looking for a comforting, easy read or a 10+ year old child wanting to find your next escape, then you need to grab this book and set aside a day to devour it in.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Book Review: "No Fixed Address" by Susin Nielsen

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that they all start off with me saying that each book starts with the full whack of stars and that I'm always hopefull that they will all still be firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.

Let's get reading and reviewing shall we?

It's been a great start to this book but, like with the majority of childrens books, the author is using copyrighted or trademarked names already, so at only 7% of the way through, the first star is unfortunatly wobbling off.

Want to know the sign of a great book for me?  A hot drink going cold.  My drink isn't even tepid any more!  lol  Let's try with a new hot drink shall we?  lol

This is a great little book so far!  I know it's a children's book and I'm middle-aged, but it's a light, relaxing, easy read and so deserving of every one of those four stars!

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  The end of chapter 10 is breaking my heart.  Poor kid... I hope there's a happy ever after to this story!

Another heartbreaking chapter... poor Felix and Astrid!

Ooh!  Looks like we're gonna be meeting Daniel soon!

I swear that this book is gonna have me in tears before the end of it lol

At about 70% things are making me feel a touch stressed out for poor Felix and Astrid!

This book is gonna break me before lunchtime... I can already tell lol

77% of the way through now and I'm already holding my breath for poor Felix, but totally understand why he's angry with his two friends 'cos I would be too.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  This is definitely gonna break me and have me in tears by the time I close the back cover!  No spoilers, but you seriously need to buy and read this book.

Wow.  What a perfect ending.  I'm blubbing like a good 'un too so my prediction yesterday was spot on.

Sunday 6 November 2022

Aaand... relax

I've just (about 15 minutes ago) finished NaNo by writing my 50,015th word in 6 days, which totally smashes last year's PB of 8 days and I'm setting or beating PBs all over the place this year.

We're celebrating with a Cafe Nero (decaff Mocha Grande with soya milk and a salted caramel shot for me) and a Subway pig-out because I've barely eaten since lunchtime on Monday (literally all I've had are 4 cookies, 2 giant flapjacks and a packet of biscuits) so I'm filling up on whatever I can get my hands on without getting bloated now.

If you're in the process of writing your NaNo novel - just keep going.  You can do this.  You've got just over 3 weeks to go and you can't edit a blank page.

I'm gonna be spending the next few days coming back to reality so I'm not sure when I'll re-start the news and stuff but I'm around again as of now.

Saturday 5 November 2022

8 down...

...just another 7 chapters to go then that's it for another year already.

There are really loud fireworks banging away outside so I won't be able to sleep yet, so I'm thinking that I'll write an extra couple of bonus chapters tonight so that I can get my secondary celebration (my primary is a second J2O) ordered in before it's too late for me to eat and drink it before I head to bed tomorrow.

I can read the letters on the finishing banner now... just gotta muster up the last few thousand words tomorrow then the champagne corks can pop as I type the final full stop and stumble over the finishing line.

Unless there is a huuuge problem in the next 20-ish hours like a fire or theft or I die or whatever, I can pretty confidently predict that I'll finish tomorrow and be able to eat for the first time in November.

Friday 4 November 2022


...smashing NaNo this year.

Just got another 15k to go at the weekend then that's me finished until 2023.

I'm totally cream crackered, so I'm off to bed now.

Please keep your fingers crossed that nothing major happens this weekend so that I can see Monday in, in the real world rather than the fantasy world I've been writing for the last 4 days.

I hope any fellow NaNo-ers are feeling as positive about their novel as I am!

Thursday 3 November 2022

Feeling really...

...proud of myself now 'cos I've written 11k words today and I'm now up to 27,002 words, so my new target is to finish NaNo22 before Subway closes on Sunday.  Just got 23k left to write and then that's it finished until January.

Only 3 days in and...

...I'm officially half way through my entire NaNo novel which means I'm on track to smash my personal best last year of finishing in 8 days and I'll hopefully finish on the evening of the 6th with any luck.

Only written 8 chapters so far today and would love to get 10 written in one day, but I'm not gonna push it if I'm too tired by the end of the 9th chapter of the day.  I'm happy with reaching half way, so any other writing today is a bonus.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

After the first... of NaNo, I'm feeling OK at what I've achieved today.  I spent 3 hours first thing talking to Steve instead of writing and I've stopped an hour earlier than I was hoping to as well, so I've basically already lost 4 writing hours on the first day.

I managed to crank out 7,002 words by the time I finished writing for the day, which ain't too bad and if I can get those 4 hours in tomorrow that I missed today, I'll hopefully just about squeeze out 10k tomorrow and hopefully Thursday as well as Friday with any luck.  I'm over my hump (the first three chapters) now though, so hopefully it'll be a writeathon with no more interruptions now.

Gotta remember that Scott has just made his first friend in Ash, so that they don't appear in only one chapter then never get seen again.

Assuming I can keep cranking out 7k a day, I'll be finished on the 9th, which is pretty good going I reckon, considering it's supposed to last for 30 days lol

Monday 31 October 2022

Really looking forward to...

...writing this years NaNo novel 'cos I can be cheeky and naughty and mischievious in it and blame it on research lol  


It's not a feel-good novel or an emotional novel and there won't be any bullying in it for a change - it'll be my attempt at humour and making the reader chuckle or at least grin throughout it.  Just reading the plan lifted my mood significantly and brought a mischievious grin to my face, so hopefully I'll be able to offer that to future child readers too lol

I've even got the blurb sorted for it already too and I haven't even started writing it yet lol

No news today so...

...that's it for at least a week 'cos NaNo starts at midnight and I'm not gonna be doing anything other than writing and updating my NaNo stats at the end of each day.  It'll prolly be 8-10 days before I post again and that'll hopefully be to say I've won and then I can get out of the head of my fictional characters and back to reality.