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.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

NaNo22 and JanNo23

Just got the header, footer and documents prepared for me to get straight on with the writing on 1st November and 1st January, so all I need to do now is to start writing and writing and writing until I hit the magic 50,000 words in 30 days.

My target for this year is to finish on 10th November and 10th January, although I would dearly love to finish before that.  I managed it in 8 days for this years JanNo and that's my challenging target for each of the competition things (never sure what to call them lol) but my aim is to write 5,000 words a day and be finished by the time I head to bed on the 10th so that I can have my celebratory second J2O.  If I can knock out 7,000 words a day, that'd be ideal, but too much pressure will get the writer's block out of hiding and I'll be totally screwed, so I'm aiming for 5k a day and anything else is a bonus.

I've got an added incentive to try for NaNo and JanNo this time around - have an additional motivational J2O immediately before I start writing on the first day, as well as my intended reward for hitting 5k a day and a celebratory one as soon as I hit my 50,000th word.  Not sure that my body will appreciate having such an early drink that isn't my usual tea, coffee or drinking chocolate, but if it doesn't work then that's totally OK and I'll know not to do it for NaNo23 and to just stick to what has worked up until now, but I won't know if I don't at least try!

Is anyone else doing NaNo this year or am I the only one I know who still does it?

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Book Review: "Bugs" by J.R. Tiedemann

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other book reviews, you'll already know that I start them all off by saying that every book starts with the full five stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will all still be in place by the time I finish reading.  You'll also know that I'm not averse about knocking of star for copyright/trademark usage potentially without permission.  If there's a note either at the start or end of the book that says the author has gained approval, then the star immediately regains its rightful place, but if there's no acknowledgement or anything like that then the star stays off.

Let's get going with the review now, shall we?

It's 180 pages long, so hopefully I'll get it finished and reviewed before I head to bed tonight.  I hope there isn't anything gross in it otherwise I'll lose whatever is in my stomach lol

I'm on page 1 and I'm already learning stuff... I feel sorry for the poor male ants though - that's a very short life expectancy by anyone's standards!

I'm not sure which age this book was written for, but I'm guessing it's maybe end of Primary school kinda age?  It's friendly and accessible, but I'm not sure that the reader would understand the reason for footnotes and how to read them, so maybe it's for lower Secondary school aged children?

Those poor ants!  The author has got it spot on though!

Flies next.

OMG!  I'm learning about flies' sense of smell now and it's amazing me how powerful it is!

Ewww!  That's so gross!  I understand why people wave flies away from food now though - it's not just because they are an insect, it's because of what they do!

This is a truly gross book that children will love and I'm learning so much about the insects that also inhabit our world!

This review is getting long again so like with all longer books, I'll stop commenting on each chapter/insect now.

I'm not sure a UK child would understand what a few of these insects are and it was obviously written for the American audience 'cos of how mum is spelt which could be confusing to the young audience this book is intended for so the first star is coming off unfortunately.

Urgh, spiders next, which is already sending a nervous shiver down my spine.

That's a relief... I'm up to little buzzy bees now.  I made friends with a bee in our back yard a couple of years ago and they are now my favourite insect, so it'll be interesting to see what the author has to say about my little friends!

It's good that mating is included, but I'm not so sure it should be quite so graphic for children who are maybe only just learning about human reproduction, let alone insects too!

OK, I've finished reading now and it's a good, well-written, informative book but I'm wondering if maybe the author should have thought about certain things a bit differently and rephrased certain parts so that it didn't scare or confuse such young readers.  It's a good book, but needs to be read by an adult before it's given to a child I reckon.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Book Review: "Throw Away Teen" by Shannon Kennedy


⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that you can skip the first paragraph, right?  If this is the first of my reviews that you've read, I basically say that each book starts off with the full collection of 5 stars and I try to remain hopeful that they will all still be firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.

I'm guessing, based purely on the blurby description thing for this book, that it's gonna break my poor little stoney pea-sized heart and maybe even produce a few tears.  The sign of a fantastic book for me is having a hot drink go stone cold on me before I finish it.  I'm currently half way down a drinking chocolate... will the remaining half be cold as stone too?

I don't always remember to say that I'm a stickler for not using trademarks without permission and I don't hesitate to knock a star off if a trademark is used.  I read and finished reading an ARC of another book yesterday and for the first time ever I reinstated the fifth star right at the end of the review because there was an acknowledgements section so I'm hoping that if there are brand names used in this book, they will be acknowledged either at the end or there's something at the start about them being used fictitiously then the star will stay in place otherwise it'll come off, just like in other books I've read and reviewed that use brand names potentially without permission.

Let's get going with the review of the book, shall we?

Wowsers!  What a powerful first chapter!  BJ has got oneheckuva personality on her and the author has got it down to a tee already.  This is a definite must-read already and I hope the power continues throughout... maybe not the sort of thing that I should be reading so close to bedtime though lol

I'm already wondering if maybe the author should have given the main character a different set of initials to go by though, 'cos she's 15 so the reader would only be 13 and I can just see the conversation about this book over the Sunday roast lunch - when the teen innocently gives the initials that the main character goes by and then starts talking openly and innocently about the intimate act that they are the initials of... I can see a mouthful of half-eaten roast potato flying across the table in disbelief that such a young teen has read about it so soon in a book that is aimed at exactly their age.  The name of the act is written out in full too, so the parents and carers aren't even given the opportunity to rapidly come up with a different, more innocent phrase with those two letters.

Oooh, that similie has got me chuckling softly... maybe the main character isn't such a tough nut after all?  Maybe this really *could* work out for her this time?

Just finished reading the second chapter and it's a very, very, very good book.  The main character seems to be thawing and that gift she'd been given seems to be going a long way towards breaking down the barriers she'd put up around herself all of her life.

Nooooo!!!  Not again!  Not to this book!  The author has used a famous fast food restaurant, potentially without permission, so, like with other outstanding books, the five stars is gonna have to be four stars now which absolutely breaks my heart... if there's an acknowledgements section at the back then that star is rapidly being put back on and I'm seriously hoping that's the case for this book especially!

Other than the use of the brand names, potentially without permission, chapter 3 was awesome too.  I'm gonna stop commenting on each chapter now, unless something crops up that I feel needs to be mentioned - take it as read that my silence is a nod of deep approval to the author for their incredible writing.

Where on earth has the day flown by to?  I'm at 71% now and reckon I've got one more chapter before I go and make my hubby's tea for him.  This book is absolutely awesome and it doesn't matter that I've barely eaten or drunk today - this book is sooo worth it!  I rapidly gave up on hot drinks and have been reliant on fruit squash and water all day lol

I was so so wrong in my assumptions when I started reading this awesome book and I've got a big lump in my throat as I'm getting to the end of it.  It has been so different to what I expected and I'm sooo glad I gave it a chance!




I wasn't expecting the ending but I'm so glad it happened... I'm desperately trying to swallow my tears, but they are happy, relieved tears.  This is a must-read book by everyone.

Saturday, 1 October 2022



That's every manuscript I've written in the last decade been edited into submission, so I can relax and prepare for NaNo22 for the rest of the month now.

I've just gotta find comp titles for the ones that I feel most confident about now, read (and review, of course) each of 'em and get 'em ready to go into my query email when I start subbing again.

I can officially get out of the editing headspace now, decompress and get ready for an intense November and January, ready to potentially start subbing again in February.

I've joined the Golden Egg Club now, so I'm gonna see what they think before I get too far ahead of myself and not start subbing until they've hopefully helped me to get my three strongest MSs into submittable standard.

Friday, 30 September 2022

Plan for tomorrow is to...

...crack on with editing my JanNo22 novel as soon as I've had my breakfast tomorrow, hopefully finish by the early evening (possibly without stopping for lunch 'cos it's only a MugShot) then celebrating the end of my editing year with a me-friendly tub of salted caramel ice cream <drool>

Thursday, 29 September 2022

It's starting to feel very real again now

I've just had my 8 bottles of J2O delivered to complete the reward stock-pile and it's starting to feel very real again now.

I've got enough J2O's to reward me for writing at least 5,000 words a day during both NaNo22 and JanNo23 as well as having enough for a "you can do this" drink before I start writing for NaNo and JanNo as well as a "woohoo!  You won!" when I've written the 50,000th word for each of the challenges too.

Not sure how my body will cope with a J2O as soon as I wake up on 1st November and 1st January, but I'm hoping to use J2O's to signal the start and end of both challenges this year as well as inspiration/celebration for finishing each day too.

If it works OK this year, I'll be stocking up every September/October to see me through both challenges, instead of having the bottles sitting there, potentially going off, for 10 months.

I can win again this year, just like I have for the last 11 lol  I've got everything in place and everything is ready to go - gonna meet the next 4 months head on and not get out of my character's head until I've finished each challenge and written at least 50,000 words before the end of the month.

I hope you're as ready to go as I am if you've signed up to NaNo22!  We can do this together!

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Totally sorted for...

...NaNo and JanNo now because I've still got 16 bottles of J2O left over from this year's JanNo and I've just ordered another 8 bottles of the gorgeous Glitterberry ones so I can have an encouraging one before I start writing on 1st November, then one every day that I write 5,000 words a day which would take me up to the 10th November when I'll have an extra celebratory one when I hit my 50,000th word which will complete NaNo then the same again in January.

I can sooo do this!

Monday, 26 September 2022

I love being a Scoobie!

I've literally just seen an email about something that's going on in SCBWI-BI for the next month and I've got a place that I didn't think I stood a chance of getting.  I don't know what I said or did to deserve the place but I'm sooo grateful for it!  That's two in the last 6 months and they have both come with incredible timing!

I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say so I'm gonna shut up now, but I've got a silly grin plastered to my face now lol

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Just got... manuscript left to edit and then that is officially my editing year completed.

The only manuscript is this years JanNo novel so that's had the least amount of time to sit and be forgotten out of all of them, so I'm gonna give it until Wednesday before I even start to think about editing it and it also helps that there are a couple of things out of the ordinary happening tomorrow and Tuesday so that'll hopefully help to clear my memory of the last manuscript too.

I really enjoyed today's novel though, so that's 3 older manuscripts that I feel most confident about - just gotta make sure the first three chapters on each of 'em sparkle more than they do atm.  The first three chapters are the usually the only opportunity you get to convince an agent then a publisher to take your writing on, but they are always my weakest chapters unfortunately.

Gonna go and have a look around Amazon for comp titles for this manuscript then start working my way through my "to be read" pile.

Friday, 23 September 2022

That's all my previous...

...manuscripts edited now, so I've just gotta whip my most recent NaNo and JanNo manuscripts into shape then that's my editing year completed 2 months early.

I'm hoping to knock my NaNo21 novel into shape tomorrow then my JanNo22 novel on Sunday with any luck.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Book Review: "A Dog of My Own" by Richard Clark

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews then you'll already know that I start them all in the same way - by saying that all the books I read and review start off with the full 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will all still be in place when I close the back cover.  You'll also know that I'm not shy about knocking off stars, especially for the use of brands potentially without permission.

Let's open up my Kindle and start reading and shall we?

Ooh, that's weird, it's all in italics which could make for hard reading!

Oh right!  It's a piece of media rather than real life!  That makes more sense then!

After the confuzzling bit right at the start, chapter 1 was good, but the author forgot to use italics when it was a media bit as opposed to the real world that Jonas lives in... a minor point that should have been picked up before publication, but it's forgivable, the first star is starting to wobble though.  Going by the age of Jonas, I can't see even a young teen wanting to read this though - should be a Middle Grade book rather than a Young Adult and there's no way that a 6 year old could understand some of the vocabulary used, so I'm thinking that the author has written and self-published a Middle Grade novella rather than anything else.

My heart is breaking for poor young Jonas in chapter 2 - I hope this novella has a happy ending for him!

Yaaay!  Jonas has got what he wanted - just temporarily - but they are going to learn so much for the rest of the book and I haven't found anything to complain about for 6 chapters - the battery on my Kindle is on its last legs though, so this seems like a good opportunity to charge it up... BBS.

I wasn't expecting chapter 13 at all!  How on earth are they going to keep up with the lies?!

Ooer... what's Chloe going on about in Chapter 20??  Is she talking about her or Princess??

Ah right, chapter 21 answered my question, but could there be another storyline just about starting too??

Oh dear... the first star is wobbling off at 54% because of the use of a well-known celebrity.  I always hate it when this happens, but as always happens, my sense of fair play is insisting that I take this 5 star book down to a 4  :-(

Rascal is such a clever little doggy... he's saved the day again!

Oooh!  I can see why they talked about the parents' jobs so early on in the book... at 65% the truth is starting to emerge.  A well-known graphics programme has been used semi-frequently, but I've already taken a star off for something similar so the star is staying on, but it's very wobbly.

Oooh!  Action stations at 74%!

There's still 17% of the book to go... what else is gonna happen?

Just finished reading and I'm slightly teary.  If it hadn't been for the famous actor and brand name usage, this would definitely have been a 5 star book.

As my mark of respect to...

...HRH Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family, I've chosen to do my little tiny part to show my respects for her and not do anything with any of my sites or blogs.  I've just finished reading a book that I'll review after this blog post, but out of respect, that'll be it until the 20th September 2022.  I'll continue to put up occasional book reviews, but out of respect, service will not resume properly until 20th September.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Only got...

...less than 200k words left to edit before the end of the year then that's every single manuscript I've written edited and ready for submission after NaNo22 then JanNo23 are done and dusted.  


Got a sci-fi novel to tackle next that's 75k words and I can instantly see that it's another one that is in desperate need of a structural edit, so that'll be another loooong editing process, but the other two are my most recent manuscripts that I wanna save til last so that my eyes are as fresh as possible when I hit them with their first editing session.


Assuming that I manage to knock the final three manuscripts into submittable shape within the next month, I've just gotta find and invest in similar books so that I can read them and hopefully add them to my query for each manuscript.


I've archived my only trilogy 'cos it was all over the place and I put more emphasis on the mixed feedback I'd received from crit groups rather than my passion for the main characters and it wasn't my voice any more and the other one was a duplicate of one I'd previously written so I'm guessing the original one was written for NaNo and the duplicate for JanNo and I'd totally forgotten lol  I have no doubt that crit groups work for a lot of people and the right mix of authors can help rather than hinder the manuscript, they just aren't for me right now is all.  They might work for manuscripts that you genuinely need feedback on or that you don't feel so comfortably about, they just aren't for me atm unfortunately.


Maybe a well-matched crit partner rather than crit group should be what I'm looking for 'cos it's the first few chapters that are the weakest rather than the strongest for me unfortunately.


Tuesday, 6 September 2022


...that manuscript is finally finished with the editing, so I'm gonna celebrate with a drinking choccie and get back into reality for a few days before I tackle the last OYA novel then the ones I've written in the last 18 months can go through their first round of edits too.

The end is in sight now and I'm hoping to get all the editing sorted before the end of September so that I can prepare myself for NaNo22.

It's been a long, hard slog at times but I'm just about to turn the final corner in my editing marathon and I've re-found a couple of manuscripts that I'm especially proud of, so 2023 is gonna be my year.

Saturday, 3 September 2022

That's all the...

...short stories edited, so I've just gotta edit the OYA MSs now, then the newest two manuscripts that I wrote for NaNo21 and JanNo22 then that's them all sorted and I can breathe and prepare myself for NaNo22.

With short stories, are they set out in the same way as other MSs in TNR12 with DL spacing please?  It's just that all bar one short story is TNR12 with SL spacing and the only one that's double was a competition entry, so I dunno if that was just a requirement of the entry or if all MSs are set out in exactly the same way.  Any thoughts on that would be fantastic please!

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Book Review: "Maya Makes Money" by Diya Garg


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that I start each one in the same way and that is to say that each books starts off with the full shebang of 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will still be stuck firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.

The cover of this book seems to show a girl of about 9-10 years old riding a bike, but the description immediately makes me think that it's aimed at teens - I don't know how many 9 year old girls would be interested in the financing of a new bike (or any toy) they would just want it.  I also don't know how many teens would even pick up the book showing a much younger child than them on the cover, even if they had started to get an interest in where money comes from to buy the things they want.

We shall see I guess!

Oooh!  I like the "This book belongs to..." bit and it's got me thinking that it's for the newly confident reader so we shall see how the author handles the finance part... so far so good though.

Oooh!  It's an illustrated book judging by the first page... it'll be interesting to see how it's handled and so far it seems to definitely for the newly confident reader as opposed to teens.

I'm not sure which country this book is set in, but over here in the UK it would be dangerous to send two children to buy vegetables at a market on their own.  Judging by the age of the children in the illustrations I'd say they were about 9-10 and maybe 6-7 years old which would be waaay too young to send children out alone over here in the UK and would get too-young children pleading to go to shopping alone "because the children in the book did, so why can't I?"

Ah right, the currency that has been quoted is Rupees so it must be set in India where it seems to be a lot safer to move around and could get the conversation about other countries and the currencies they use to buy things started.  Still a 5 star book in my eyes.

It's a great start to explaining budgeting and saving!  I'm hoping I was wrong at the start of this review when I said it might be too complicated for newly confident readers... if it keeps on like this, it'll be a wonderful way to introduce it to youngsters to gain more of an understanding of money!

Ah right, Maya has just said she's 12, so the illustrations look a lot younger than she actually is.  It makes more sense that she was able to go out with her brother to buy the vegetables now, but the illustrations need to show her as a few years older.

Ooh!  Great going Dad... it encourages children to work for their money to prepare them for their job, rather than being bailed out all the time by their parents - great going by the author!

Great way to explain bargaining - not sure a shop over here in the UK would be willing to bargain over their prices though!  lol

Great idea by Maya to make the snack at the school fete!  I hope her parents give her the ingredients and support she needs to achieve it!

I was soo wrong about financial things being too advanced for the age group - there are real life examples and then a very short explanation about what each term means at the end of the page - fantastic work by the author!

What a great book!  The last few pages were cut off mid-word, continued on the next page for another couple of words then you had to go back to the previous page to keep reading the sentence, which was a bit annoying and frustrating but still a well-deserved 5 stars.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

I'm in tears because...

...I've just finished editing the first OYA MS in the folder and I knew how it ended, just couldn't remember the details and it's just sent me over the edge.

It's brought back too many memories of what happened to us a couple of years ago but I originally wrote it 2½ years before my heart broke for the same reason IRL.  My heart is shattered all over again now, so I can focus on the next couple of weeks for personal and health reasons, then hopefully have taped my heart up enough to edit the last two OYA MSs in the folder, then I can start on editing my newest two MSs that I wrote for NaNo21 and JanNo22.

I'm gonna make myself a drinking chocolate, crack open a bar of me-friendly chocolate and sob my heart out until 6.30pm then gulp down my tears, stitch my heart back together and check my email for the first time today.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Wow... what an awesome...

...end to another great manuscript - it's even succeeded in making me a touch tearful and especially proud that every single one of those words came from me and no-one else.

Friday, 26 August 2022


...another great manuscript edited.  They are just small things 'cos I rapidly get into my stride and enjoy my creativity.

I'm gonna aim to edit one manuscript a day from tomorrow (Saturday) to Monday, then either a couple of short stories or a novella on Tuesday 'cos of our groceries being delivered in the morning, I'm not gonna be around for personal reasons on Wednesday, then straight back to it on Thursday.  I've got a busy couple of weeks after that for medical reasons, but then there is no stopping me again.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Book Review: "Adam Wins the Internet" by Adam B


⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent-ish book reviews, you'll already know that I start 'em all off in the same way - by saying that this (and every) book starts off with the full 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will all still be stuck firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.

"Hilarious and heart-warming" eh?

Challenge accepted.

It takes a truly incredible book to even *start* to raise a genuine smile from me, so lets see if this genuinely tickles my funny-bone or if it's another one that has been mis-sold to me  ;-)

I'm reading it on my Kindle and it's supposed to be illustrated but my past experiences of illustrations on my Kindle Paperwhite is either that they are too tiny to make out what they are supposed to be or they are cut off half-way through the illustration which annoys me and would frustrate the (usually child) reader so they would throw their Kindle across the room and never pick it up again.  The first page seems promising though, so hopefully the publishers have been able to continue that throughout.

There are lots of spaces missing between words which makes it incredibly hard to read - I'm hoping that it's because I'm reading an ARC copy of it and that it's all fixed and tickety-boo by publication day.

Ooh!  Ooh!  Ooh!  The first illustration is perfect - it's silly, shows what the previous page described, I'm even starting to crack the outer shell of my funny-bone - could this be the first book in a very long time to make me smile, grin or even chuckle to myself?  I can't remember the last book that genuinely did that, but at 1% of the way through this book I'm already starting to feel hopeful!

Another sign of a great book is that I let hot drinks go stone cold because I'm so lost in the world of the book characters.  I've just made myself a hot drink... how hot will it be by the time I take my next mouthful of it?

Noooo!  At only 3%, the first star is coming off 'cos of the use of those famous internet brands potentially without permission!  I always hate it when a 5 star book unfortunately becomes a 4 star book because of potential trademark infringement, but I've done it with other books, so my sense of fair play is insisting that the star comes off this book too  :-(

Chapter two was gooood!  I'm really getting to know Adam and liking where his idea had come from - that takes guts but 'I believe in you Adam!  You can do this!'

Oh dear... chapters three and four have made me feel even worse for poor old Adam than I did before.... my heart is breaking for the poor chap!

My hot drink is telling me that this is a great book 'cos of the barely-above-stone-cold temperature of it now.

This is a truly fantastic book and I'll be recommending it widely if it carries on like this!

Just finished chapter 6 and I'm debating with myself about whether I should feel sorry or amazed that he's already achieved his goal, but I'm only 19% of the way through so there's a loooong way to go yet, but I'm grinning, almost chuckling already which hasn't happened in too long so this book is already worth every penny you pay for it IMNSHO already!

What a truly fantastic book... it's got me buried deep into it and I don't know where the last couple of hours have gone but this is definitely a must-read by not just children but by adults too.  It's a light, funny read and you will (if you're anything like me) find yourself rapidly deeply caring about Callum, Mum and especially Adam.

I hope Callum is OK - it's my bed-time and I'm pretty confidently predicting that I'll be dreaming about this book tonight lol

I'm still loving this book today too...'s all coming to a head and I hope Adam wins after what he's just discovered!

Wowsers!  What an incredible book!  I've just finished reading the ARC of this book and there's an "acknowledgments" section so I'm hoping beyond hope that there will be an acknowledgement to all those brands used throughout the book.  If there *is* then it's a very solid 5 stars, but the version I've got hasn't got it in so I'm not gonna adjust the starage until I know for sure.

This is definitely a must-read book, just don't expect hot drinks to stay hot 'cos you'll be so absorbed in what you're reading that the time will just slip by.  Same with iced drinks... the ice will melt between sips of that too.  Basically buy this book and settle in for an awesome read.

Sunday, 21 August 2022

That's 4 in 3 days

Finished editing another novella just before I went out to make lunch - that's four novels/novella's and 3 short stories in 3 days which ain't too bad at all.  That's me finished for the day now though and I'll start editing again tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Another novella sorted

Just finished editing a sci-fi novella and considering it was my first one ever, I don't think I did too bad a job of it.  Did I use enough science in it though?

Friday, 19 August 2022

That's another two manuscripts edited

I edited a novella yesterday and a YYA novel today and I'm on track for hopefully getting another one in the bag tomorrow and maybe even Sunday too.  I'm setting aside an entire day for each manuscript and giving myself every Wednesday off 'cos of my weekly virus scan and backups, but I'm hoping to get back into it now and hopefully finish off the YYA editing folder by the end of the month then start on the OYA at the beginning of September.

I can do this... I'm determined to get traditionally published and bag myself an agent before the end of next year.  I'm not gonna rush it, but grab every opportunity that comes my way.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

It's been a week but...

...I've just finished editing today's manuscript and I'm especially proud of the last line in it - you'll have to wait until it's published before you see what that line says though  😉

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Another good manuscript edited

This one needed more editing than the others purely because the formatting wasn't industry standard, but other than that t'was another manuscript that I'm fairly proud to call my own.