Thursday 27 January 2022

3 down, 4 to go

Just finished editing all my PBs - I watched myself grow in confidence the more I wrote.

Tomorrow is ECBs, then I'll make a start on MG then YA at the weekend.  I'm still gonna put the edited ones through at least one more edit before I start subbing them but I'm in the editing headspace now so I'm hoping to get them all sorted before the end of February, then I'll go on a readathon of comp titles before I start on the next round of editing.

Like with the writing, it's the getting started that I find the hardest, but when I've made a start there's no stopping me!

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Book Review: "Pixie Shoes" by Rachel Ellyn

Kindle Unlimited:
⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that each one starts off with the full 5 stars and I'm always hopeful that it'll finish with 'em all in place too.

Let's get going.

I'm really liking the front cover... is the pixie grinning or smiling or are they being mischevious?  I hope I'll find out as I read the book!

According to the age range on Amazon, this book is aimed at 7-9 year olds and I'm not sure that they would understand what "diminutive" means - I certainly didn't when I was that young!  The first star is wobbly now... still in place, but any more advanced words like that and it'll plop off unfortunately.

Now we've got "opaque", "bodice" and "flounced" so that first star is coming off at 10% unfortunately.

At 13% we've now got "arduous" but I've already removed a star for inappropriate words, so we're still at 4 stars and I hope they all stay in place ready for when I've finished reading.

The author seems to have mis-placed the "r" in Cordelia's name at 24%... an easy mistake in editing, but should have been picked up before it was published lol

I'm up to 25% now and haven't found anything else to knock a star off for, so the hope that it'll still have those four stars firmly in place at the end of the story is gradually increasing lol

Oh dear, the author has used "spastically" at 43% so the second star is instantly coming off without me reading any further.  It's just too insensitive for use in children's literature.

The sixth chapter (the legend of the pearl of Erina) was beautifully handled and made my heart smile... I initially wondered what that had to do with the story, but I think I'm about to find out in the next chapter.

The author is really into her stride now... the age group she has said this book is aimed at will love chapters 6 and 7 - it's just such a pity that they have to wait until well over half way to get there!

What an awesome end to a great book!  Content-wise it's definitely 5 stars, but those words at the start were too mature for the age range and inappropriate to use in this book... if those words were replaced with more age-appropriate words, this would be worthy of a definite 5 stars.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Book Review: "The Adventures of Pixie Piper: A Fairy's Breath" by Maricel Jimenez Pena

⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my recent book reviews, you'll already know what's coming next lol  Basically each book I read starts with the full 5 stars and I'm always hopeful that I'll finish reading the book with all five still firmly in place.

Let's get started shall we?

The first chapter was short and good, but I'm thinking the author is from America because of a few of the word choices, which might confuse the reader.  I'll keep on with reading and hoping that the word choices and spellings won't detract from the story for me.

Oh boy.  The first page of chapter 2 is full of confusing words for children who had maybe never realised that although America and the UK have the same language, things like elementary school and braids and mom and eyeglasses are pretty unique to America.  The first star is wobbly already.

Page two of chapter two is equally as bad with 'auditorium' and 'homeroom' so the first star has wobbled off already, after only 6 pages.

Now we've got an unpronouncable character name so the second star is wobbly now.

And now the author has used imperial measurements instead of metric so a child would have given up by now and the second star is coming off, taking this book down to three stars already.

Suuuch a dull book so I'm scrolling through the next few pages in absolute boredom.

Up to chapter 10 now and I'm hoping that it's better than the first few chapters.

Such boredom... skipped ahead to chapter 15 now.  Maybe I should be more forgiving, but there's no way a child would put up with the boredom, so why should I?  That's the third star dropping off so we're down to 2 stars now.

Chapter 15 was muuuuch better than the earlier chapters, but there are waaay too many characters to catch up on now!

Just finished reading and the last third of it was so much better than the first half!

Thursday 20 January 2022

Book Review: "Call Me Lion" by Camilla Chester

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I got this book for free via NetGalley as an ARC and if you have read any of my other recent reviews, you'll already know that every book starts off with the full five stars and I'm always hopeful that they are still stuck firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.

The cover is simple but effective which is a great relief considering how busy some other covers are!

Let's get reading.

Oooh!  From the first paragraph it seems like this is gonna be written in first person instead of the usual third which will hopefully make the book more interesting, but hopefully not confusing!

Wowsers!  I'm up to chapter 3 already and haven't stopped reading yet, let alone found anything to complain about lol

Reading Leo's letter in chapter 4, I can already tell that this book is gonna have me in tears at least once before the end!

So far this book has been a must-read for everyone, adults and children alike.

Oh dear... the first star is teeter-tottering at page 39 for copyright reasons - I'm seriously hoping that the author has prior written permission to use the song by a group that already exists, otherwise she and the publisher could get into serious legal hot water.

The author has used the American spelling of aeroplane too but I'm guessing that's because 8-12 year olds might struggle with the spelling/pronounciation with the British spelling.

Now theatre shows are being included as well as the well-known online video platform, so that first star is unfortunately coming off at page 41 - if it wasn't for that though, it'd still very much be a 5 star book.

Wowsers!  WTG Richa at the end of chapter 7... I want a friend like her too!

Just about to start chapter 11 and I honestly don't know where the last 3 chapters have gone to.  Gonna read one more chapter then go and grab some lunch I reckon.  This is a totally incredible book!

OMGosh!  That's a huge secret for Richa to have held, but I'm relieved that she's opened up to Leo about it.  I don't wanna stop reading yet, but my belly is rumbling, so I don't have a choice lol

It's page 145 and I'm in tears... just like I predicted at the start of this review.  Positive, relieved tears thankfully and wih another 10-ish pages to read, I'm predicting that there will be more to come too.

I'd just finished sobbing my heart out but the tears have reappeared with the last sentence of the entire book.

This is a definite must-read for everyone... just make sure you've got the tissues at the ready for the last few pages!

Monday 17 January 2022

Two down, five to go

That's another folder of manuscripts sorted out... I've been noticing how much my writing has been improving from the early ones to the later ones which can only be a positive thing, right?

Gonna plough through a bit more of my TBR pile this afternoon, so keep your eyes peeled for more book reviews on their way!

Sunday 16 January 2022

Book Review: "The Pixies of Grantham Manor "Pips Perfect Plan": A children's folklore, fairy tale picture book" by M F Katori

⭐⭐ out of 5

I'll start this review in the same way that I've started all of my recent book reviews: it's starting off with the full 5 stars and I'm always hopeful that it'll finish with 'em all still in place too.

I'm a bit confuzzled by the age range and grade level on Amazon 'cos it says that the age range is 2-9 years with a grade level of Reception-7 which are vastly different reading abilities and the ages don't come anywhere near the grade level either!

Enough with the pickiness, lets get on with reading this lol

The front cover looks very... how can I put this kindly?  Amateurish?  Rushed?  It like the author or illustrator has found 3 images online (which I hope they have written permission to use) and just squished them altogether on the cover, then added the text and they've given up and sent it out for publication in the hope that no-one would give two hoots about it... the first star is already starting to wobble and I haven't even started reading yet!

Oh boy, I've read one sentence and it's already waaay too mature for 2-9 year olds, so I'm hoping that the grade level is more appropriate, but I'm not sure that even 11 and 12 year olds (grade 7) would be able to understand the word choices in the first sentence so that first star is coming off after less than a sentence.

I'm 26% of the way through and there hasn't been a single word of speech yet from any of the multitude of characters and the author has chosen to write 5 years worth of story into literally two very boring sentences.

The second star has fallen off after 30% because there still hasn't been any speech between the characters.  I'm so glad I got this on Kindle Unlimited rather than paying for the paperback!

Usually I'd be ecstatic to have Paganism within a children's book, but the author has got eeeverything wrong and it feels like she is making Paganism into a dark religion which should be avoided at all costs, which I really don't like, so the third star is gone at 65%.

Now the author is trying her hand at little poetic ditties which are slightly better than the rest of the book, but not by much!

There has been a picture on every other page and there is no way that either of the age ranges is appropriate... the youngest children this is aimed at would have been fidgitting and picking their nose throughout and the older age group would have felt like they *had* to finish reading it otherwise it'd be wasted money.

To sum up this entire review:  Don't waste your money.

One folder down, six to go

I've just finished editing each of my Early Reader manuscripts, so I've just got 6 more folders to go, but for now I'm gonna catch up on my TBR pile that I bought in preparation for my NaNo novel, so I'm gonna read for the next couple of hours or so.  Feeling pretty proud of myself for getting through an entire folder of manuscripts in two days though!

Thankfully... writing has significantly improved since 2016 and I can now totally see why I was rejected so often back then.

I've edited 3 manuscripts and written 1 synopsis so far today and they are all significantly better now lol

Saturday 15 January 2022

I've had a...

...productive late afternoon/early evening 'cos I've edited 4 Early Readers and 2 synopses as well as writing another 2 synopses that hadn't previously existed.

I'm hoping to spend the entire day editing tomorrow so that I can crack on with all my other manuscripts.  


This is going to be my year.

I nearly forgot, but...

...2022 is my editing year, not writing or subbing year, so I've just edited my first manuscript of the year and it wasn't as bad as I was thinking.  Just gotta find the motivation to carry on editing them to within an inch of their lives now lol

Thursday 13 January 2022

And the planning for NaNo22 is...

...totally sorted, less than a week after finishing JaNo.  I finished the plan about 20 hours earlier than I was thinking too, which is even better.

Just need to get out of these MCs heads now, then I can come crashing back to reality for the next 9½ months.

I think that calls for a reward, don't you?  Chocolate, biscuits or crisps though?

Amanda is now, officially...

...⅗ of the way through planning her NaNo novel and the pixie is loving having so much fresh opportunity to cause new mischief.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

That's the planning finished for the day now...

I've been struck down by writer's block for the last couple of days but I've somehow managed to plan out up to chapter 20 of my NaNo novel today and it's at the point where my two MCs meet for the very first time, so hopefully I'll get another 15-20 planned out tomorrow, now that I've compromised with my muse and they have let me fight through the wall of writers block on the condition that I don't spend all day working on it.

Working out the mischevious things that the pixie can achieve has been the hardest bit so far, so if you've got any ideas about mischevious things that a pixie can do, ideally involving fruit, then I'd love to hear your ideas... it's an upper MG novel though, so the ideas need to be safe, legal (of course) and age appropriate... if there's a way for me to attempt humour into it too then that'd be brilliant!

Thank you so much for your support and I can't wait to hear your ideas!

Friday 7 January 2022

Aaand...'s finished!

I've just had my final reward of JanNo (a gorgeous Apple & Mango J2O) and written the synopsis, so I can start to come back to reality again now and get out of my newest story lol

Not bad going for exactly 7 days and exactly 50,000 words.

Just need to let it rest and breathe until I forget everything about it, then I can add it to my editing pile.

I wanna edit every single manuscript that I've written so far and try not to write anything new until November.  I'll plan out my NaNo novel when I get clouted with inspiration again, but until then I'll decompress and start editing.

Thursday 6 January 2022

48 down...

...2 to go!!

I'm hoping that I'll get it over and done with before lunchtime then have a cooked lunch and start to return to reality for the first time in only a week.  Feeling pretty chuffed with myself right now... the end is in sight, so just gotta summon up the last tiny bit of creative energy for the final sprint home!

Tuesday 4 January 2022

33 down, 17 to go

Feeling pretty proud of those numbers and as long as I manage to knock out at least 8 chapters a day, tomorrow and Thursday, I'll be finished well before lunchtime on Friday.  


It's grocery delivery day tomorrow morning and Steve's promised to bring it in and put it away 'cos it's entirely his stuff so I'll hopefully manage to knock out my target of 8 chapters, but if not then I can just add it to Friday's and I should still be able to hit my entire total of 50,000 words before lunchtime, then I can decompress and come back to reality at the weekend in preparation for hitting real life head on next week.

Monday 3 January 2022

After only...

...three days of JanNo, I'm now at the half way point of the manuscript after yesterdays writeathon where I managed to write a huuuuge 10 chapters.  I've written 8 today, so I'm on track for finishing on the 7th as long as I keep writing at least 7 chapters a day.

My MC has just gone to see there GP so we're approaching the mid-point, with all the action and I'm determined to try and avoid a happily-ever-after for this one, just to challenge myself to see what happens.  The ending might change when I edit it, but I'm hoping the first draft will end on a cliff-hanger with the reader finishing the story in whatever way they would prefer.  I just wanna take each day as it comes with this "vomit draft" writing though... I'm not even thinking past the next chapter at this point.


I'll need to request the help of the police and my GP after I've finished the first draft, so that I can make sure I've got my fiction right so that I don't get into trouble when it's published 'cos it'll be too late at that point!


Wish me luck for tomorrow please?!


Sunday 2 January 2022

Feeling really proud of myself now

I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep at 2.30am so came down and started writing and I've barely stopped all day, so managed to knock out an incredible 10,000 today, which means that I've averaged 9,000 words so far during JanNo which is more than I was hoping to achieve every day and today's 10k was absolutely astonishing (to put it mildly).

Time for me to hit the hay now and hope I get more than 5 hours of sleep tonight lol