Sunday 31 December 2023

JanNo starts tomorrow and...

...after a lot of dithering about over the last few weeks, I'm definitely gonna be doing it, and having my bathroom pretty much totally refitted in the middle of it, so that'll be fun lol

It's gonna be a new experience for me, writing in the middle of such a major house thing, but it needs to be done and it'll hopefully be finished before the end of January, then that's it then, I can relax and recover.

As soon as I've finished my JanNo novel, I'll be working on getting the secret site ready for it's launch.  I reckon I'm gonna wait until the beginning of March for the official (re-)launch so that I'm not hit by a webhosting bill that needs to be paid in the middle of JanNo each year.

Hopefully things are starting to fall into place a bit now... it's taken long enough!  lol

If you're taking part in JanNo too, I'll keep my fingers crossed that you can cross the finishing post too.

I'll see you all on the other side of JanNo.

Saturday 25 November 2023

Nah, sod it...

...I *will* take part in JanNo24 after all, I'll just have a few hours/days off when the bathroom is done if necessary.  I've spent a small fortune on Glitterberry J2Os and NaNo and JanNo are the only times I allow myself to have them, so instead of it all going to waste, I *will* do JanNo, I'll just have a break before I've finished it is all.  I've got 30 days, so I'll spend the first week of January writing then potentially have a break for a while before I go back to it and finish it off.

I managed to finish NaNo in 8 days this year, so having a break for  a while is another experiment I'll be making.

It'll be far from my best work, but that's what editing is for, right?  😉

Wednesday 22 November 2023

For the second year on the trot...

...I won't be writing getting involved in JanNo next year (so JanNo24).


Because I'm getting a whole new bathroom put in starting on Monday 8th so need to be around for that instead of having my head stuck in the fantasy novel I was going to write for it.

I'll still be around and working on the update to the S4CG site and the new, secret site, ready for the (re-)launch at the start of February, I just won't be writing anything until NaNo24.

Other than getting central heating put in and new flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, this is the last big thing happening, so I'm hoping things will be back to normal ready for JanNo25.

Thursday 9 November 2023

Important! Members please read!!

I came to a final decision at 3.30am that I’ve been pondering on for almost a year now and it affects you and your membership to the Stories 4 Children site.


My hubby was my tech guru for everything on the site and he produced the application form and ability to log in as well as the software.  He passed away on 21st December 2022 so I’ve been totally unable to ask for guidance on the things he set up for me.


The webhosts for the site have recently set up the ability to have multiple sites hosted together, so that’s what I’ve done with my personal sites and because the Stories 4 Children site is on a decommissioned server, I haven't been able to access my domain name emails for months on end.  I decided in the early hours that I would use the opportunity to migrate the Stories 4 Children site to this new thing along with a new site that I’m starting to create.


Why am I telling you this?


Because when the S4C site is migrated, I will lose the ability to reinstate your membership because it involved databases and PHP and other stuff that I haven’t got the foggiest clue about!


Sooo, starting from when I’ve finished my JanNo24 novel I’m completely removing the members area and it will all be totally free (except for things in the shop) but it means that I’m able to understand how to code things instead of being left floundering if something goes wrong in future or there’s a question about some software or there’s a problem with the site or something else that I haven’t got the first clue about.


The site will still be available (except while it’s migrating) and I’ll still update it, there just won’t be a members area any more.  If there's anything you want to keep in the members area, please make sure you download it before the end of this year as it'll be lost forever after the migration.


Thank you so much for your faith and support and I’ll see you on the other side of JanNo.

Wednesday 8 November 2023


...I've just won NaNo23!!!

As in by one single word over the minimum lol

I've brought my final J2O of the year in and I'm gonna have it after I've had my lunch, but I can now relax and have breakfasts again!

One down...

...just one more to go and only 38 hours slower than my personal best last year of 6 days too!

I'm hoping to get it finished before my lunchtime carer comes and I might end up blubbing, but I don't care, because it's my first NaNo since I became a young Yule widow last year so if I start blubbing then so be it!

I've got another decaff tea on the go to warm me up a bit and I've had my single chapter reward, so I'm on track to be having my can of J2O to celebrate finishing the manuscript at lunchtime then I'll be able to gradually ease back into real life again instead of crashing with a huge bump like I have done each year so far.

Comin' to get you, winners certificate!


...i won't get NaNo finished before my first carer of the day arrives today 'cos I didn't wake up until 4.41am instead of the 3.15ams that I have for the rest of NaNo, so I've got a mug of decaff tea on the go and I'll finish off the novel when my carer has been and gone instead.

A bit disappointing, but there's still a very good chance that I'll get it finished before lunchtime and that won't shock my body to have the J2O can so early in the morning  😉

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Six down...

...just the last two chapters to go at sparrow's fart o'clock tomorrow morning, then I can enjoy my can of J2O and bar of chocolate for the last time until JanNoWriMo starts.

I'm gearing up for the final sprint of the competition and I reckon I'll be done by the time my first carer of the day arrives tomorrow morning, assuming I'm up before 5am again.

I can smell the champagne on ice and see the ice buckets getting moved to the finishing ribbon.  It'll've taken a couple of days longer than my PB of 6 days that I achieved last year, but I've enjoyed writing every word and I haven't got stressed out for not meeting my daily target.

Having the single chapter rewards as well as the bigger 5 chapter rewards and the start and end motivators have definitely helped and I reckon that's how I'm gonna keep doing it each time from now on... for the enjoyment and regular mini rewards rather than the sprint to the finish... it's a marathon rather than a sprint and I'd unfortunately forgotten that until this year.

Time for my last reward of the day then that's me finished writing until tomorrow morning now.

Five down...

...3 to go!!!

The chants are ringing loudly in my ear.  My groceries are due in about an hour's time so I wanna try and get another chapter written before then, but I've earnt my 5 chapter reward so I'm gonna go and grab that and a bar of chocolate now, then decide what to do after that.  I'm soooo close now!!

I've decided...

...I'm just gonna do the five chapters today and the last three tomorrow morning otherwise they will all be rushed which will defeat the whole object of my writing this year, so I'm just gonna finish this chapter and that'll be it until tomorrow morning so that I can relax into the final three chapters of NaNo.

Four down...

...the last four to go.

I'm trying to remain cautiously hopeful that I'll manage all 8 chapters today, even if it means putting in a bit of a later night tonight... just leaving one chapter to write tomorrow morning would send me loopy and I wouldn't be able to sleep lol.

I've managed 4 chapters in about 6 hours though, so I'm trying to remain hopeful that I'll manage to get it done before bedtime.

Time to chomp down on my end of chapter reward, then make a start on chapter 47 to see how much I can get done before my carer arrives.

Three down...

...five to go.  I wanna get at least one, hopefully almost two chapters done and dusted before I have my lunch, but I'm racing towards the end now and I can just about make out the finishing line as I round the final corner for the sprint finish.

I've had my chapter choccie reward so I'm gonna make myself a hot drink then crack on with the next chapter.

Two down...

...six to go.

Will I be able to finish it before I head to bed tonight or will there be one solitary chapter to write tomorrow morning?

Time to crack open my second treat-sized chocolate bar of the day now I reckon, then start on my third chapter of the morning.

One down so far today

Just written my first chapter of the day so there are seven left to go now and I'll have finished NaNo in exactly a week.  Keep your fingers crossed that I manage it today!

Monday 6 November 2023

Seven down...

...and only eight more chapters to go before NaNo is finished for another year.

Hoping for five chapters tomorrow so that I can have my J2O then the last three chapters on Wednesday so that I can take my time and be available as necessary through the day when I get the insulation installed.

The end of my NaNo23 is very nearly finished... the last chapter is within sight, I've just gotta keep on keeping on with it and I'll get it finished in under the 10 days that I was thinking.

Time for my last reward of the day now I think, then check and reply to emails and head off to beddy-byes.

Six down... or two to go tonight.

I've had my 5 chapter reward (a J2O) but I'm not gonna have any more chocolate rewards to day in case I throw them back up.  Having two lunches today was too much for my stomach to handle, so I'm not gonna risk it.

Five down...

...hopefully three more to go this afternoon, but it's time for my leftovers, then the chapter chocolate then the J2O first I reckon.

I've only got 10 more chapters left to write and I've won NaNo again!  This time last year I was verging on finishing the entire thing (I finished it at about 8.30pm) but I was doing it because it was a race but this year is purely for enjoyment, so it doesn't matter that I'm nowhere beating it because I've enjoyed pretty much every word I've written which was missing for the last few years and I needed to get back into writing for enjoyment rather than as a challenge again, which I've achieved so far this year.

Four down...

...only one, three or hopefully four left to go.

I've already got the leftovers out of the fridge in preparation lol

Just had my chapter reward so I'm gonna crack on with the fifth chapter of the day and keep my fingers crossed the leftovers don't get too warm while I'm writing lol

Three down...

...two, four or five chapters to go today.

I've had my chapter reward and I'm gonna make a start on this morning's fourth chapter, but be ready to stop at any time my carer comes so that I can have my instant soup for lunch.  I've decided to have yesterday's leftovers as a reward for getting up to five chapters, alongside my J2O 'cos I need to get them eaten before tomorrow otherwise I'll have to bin them, which I really don't wanna do.

And another one bites the dust

That's two chapters in about 4 hours, which ain't too bad at all.  Gonna have my chapter reward then make myself another hot drink and get cracking on my third chapter of the morning.  I'm hoping to have pretty much done 4 chapters by the time my lunchtime carer arrives, but if they turn up part-way through a chapter (like they did this morning) then that's OK too.

Another one down...

...a minimum of four, six or ideally seven to go for today.

I've had my first chapter reward of the day and I'm just waiting for my carer to turn up, any time from now so I'm gonna start on the next chapter but may have to stop suddenly... it's only twice a day though, so that's not so bad.

Sunday 5 November 2023

I've earnt...

...two chapter chocolates since I've been back but no J2O today, but that's OK 'cos I wasn't online for 5 hours so was thinking that'd happen anyway.

That's me finished writing for the day and week and I'm hoping it'll be an 8 chapter day tomorrow which'll just leave the last 7 chapters to go, that I'm hoping I can get the majority of finished on Tuesday 'cos it's my groceries that'll be interrupting me then, but that's OK cos I've still got the rest of the week and month to finish it in and it's not a race this year, so if it takes me 24 days to write 15 chapters then so be it!

Nah, not gonna...

...risk rushing a third chapter this morning otherwise I won't enjoy it and it won't be the chapter that it could and should be, so I'm gonna leave it until I'm back I reckon.

Two down...

...three to go.  The second chapter only took about an hour to write and there's about an hour to go, so I'm gonna get myself the chapter reward and another drink to see how much time is left then.

One down...

...four to go.

I'm only aiming for five chapters today 'cos of being offline for a few hours when I won't be able to write, but I've written my first chapter of the day and made a start on the second one.  I'm hoping I can get three written this morning before I go offline, but I'm not gonna risk starting if it's too close to the cut-off time.

Saturday 4 November 2023

That's another...

...8 chapters in the bag and I'm up to 62% after 4 days, so that's pretty good I reckon.  Tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday are gonna hopefully be 5 chapter days, but it's no biggie if not, and I'm hoping I'll be finished by the end of the week.

I'm starting to tie up loose ends now, very slowly instead of rushed in the last few chapters... I can almost see the finish line now and I've enjoyed pretty much every minute that I've spent writing.  It's been tough to get started so far each morning, but when I've got going, I've been totally focussed all day.

It sounds strange, but rewarding myself after every chapter and having the daily J2O to work towards has really helped to keep me motivated.

Time for me to take my pills and wind down for another night now methinks, but I'll be back again tomorrow morning to hopefully knock out a couple of chapters before my carer turns up then the other three when I get home.

I've just achieved...'s 5 chapters so I'm about to crack open my reward in the knowledge that everything else today is a bonus.  In an ideal world I'd like to get another 3 chapters under my belt, but not at the expense of my enjoyment.

Only got...

...two more chapters to go before I've earnt my next big reward and 5 more to go before I hit my daily mini-target of 8 chapters and it's not quite 11am yet.

Today is gonna be another good writing day I reckon!

As of now...

...after 3 and a bit days, I'm finally half way through my NaNo novel and I'm still enjoying it and not worrying about how long it's taking.  I'm at the top of the hill now, so the end is in sight.

Friday 3 November 2023


I managed to write another 8 chapters today, as well as making my lunch and putting a load of laundry on to wash then hanging it up when it was dry.

If tomorrow is anything like today, I'll hit the half way mark just before my morning carer arrives then I can start to see the finishing line and hope that I cross it in under the 10 days that I set myself but it's no great shakes if I don't.

My hands and back are stiff and sore, but it was worth it 'cos I'm 46% of the way through the entire challenge after only 3 days and I haven't put my life on hold at all.

I'm still enjoying writing this story, but my body will be glad when I finally crawl into bed lol


...5 chapters in the bag already today, so I reckon that 8 chapters should definitely be doable before I head to bed tonight, so that's a relief!

Gonna have my chapter reward (a treat-sized chocolate) now and my 5 chapter reward (a J2O) after lunch 'cos I'm not sure how my stomach will react to going so sweet then immediately savoury and I dunno when my carer will turn up, so don't want two open liquids (the J2O and the mug of instant soup) on the go at the same time in case I accidentally knock one of them over, it goes into a plug socket in the extension lead and the house bursts into flames lol

I'm 40% of the way there now after only 2½ days, so that's pretty impressive considering I'm not writing for speed this year!

Will I be able to...

...put in another day of 8 chapters?

I've written 4 chapters so far this morning, so I'm trying to remain cautiously hopeful.


...reward of the day has been earnt, even though I spent a few minutes throwing up this morning, so I'm feeling pretty proud of that.

Gonna make a start on my second chapter of the day while I wait for my first carer of the day to arrive.

Will this be another 8 chapter day or a 7 chapter one like it was yesterday?

Thursday 2 November 2023


...7 chapters today, but that's OK 'cos I'm already 30% of the way through after only 2 days so I'm feeling pretty proud of that.

Just got...

...2 chapters left to go before I've earnt my next big reward.  I'd already had it by this time yesterday, but that's OK as long as I manage it.  I'd like to knock out another 8 chapters if I can today, but not at the expense of my enjoyment of the writing.

After only 2 days...

...I've just hit the 20% mark, which feels pretty good.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Not too bad at all!

I've managed to write 8,016 words since 4.43am including the time it took to get washed and dressed as well as make and consume two meals and multiple drinks, so I don't reckon I've done too badly today.  Now that I've got that dreaded first chapter out of the way, the words really are flowing.

I'm not gonna take any risks with writing another chapter and I've drunk my last drink a bit close to bedtime, so I bet I'll wake up at 3am desperate for a wee, which I'll take as bonus writing time again, as opposed to trying to get back to sleep.

I'm stopping writing for the day now though and stretching out all my sore muscles.

Until I see you all for another day of writing, it's goodnight from me and I'll see you all in the morning, I'm just not sure what time lol

I'm hoping for...

...another chapter before I head to bed, to make it 8 chapters today, which'll put me 3 chapters ahead of schedule, then if I manage to write 7 chapters tomorrow, I'll be a day ahead of myself, so I can relax on Sunday instead of getting stressed out about how many chapters behind I'm getting and/or worrying that I'll forget what has already happened in the story.  

I'm hoping that the delay won't take too long on Friday and it'll be over and done with in minutes rather than hours, so I'll still be on track for writing 5k and earning another big reward by the time I hit the sack on Saturday.  Hopefully I'll get a few chapters under my belt on Sunday although I doubt it'll be the full 5 to earn the reward, then another 7-8 on Monday and with any luck another 5 or 6 on Tuesday which will mean that I can relax a touch on Wednesday and hopefully produce at least another 5 and still be on track to finish around the 10th.

I refuse to get stressed out about how quickly I can finish it this year... there are lots of things happening which I have no control over so I'm just taking it as it comes and writing for enjoyment rather than speed.

It's got dark outside, so I'm gonna close the curtains then crack on with potentially my last chapter of the day.

That's my...

...first reward of the competition earnt, so I'm gonna go and grab a bottle and hopefully find the bottle opener to celebrate then I'll start on my 6th chapter of the day.  This is definitely a better way for me to write... I can still function and get my rewards but I get rewarded at the end of each chapter and a bigger reward after 5 chapters rather than rushing through it to try and beat the speed of the previous year.

Assuming I finish this year, I reckon this'll be my new-normal for NaNo and JanNo 'cos it's a lot more relaxed and enjoyable instead of feeling guilty for every wasted minute of the day.

So far...

...I'm really enjoying my new NaNo system and I've already written 8% of the total word count as well as being able to get washed, dressed, eat breakfast and have a reward for each chapter so I've only got 1 more chapter to write today to get my first big reward of the competition.  I'd like to write as much as I can this afternoon 'cos I've got a busy Friday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of me, so I wanna get as much written as possible during my free days.  I'm not rushing it, but I'd like to get it finished around the 10th if I possibly can.  Enjoyment is the word I'm focussing on this year, rather than speed.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

NaNo starts tomorrow and...

...this time I'm not challenging myself to finish it in the fastest time/faster than the year before - I'm gonna aim to write 5k a day so that I'll be finished on the 10th and I'm gonna have a can of J2O just as I start, which'll be interesting 'cos it could be at 3am if it's like this morning lol  I'm also gonna reward myself with a bottle of J2O for every 5,000 words that I write in a day and also reward myself with a treat-sized chocolate at the end of each chapter.

Lunches will be a mug of instant soup and breakfast will be my only solid meal each day.

I'm gonna relax and enjoy it rather than powering through it then feel lost for the rest of November.

This'll be my first NaNo as a young Yule widow so I hope there won't be too many tears and that I can get through it like I've been forced to with everything else for the last 10 months.

This'll be for you, Steve.

Saturday 7 October 2023

Book Review: "My Mom's a Witch" by Debbie Aubrey

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent-ish book reviews, you'll already know that each book I read an review starts off with the full shedload of stars and I'm always hopeful that they'll still be stuck in concrete by the time I close the back cover.  You'll also know that I'm not shy about knocking stars off, but I always give my reasons for doing so.

The Kindle version promises that this book is "Funny magical fantasy fiction that's ever so slightly bonkers" which is a huuuuge statement to have to live up to when it comes to me and my sense of humour lol  If I even raise a smile, I'll consider it achieved, otherwise it's a nope from me.

Oh dear.  The second paragraph of the entire book and the first star is already wobbly because of the use of a well-known singer... will it plop off before the end of the first chapter?

There's another famous name, this time of a cartoon/film character so after only 2 paragraphs the first star has already plopped to the floor.

And a third famous name at the start of the second page... I'm already wondering if I'll make it to the end of the book with even a single star left!

Page 4 and a fourth famous name is dropped in without permission from the appropriate Trademark holder too, I bet.

And a fifth famous name on the fourth page, along with a well-known telly programme, so the second star comes off after only 4 pages... this isn't looking good unfortunately.

It was incredibly hard work, but I've finally got to the end of the first chapter... just a pity that it's already lost two stars.

Chaper two was OK... nothing to write home about, but I'm starting to understand the so-called humour now - it's just a pity that it's taken 17% of the book to get there!

The third and fourth chapters were good... the author is really getting into her stride now.  There were occasional typos but I could still understand what she was trying to get across.

I'm 51% of the way through the book now, so it feels like a good place to stop for the night... will I have nightmares about those descriptions of what happened in Scotland though?  I seriously hope not, but there's only one way to find out!

Nope, no nightmares, thankfully, so lets keep reading and reviewing the book shall we?

Chapter 7 was good, but I don't recommend reading it around the time you're gonna eat, like I have  ;-)

Oh dear... they didn't plan that very well, did they?  No spoilers, but with 31% to go and it being a children's book, I hope it'll be a happily ever after story!

I wasn't expecting any of *that*!  Could the end of chapter 9 be a hint of a potential sequel?

And we're back to using big brand names again, but I've already taken a star off for that, so the three stars are still safe.

I wasn't expecting the last chapter, but it was fun and I can see children loving it!

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Book Review: "The Self-Sufficient Princess" by Sanguine Addams

Kindle Unlimited:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Every book I read and review starts off with the full shed-load of stars and I'm always hopefull that they will all be stuck firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.  Saying that though, I should also be completely honest with you about my removal of stars... they are usually for copyright or trademark infringement which always breaks my heart when I feel I have to make an otherwise very much 5 star book a 4 star instead.  I always give my reasons for dropping each star - they don't just suddenly disappear into thin air.  I've also replaced a star once due to a magic little sentence at the very back of the book and I'm more than happy to do it again if I read that magic sentence in a future book too.

I'm making a late start on this book so doubt I'll get more than a couple of chapters read before I head to bed, but at 370 pages, it's my longest one for a veeery long time so I'm in it for the long haul with my free week this week.

Let's get going and see how much I can read in the next couple of hours before I head to bed.

My Kindle is telling me that it'll take me 7 hours and 24 minutes to read so, in theory, I'll get it finished by bedtime tomorrow, but we shall see.

The first page was a completely different way to start a story!  I hope it'll continue like that so that each page isn't torture to read!

An awesome first chapter but the measurements of feet and inches rather than centimeters and metres might confuse non-American readers as this is definitely an American author who spells it "mom" instead of the British way.  The star stays purely because of where it was written and the author may never have dreamed that it'd leave America so to knock a star off purely because they couldn't see the future.

There have been a few opportunities to use brand names and book titles but the author has skillfully dodged getting the usual star knocked off which is a huuuuge relief.

I'm up to page 12 of the first chapter so they are going to be looong chapters, but it's a mid-teens novel that has been well-written so far so the star stays on for that reason too.

Wowsers.  What an end to the first chapter.  The first chapter was 13 pages long and I loved every word. There's gentle humour threaded through the authors carefully chosen words so it's got me wanting to keep reading until bedtime, safe in the knowledge that there prolly won't be any pleas of being better the next day or the threat of nightmares or not being able to sleep soundly because of what I've read (which is incredibly easy to do and the main reason that I don't read horror or thrillers).  So far, this book is definitely 10/10 from me.

Oh dear.  On page 23 the author has used the name of a very famous person who was offered the chance of royal life before she and her hubby rejected it... know who I mean without me naming her?  The author has named her so they had better tread even more carefully than normal unless they want serious trouble from the Royal Family!

And another couple of celebrity names means the first star is coming off unfortunately.

Up to chapter 3 now and I'm seriously loving this book so far... definitely one of those "should've been 5 stars" books.

And now the name of a well-known search engine.  In less than a chapter the second star is wobbly too... one more mention of a brand name or trademark or use of copyrighted material and the second star plops off already.  I had such high hopes for this book, but it's heading the way of so many others unfortunately!

Up to page 54 and it's almost my bedtime, but 54 pages in about an hour and a half ain't too bad and I'm on track for finishing a around this time tomorrow, but for tonight and with the image of Sir Chad and Mittens making me smile, it's time to stop reading for the night now.

Back for another day's reading and reviewing now... how far will I get today?

Do search engine names come under Trademark infringement laws?  I'm assuming that they do, so the fourth star starts off the day safely.

Chapter 4 was 19 pages long and I enjoyed that one too.  This review is already faaaar too long, so like with my other reviews I'll just comment on the big things from now on in this review.

So proud of Mittens, but one character with three names is a bit too much... I can't even remember what the third name is now lol

Up to page 221 now, so I've managed to put in a decent amount of reading today.

There haven't been any more reasons to knock off a star and bits and pieces have made my heart beat faster and even get reasonably close to tears of pride - the author has an amazing way with words, but I'm stopping reading for the night again now and I'll prolly finish reading and reviewing this incredible book tomorrow.

A third day of reading is about to start and, like yesterday, I won't comment on absolutely everything, just the noteworthy stuff.  How will the novel end... will I be laughing, groaning, shaking my head or sobbing?

Up to chapter 14 and the author is starting to raise my hopes with Gale and the newest suitor... will Gale get scared and shoo him away or will she gulp down her nerves and live happily ever after?

There's a second potential suitor in the next chapter... will Gale have the guts to be honest with him about who she is?

Judging by chapter 16 it'll be a tear-jerker ending so I'm gonna temporarily stop reading there, so that I don't have to answer the door with a tear-stained face... I'm up to page 308 so I haven't got a clue how many pages are left considering my subscription said that it was 300 pages long... it's a long read but sooo worth it.

Ah, sod it... I *will* keep reading and if I have to answer the door mid crying session then so be it!  I *have* to know what happens next and this book has got me pulled right into it, hook, line and sinker!

I was wrong about potentially bursting into tears... it rapidly went from emotional at the end of the previous chapter to joyful throughout chapter 17!  I'm up to page 331 so far and I'm gonna risk another chapter before I have my lunch - will this be a tear-jerking chapter or another upbeat one?

Wowsers!  I wasn't expecting *anything* that happened in that chapter!

What an ending... it's a warm, fuzzy ending with appropriate humour and the potential for tears, but none from me.  A definite must-read book that's one of those "shoulda been 5 stars" ones that gets a hearty recommendation from me.

Thursday 27 July 2023

News on 27th July 2023

Icons made by Freepik from

27th July 2023

MHS graduate writes new children's book

Chris Cochrane’s Children’s Book About a Whimsically-Named House Helper to be Displayed at the Printers Row Lit Fest 2023

The best children’s books for summer 2023

Weird, funny, dark children’s books that I can recommend (as an adult, however).

Proof that old-fashioned children’s stories still exist

The best children’s books for summer 2023

A fine balance

Thousands of children contributed to a brand-new national book award’s success

'I've written a book so my child - and others - can learn about their heritage'

BBC reveals cast and first look images for ‘Drive’ director’s reimagining of The Famous Five

Shipka grandmother releases first children’s book

For young readers: Verse books to introduce children to Indian clothes, wildlife, and music

Teresita A. Bartolome’s Children’s Non-Fiction Book Will Be Displayed at the 2023 San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books

Award-winning children's author visits Bettws Library

A mama’s chronic pain journey leads to a new Christian children’s book

Enterprise, AL Author Publishes Children's Book

‘Colonial mentality’: from the Caribbean to Kenya, Black people are challenging hair discrimination

Your Head’s Not The Place To Store Problems (Josh Pyke, illus Stephen Michael King, Scholastic)

Ramona Muse Lambert releases children’s book “Fest Friends” just in time for Hinterland

Barn Owl Books in Malmesbury announces opening date

Queen Camilla visits author of Black Beauty Anna Sewell’s house in Norfolk, know more about the famous writer

Friday 7 July 2023

Aaand...'s finished.  

I finished my first ever NaNo Camp in exactly 7 days and I'm now celebrating with my last Glitterberry J2O.  I've re-found my writing enjoyment and I didn't put my life on hold at all.

I've already got my NaNo23 and JanNo24 novels planned out, but I won't be putting my life on hold to complete them any more... I still want to keep winning, but I won't be writing 8-9k words a day from 3am to 10pm any more.  I'll get up when I wake up, write a chapter, get washed and dressed and eat my first meal of the day before I write again until I have my lunch, then write until bedtime, just like I did with my Camp MS - I'll be writing for the enjoyment rather than beating my personal best like I wanted to do for the last who knows how many.  From now on, I'm writing because I enjoy it, not because it's a competition.

I'm also not going to have a J2O for every 5 chapters I write in a day 'cos that's waaay too expensive, I'll be doing like I did with Camp and have a treat-sized bar of chocolate at the end of every chapter and a J2O when I've finished the entire thing.  I'll need a multipack of 4 to last both competitions rather than a box of 20 for each of them.

I'll still be a winner, it just won't be as fast or my sole focus every day any more.

It's the final...

...750 words of the entire manuscript coming up, so I've written 4 chapters today and it's looking like I'll be able to have my celebratory J2O before 5pm and I can't wait!

I've written 4 chapters but have only had 1 reward so far, so I'm thinking that calls for a brief pause while I devour my three owed bars... I can do this!

2 down, 3 to go

Just finished my second chapter of the morning but, like with yesterday (or whenever it was), I'm not gonna risk having my reward until after I've had my lunch 'cos knowing my luck, my carer would turn up just as I put the chocolate into my mouth lol

It's looking more and more likely that I'll be able to cross the finishing line with this manuscript before I head to bed tonight and I'm already drooling at the thought that I'll be allowed the last J2O when I type the final full-stop.  I've got 2 litres of chocolate soya milkshake in the fridge that I'm gonna devour when I finish too, as long as it's not too late.

I'm rounding the final bend of the race and the finishing line is in sight now!

1 down, 4 to go

I've just finished chapter 30 which was my first chapter of the day in about 45 minutes and I'm tying up all the loose ends now.  The children have just learnt the definition of 'compassion' and the rest of the MS will be planning and attending Paul's surprise leaving party.

First reward of the day now methinks, then I'll crack on with the second chapter of the day and hope that I can finish it and have my reward before my lunchtime carer arrives.

Thursday 6 July 2023



I've just finished writing my fifth chapter of the day, so that's the writing finished until tomorrow morning now.  Just got 3,500 words left to write and that's the novel finished in plenty of time for completing my first ever Camp.  I'm trying to remain hopeful that I'll write the final word tomorrow in exactly a week, including 2 non-writing days and a very interrupted day on Tuesday 'cos of the groceries as well as the two carer visits, but I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for what I've achieved and I'm gonna go and get myself a glass of water and my final reward of the day then check my emails for the first time today.

4 down, 1 to go

I've just finished writing my fourth chapter of the day and I'm feeling more hopeful that maybe I really will get the fifth chapter written before bedtime.

I'm desperate for a wee so I'm gonna use the bathroom before I we... I made it with literally 2 seconds to spare lol

Gonna indulge in 2 rewards 'cos I didn't have one for the previous chapter, but I've got nearly 2 hours before bedtime, so hopefully I'll smash it and still be able to check my email before I take my last pills of the day.

Only got 4,250 words left to write to win my first ever Camp and having written the whole thing with no plan at all... it's been a totally muse-written MS for the first time in a loooong time.

3 down, 2 to go

Just finished my third chapter of the day, which means I've got 2 chapters left to write before I head to bed and 5k to go to finish the entire MS and Camp.

Not gonna risk having a reward just in case it comes straight back up - it's my own fault for scoffing 350g of fresh strawberries at lunchtime lol

2 down, 3 to go

Just finished my second chapter of the day and taken my reward out of the fridge to scoff... will I be able to finish eating it before my lunchtime carer arrives?

1 down, 4 to go

It took just under 3 hours from starting to finishing the chapter, but as well as writing I got washed and dressed and had my breakfast too!

I'm up to chapter 26 of 34 though, so as long as I can knock out 5 chapters today and tomorrow, I'll only have one to write on Saturday and the manuscript will be finished in 8 days, including having two days totally free from writing, which ain't too bad at all.

Gonna enjoy my Fudge, log it into the app then do my medically approved laps before making myself a hot drink and cracking on with my second chapter of the day.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

That's my fifth chapter of the day...

...done and dusted, so I'm gonna go and get my fifth and final treat of the day and check my email for the first time today.

I'm 71% of the way through the challenge now, so as long as I can keep knocking out at least 4 chapters a day, I'll hopefully be finished by bed-time on Sunday.

Four down, one to go

Just finished my fourth chapter of the day and there's two hours before bedtime so the fifth chapter is pretty much in the bag.

Gonna go and get my penultimate reward of the day then write that chapter.

Three down, two to go

I'm doing well this afternoon!  I've written 2 chapters in about 3 hours and I'm well away now, just starting to tie up loose ends and get rid of one of my characters with an experience the main character has never had.  I reckon today's 5 chapter target will be pretty doable and it means that I'll be able to have 5 rewards too, which is even better.

Two down...

...hopefully three to go.

'Tis reward time methinks.

First reward of the day has...

...been earnt pretty easily in just over an hour.

I'm gonna leave it there until after lunch so that I don't have to stop half way through a sentence when my lunchtime carer arrives.  I'm back into my writing headspace now, so after I've had my lunch I'll be able to spend the rest of the afternoon writing uninterrupted.  According to the NaNo site, I'm 59% of the way to my goal of 25k words so I'm hoping that I'll be finished by bedtime on Saturday, as long as I can keep knocking out at least 4 chapters a day... I'm aiming for 5 but I'll be happy with 4.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

I've decided...

...against writing the third chapter of the day now - too much has happened since I wrote more of the MS this morning and I'm well and truly out of my writing headspace now, so I'm just gonna veg out with my decaff mocha until bedtime then make an early start on it tomorrow.

I'm signing off for the night now though... I'll see you all in the morning for another hopefully huge writing session like I managed yesterday.  I'd never have let myself off so lightly if I wasn't writing this MS purely for enjoyment but that's what I'm doing tonight.

2 chapters means two rewards

I finished my second chapter of the morning at just before 11am but my internet connection died so I've only just been able to update it.

Depending on what time my carer gets here for lunch, depends on if I'll be able to write any more this afternoon.

I've just had a phone call from the supermarket wanting to know if they could deliver my groceries at 11.30am so I said nope 'cos of my carer, so then she asked about 1.30pm and I had to say no again... I book that slot for a reason lol

I'm happy with having written 2 chapters today though 'cos I was thinking I might have to have another day free from writing but I've only got 11k left to write, so a couple of days like yesterday and I'll be finished.

Almost forgot... first, but hopefully not only, reward of the day for finishing chapter 18.  I'm hoping to get another chapter under my belt before my lunchtime carer turns up, then I'll do my medically approved laps, bring the groceries in and put them away then hopefully knock out at least one more chapter before bedtime.  I'm definitely back into my writing headspace now, thankfully.

Monday 3 July 2023

5 down and one last reward for today

I've just finished writing my 5th chapter of the day and it's pretty much pill-taking time, so I'm gonna have one last reward then take my last pills of the day and head to bed for an early night I reckon.  I'm officially at 51% and managed to write 5 chapters in the 6 hours since I had my lunch, so that's pretty good going.

I'm gonna sign off this blog for the night now and I'll be back again, briefly, after I've had my lunch then again after my groceries have been delivered.  There's no way I'll be able to knock out 5 chapters tomorrow, but I'm hoping for at least one, maybe two.

Keeep writing!

Four down... will I...

...make it to 5 chapters and 5 rewards before bedtime?

And that makes three!

I've just finished my third chapter in about 3 hours so I'm feeling really positive that I can hit the half way point before bedtime tonight.  I'm still writing for enjoyment and I'm not putting my life on hold for my writing this time.

Will I be able to finish the entire thing before bed-time on Sunday?  That's what I'm hoping for, but it's totally OK if I don't manage it.

Reward time now I think.  At this rate I'll be able to get 5 chapters written before bedtime tonight which'll be awesome now that I'm back into my writing headspace!

Second reward of the day has...

...been earnt and I'm within touching distance of being half way through the entire manuscript and therefore within touching distance of being halfway to winning my first ever Camp, which is an awesome feeling.  It's feeling doable now and allowing myself a treat after each chapter is really helping to motivate me to start writing and keep enjoying creating every word.  I'm not feeling under any pressure to knock out a certain number of words each day and I didn't even open the documents yesterday and it'll prolly be the same again tomorrow but I'm back to enjoying being creative rather than pressurising myself to complete each manuscript as fast as I can.

First reward of the day...

...has been earnt and it only took just over an hour to write that chapter, so I'm on track for writing hopefully at least two or even three more before I hit the sack tonight.

Time to go and raid the fridge for my first reward.

Saturday 1 July 2023

Only one...

...chapter and therefore reward today, which is disappointing but pretty normal for me 'cos the first day is always spent getting into my writing headspace and it'll be one chapter tomorrow 'cos of being elsewhere for a few hours tomorrow, but next week is clear (other than my carers coming in twice a day) so I'll hopefully be able to make pretty decent progress on it then.  

I'm hoping to be half way through by next weekend, then I won't be able to write much on the Monday 'cos of getting a couple of house repairs done but I'm not putting myself under pressure to get it finished by a certain day, I'm gonna take my time and enjoy the pleasure of writing again.

I've put myself under too much pressure over my writing and I'm using my first Camp to rediscover the enjoyment rather than focussing on getting it finished as soon as I can.  I'm gonna do an early chapter book after I've finished this, then editing then writing... I'm gonna rediscover the enjoyment that initially pulled me to write for children in the first place, rather than competing with everyone to see who can finish first.

This is my rediscovery of enjoyment year.

That's my...

...first reward of the NaNo Camp earned and devoured.

It's taken literally all morning from about 5.30am to write 750 words, but they are done and dusted now so I can wait for my lunchtime carer to arrive then spend the rest of the time this afternoon and early evening, continuing to write.

I'm hoping I'll be able to knock out at least 3 chapters today, but maybe only one tomorrow 'cos I won't be home for a good chunk of the day, but I'm gonna relax and enjoy writing rather than hammering out words as fast as I can like I have done every year for JanNo and NaNo.

Friday 30 June 2023

I've decided... really push the boat out with trying new things on the NaNo Camp thing.

Not only will it be my first ever camp, it'll also be the first time I've set my own goal with writing for the month (25k 'cos my Camp MS is for lower MG) but I've also only got 1 J2O left and loooooadsa cartons of chocolate in the fridge, soo I'm gonna allow myself to have one treat-sized bar of chocolate for every completed chapter in a day and have the J2O as my big reward when I've completed the Camp MS.

I'm also not gonna focus solely on the MS at the expense of everything else.  I'm not gonna aim to write any more than I can cope with in a day (although I hope it's more than a couple of chapters at a time lol) and I'm gonna eat and get washed and carry on with my life as it is now, I just won't be spending so long eating and drinking because I'm bored/lonely.  It's gonna be the main focus of my day but not the *only* one like it has been since my second attempt at NaNo.

I'm gonna use July as my experimental month to see if I can get away from relying so heavily on the J2O's for NaNo and JanNo.

Writing or editing is gonna fill my day as opposed to boredom, loneliness, shopping and chocolate.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

I'm definitely...

...doing my first ever Camp NaNo in July.

I wanna get the sequel finished so that I can focus on NaNo23 and JanNo24 which are both already planned out and waiting to be written.

The sequel will only be around 25k words and I've only got one J2O left, so I'm gonna try getting through camp with just chocolate as my reward until I put in the final full stop then I can have the last J2O as a reward.

Life is starting to settle down now so I wanna get back into writing again and I'm gonna try to keep the J2O's just for longer projects like NaNo and JanNo... like with everything else, this is a purely experimental year for me so it might or might not work out, but I wanna make the most of my creativity now that I've got the time and space and freedom to do it in.

Friday 23 June 2023

Book Review: "BODY SWAP - Books 2, 3, and 4" by Katrina Kahler

Kindle Unlimited:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that every book starts of with the full whack of 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.

I read the first book in this series in just over 2 hours yesterday and there's 3 in this one book, so I'm thinking it'll take around about 6 hours to finish this one in.  I'm not gonna rush it, if it's anywhere near as good as the first in the series then I'll devour every word.

Let's get going.

Oh dear, the first 5 pages were good again, but that dreaded copyright/trademark infringement has already cropped up, so heartbreakingly, after only 1% of this set of books, we're already down to 4 stars  :-(  I hope that magic sentence is at the back so that the star can be replaced!

Ah right, I know how old the main character is now so I know he's in the US equivalent of secondary school so the reading age is about right and it's definitely a Middle Grade book.

Ooh that chapter was good and it raised a small smile out of me.  The author has got everything spot on again so far in this book.

I'm still enjoying this book, it's just not as gripping as the first one in the series unfortunately.

Ooh!  *That* was a surprise ending to that book!  The author is dangling a piece of chocolate just out of my reach again!

Onto the second of the three books in this book but the third of the series of 4 (if that makes any kind of sense at all lol)

Oooh!  It's take 2.5 books, but there's finally a mention of Mum!  No spoilers, don't worry lol

Ooh!  Another cliff-hanger at the end of book 3!  There's only half an hour left until my bed-time so I'll read the last book tomorrow and constantly think about how it will end while I'm asleep lol

It's been 20 days since I last read this book and I've forgotten every word of what's already happened, thanks to my neurological disability but I'm hoping that I'll be able to quickly get back into the fourth book in the series and hopefully finish it before I head to bed.

Oooh!  Has the author decided to not only start winding down the book, but the entire series too?

I was right about winding down the series but wrong about how it would end - it's a happy-ever-after but not in the way I was expecting.

I'm sooo glad I discovered the first book and decided to carry on reading.

Friday 2 June 2023

Book Review: "BODY SWAP: Catastrophe!!!" by Katrina Kahler

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that every book starts off with the full boat-load of 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.  You'll also know that I'm not afraid to return a docked star if there's a magic little sentence that the author has put in.

Let's get going shall we?

Oooh!  I like the front cover... it's kinda giving me the feeling that it'll be like older comic book humour?  Let's see if that's the reality  :-)

Pretty much straight into the action and I've even raised a slight smile a few times, which is pretty much unheard of for me.  I'm enjoying this book so far and I hope it continues like that!

Oh yes, this is definitely a good book.  The author has well and truly got into the head of her character and the slight smiles are still appearing occasionally, which is incredible considering I'm only 36% of the way through the book.  I doubt I'll finish it before bedtime, but that's OK, I already feel lighter so I'll hopefully feel easier about going to sleep tonight and I'll stick my nose straight back into it when I wake up tomorrow.

What.  An.  Incredible.  Book.  I managed to get it finished in one sitting after all, but I can't wait to read the others now!  Definitely a must-read!