Thursday, June 20, 2024

Celebrate the Small Things 21-6-24


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small Things...

What am I celebrating this week?

It's my youngest son's 17th birthday.  How the heck am I old enough for my youngest to be 17?  Crazy!  I don't feel any different inside than I did when I was 16...

I've read through the stuff I wrote last week and some of it is okay...  I think there's definitely some stuff I need to add and change, but as a starting point, it's not too bad. I'm so in love with these characters though.  I just hope I can do them justice.  I'm going to try and find a few hours to work on it this weekend (not fixing stuff, but writing forward) so I can keep up the momentum I started last week. We have a public holiday next week and I'm hoping to take an extra day on top of that to get a couple of writing days in there.

I've made more progress on my beta reading too (I'm 13 chapters in), so I need to make some more progress on that too...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Books I've Read: Every Other Weekend


I have a confession to make.  Reading this book was cheating on the book I'm actually supposed to be reading - a massive 800 page Ukranian novel which I'm reading for my book club.  I picked this up while I was writing at the library on Wednesday so I had something to read while eating lunch and just kept going...  Apologies to my other book.  I will get back to it, I promise.

I'm a huge fan of Abigail Johnson, and I enjoyed this one very much.  The characters kind of irritated me to start with, but they really grew on me as they began to see themselves and their circumstances more clearly.

The premise is simple - two kids have to spend every other weekend with their fathers in a dodgy apartment building after their parents separate.  Both hate it for different reasons, but once they meet and become friends, these weekends become the best part of their lives.

Jolene is an aspiring filmmaker, living her life in stories she can control because her own life is so miserable through no fault of her own.  She is deliciously snarky and mean as a result and has some of the4 very best lines in the whole book.

Adam, on the other hand, comes from a tight, loving home. But after his oldest brother dies, everything falls apart and his father moves out, unable to keep living with his wife's grief.  Adam s furious at his father, seeing his leaving as an abandonment of the family as a whole.  The way he treats his father and brother made me really dislike him, but his loyalty and obvious care for his mother kind of redeemed him a little.

With only two days a fortnight together, the friendship between Jolene and Adam is slow to start, but feels so organic as a result. It is so easy to see why these two people might bond, given their similar-yet-different circumstances.  With chapters alternating POV, we also get an insight into their lives when they aren't together (although I feel like we get much more of Jolene's life than Adam's - especially her friends).

I really enjoyed seeing the way they both grew and changed over the course of the book and how their friendship grew with them.  Their circumstances may have been similar to begin with, but by the end of the book they are in very different (better) situations yet you can see that their relationship has developed to a place where they don't need the shared anger and misery to bond them anymore.

So I'd recommend this one.  

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Can life begin again… every other weekend?

Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.

Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.

Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Weekly Goals 17-6-24

 I unfortunately have to go back to work today.  After a good long chunk (3 days plus weekend) off, I've gotten into the swing of writing and wish I could keep going.  Another week, and I could potentially finish this book...  But I'll have to leave it until the weekend now, and I'm not sure I'm going to have any time to put into it this weekend because I have a bunch of other stuff on.

But my goal is to keep going, to keep the momentum up that I've built.  It's a public holiday next Friday, so I'm planning to keep that free for a full day of writing.

I have also made inroads in my beta reading and aim to try and get that finished over the next two weeks too.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, June 14, 2024

Celebrate the Small Things 14-6-24


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small Things...

What am I celebrating this week?

I did some writing!  Actually, I did a lot of writing.  I set out to write three new chapters on A Stranger to Kindness, but I needed up writing seven. 

They're not good chapters for the most part, and I think at least two of them will probably end up on the scrap heap, but damn it felt good to write like that.  Stupidly, I 'd forgotten I'd written a little outline/synopsis thing (1.5 pages, so not much) for this, and didn't find it until day 2 of writing.  If I'd read it at the start, it probably would have changed the order of scenes I wrote and probably the direction I took.

But I wrote and I loved every minute of it, even when it was hard.  And I'm even more determined to finish this one now.  I left it at a good bit yesterday, so I'm hoping that will encourage me to keep going, even when I don't have a full day to dedicate to it.  A few hours would do.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Books I've Read: The Followers

This was a fun, twisty read that I found myself far more invested in than I had anticipated being.  Perhaps because I find social media so frightening in many ways, this just kind of confirmed my fears.

When she was a teenager, Liv's sister was brutally murdered and all signs point to her recently-estranged boyfriend as being the culprit.  But Sam disappeared right after the murder, with Liv's niece in tow, and despite detectives continuing to search for him, there has been no sign of him for years.

So when Liv stumbles upon a photo of Sam in the feed of a popular Instagrammer, she packs her bags and heads to the remote town the social media icon has recently moved to.

Molly is a popular social media maven with scores of followers (and an entire forum of haters) watching her every move.  But her new husband is uncomfortable with the scrutiny had demanded she remove the single picture she posted of him.  Molly is surprised at the intensity of his reaction, but agrees to keep Scott and his daughter out of her carefully curated social media world.

When Liv arrives in town, it's easy for her to follow Molly's online clues to engineer meetings and even easier to befriend the lonely newcomer.  But as the two women develop a friendship, both are uncovering secrets about Molly's husband, secrets that have remained buried for over a decade and point to something much more sinister and dangerous than either of them could possibly imagine.

I enjoyed this one.  There were lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing right up until the end. And I liked the way social media was used as both a force of good and of evil in the way the plot played out.  I did find Liv a bit of a stereotype - we've all seen this kind of seemingly tough, shut-off woman before, isolating herself and stifling her needs for fear of being hurt again. Yawn.... But the plot was exciting enough that I'll forgive it this time...

So I'd recommend this one.

But don't just listen to me.  here's the blurb:

The Girl on the Train meets the world of social media in this psychological thriller about influencer culture, parasocial relationships, and the secrets we keep from those we love most.

Molly Sullivan is used to sharing intimate details of her life with millions of followers. A thirty-one-year-old single mom, she has built a career out of fearless posts about parenthood and dating. But when Molly shares a photo of her new fiancé, Scott, she is shocked by his negative reaction. For the sake of their relationship, Molly agrees to remove the post and keep Scott and his ten-year-old daughter out of her social media spotlight.

But it's too late, someone has already recognized him. Liv Barrett is certain Scott's the man who killed her sister and disappeared with her infant niece nine years ago. The police don't believe her, so Liv takes matters into her own hands. Driving cross-country to Colorado, Liv uses Molly's social media posts to orchestrate "accidental" meetings, slowly gaining her trust. Meanwhile, newlywed Molly begins to unpack boxes in her new home and discovers her husband has been lying about his past.

While Molly and Liv uncover secrets that have been buried deep for almost a decade, they have no idea that someone else saw the photo of Scott--someone who poses a threat more dangerous than either of them can imagine. Someone who is watching them from the shadows.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Weekly Goals 10-6-24

 Light Cycles finished last night.  It rained and was windy, so it wasn't a busy night.  My feet got wet and cold and my scarf got soaked.  Not the most fun I've ever had...

But it's over now, so I get my life back!  And more importantly, I get a few days off at the end of the week.  I'm planning to use them to kick-start myself back into writing.  I thought about it a lot over the weekend, and I think I'm going to work on A Stranger to Kindness.  I want to write new stuff, not edit, and that't the project I really want to write, even if it is hard.  My goal is to get three new chapters written this week.

So that and the beta reading I need to do will keep me busy.  

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Celebrate the Small Things 7-6-24


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small Things...

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  And the final weekend of Light Cycles which means I'll get some free time back. I'm so ready to write something!  I don't know what, but I need to write.

It's been a week of rejections this week.  I've had five so far, three on one day even!  That's a bit much.

I've done some work on my query, trying to make the stakes higher for both my girls.  I do wonder if I go too far into the story...  I read somewhere once that a query should only talk about the first third or so of the book, but that seems like one of those rules that doesn't work for every story.  It doesn't work for Guide Us.

After working so much the last few weeks, I'm planning some days off for next week. I have a beat read to do for a friend, but apart from that (and trying to read some of the 800 page Ukranian novel for my book club) I have nothing planned, so hope to be able to get at least one writing day in.  I'm just not sure what I want to work on.  I have a bunch of choices.

1. A Stranger to Kindness - I'm about 6 chapters in, but I'm not feeling obsessed with this story right now and I know it's going to be hard to write. I should just dig back in and I'll probably find my way, but it feels like it's going to be hard...
2. I have a bunch of chapters written of a book about a reality TV show that I found the other day.  Maybe that would be fun to work on?
3. I've been thinking about re--working an old story that I still kinda love as an MG project.  Not sure if I can write MG, but maybe it's worth a shot??  Can you write about suicide in MG?
4. I have two other stories I've written a bunch of chapters for, one about a boy who is abused by his girlfriend and another about a ballet dancer who becomes a stripper to fuel her drug habit.
5. And then there's that finished novel about the child criminal being released with a new identity that probably just needs a bit of editing and polishing up...
6. and finally, there's an old story idea I never actually wrote about a runaway and her return home...

Which do you think I should work on?

And what are you celebrating this week?