Sunday, May 30, 2021

Weekly Goals 31-5-21

 I finished my most recent beta read, so this week I'm going to get back into working on Juliet & Juliet.  I still can't think what to write to replace a scene I cut out of chapter 4, so I'm going to just leave a note and move on.  What needs to go there may become clear as I move on.  Hopefully...

Other than that, I don't have anything much in the way of goals this week.  Just the usual stuff - going to the gym, getting through all the work I need to get through.  It's a long weekend this coming weekend (Queen's Birthday) and I feel like I will be crawling my way toward it.  It's the last long weekend before Labour Day in October, so I feel like I need to make the most of it.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Celebrate the Small Things 28-5-21

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!

I'm looking forward to having a quiet one this weekend because I've been feeling totally exhausted this week.  I think this 6am gym thing is wearing me out!  It's a little different getting up at 5:30am to crawl to my computer and write to getting up and out of the house and exercising.  But it's good and I'm sure I'll get used to it.  And not every week will have a super blood moon eclipse to stay up and watch the night before....

Did you see it?  Was quite spectacular and really gave the sense of how quickly the earth is actually moving.  I would probably have stayed and watched for much longer if it hadn't been so freaking freezing that night!

I have not done much work on Juliet & Juliet. I admit.  I opened the document again and did a few little tweaks to the first three chapters which I had already done some work on, then got stuck at the same point in chapter 4 that I did before.  I need to write some new stuff in there, and am not sure exactly what to write.  

And then another friend asked me to do some beta reading for her, so I jumped at that...  But I will go back to Juliet & Juliet soon, I promise.  This is only a few chapters of beta reading, not a whole book, so won't take long.

I also wrote an article which you can read here.  It's about writing LGBTQIA+ characters.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


I loved this book from the very first line.  The author is also a poet and I think this shows in the economical yet lyrical way she uses language. It's a short book, but packs a punch in its prosaic look at America's love of guns.

Pearl France is an outsider.  Born to a teenage runaway, she's grown up living in a car on the outskirts of a trailer park in small-town Florida.  Not wanting to get tangled up with the authorities, Pearl and her mother keep largely to themselves.  Margot works and earns enough to keep them in powdered milk, cereal, bug spray and cleaning products and Pearl goes to school.  One of the few residents of the trailer park is a preacher, so they occasionally also go to church.

When the church sets up a scheme where people can hand in their guns ostensibly to put a halt to gun violence, things in the trailer park start to change. Especially when the reverend's friend Eli shows up.

Suddenly Eli is taking up space in Margot's car and Pearl must find other places to go to get away from his overbearing presence.  And his guns which seem to be piling up all over the trailer park.  He even gives one to Margot, to keep her and Pearl safe...

But in this world where guns are as common as mud and people congregate on Sunday afternoons to shoot bullets into the river in the hope of hitting an alligator, it is inevitable that guns will dictate the course of Pearl's life.

This is a beautifully written book that deals with some tough subject matter.  Pearl is an engaging narrator, both naive and world-wise, tough yet fragile. Through her eyes, the world is both brutal and beautiful, even if she doesn't fully recognise either.  Her mother has sheltered her from a lot, only giving her small snippets of her past and the wealthy upbringing she escaped.  So Margot is Pearl's whole world.

Through exploring Pearl's world and those she calls family and friends, this book gives a stark reminder of the pervasiveness of guns and gun violence in America.

It's a short book, and I found it an easy read (and very enjoyable because the author puts words together in such a beautifully lyrical way), but the subject matter is tough enough that I would caution anyone who may be sensitive to violence to think a little before diving in.  It's not particularly graphic, but there are acts of violence on the page, if that is something that might upset you.

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

Fourteen-year-old Pearl France lives in the front seat of a broken down car and her mother Margot lives in the back. Together they survive on a diet of powdered milk and bug spray, love songs and stolen cigarettes.

Life on the edge of a Florida trailer park is strange enough, but when Pastor Rex’s ‘Guns for God’ programme brings Eli Redmond to town Pearl’s world is upended. Eli pays regular visits to Margot in the back seat, forcing Pearl to find a world beyond the car. Margot is given a gift by Eli, a gun of her own, just like he’s given her flowers. It sits under the driver’s seat, a dark presence…

Gun Love is a hypnotic story of family, community and violence. Told from the perspective of a sharp-eyed teenager, it exposes America’s love affair with firearms and its painful consequences.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Weekly Goals 24-5-21

 This week I swear I am going to get back into Juliet and Juliet.  It's going to be slow, I know, but I need to get this book into shape.  So I am making a commitment to actually do some work on it.

My routine is switching up a little though, because my gym decided to renovate and as part of the renovation, they're closing the spin studio.  So the class I have gone to on a Saturday for around 15 years is no longer happening.  Spin classes as a whole are barely happening, which is the same thing that happened at the branch of this gym I go to in town.

So, to try and get a couple of good spins a week in, I am going to sacrifice writing time two mornings a week to go to classes at 6:15am.  Not ideal, but it looks like the best I can do at the moment.  I looked up other gyms, but everything else doesn't have the same flexibility and costs more, so I feel like I'm stuck with this gym for now.

So I am going to have to find another couple of hours somewhere else in the week to make up for those two mornings.  

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, May 20, 2021

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!

My kids got me tickets to a show for Christmas and this time, it's actually going ahead!  In 2019 I got tickets to The Book of Mormon for Christmas, but the show was cancelled because of COVID so I never got to go...  This time the tickets are for Jersey Boys which is not The Book of Mormon, but hopefully still good.  It's been a long time since I last saw a musical in an actual theatre.

Other than that, my weekend is looking relatively free.  Rather annoyingly, my gym decided to cancel the class I have been going to every Saturday morning for about 15 years, so I'm going to have to rearrange everything to fit in a different class at a later time.  It's not that I dislike change; it's more that the 9am class worked well with everything else we need to get done on a Saturday morning.  But I guess now we'll just have to do grocery shopping and chores earlier, and the gym later.

And that's about it for this week.  I still haven't been writing, but I do plan to get back to it next week.  I'm putting it in writing here, so hold me to it. Make me accountable. I will get back to Juliet & Juliet on Monday.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

A Quick Spell Release Day Celebration and Interview with Author Patricia Josephine


My friend Patricia has a new book out this week, so I had her drop by to tell us a little bit about herself and her book!

When did your writing journey start?

A: Unlike many writing friends, I didn’t get into writing until my late twenties. BUT, I’ve always been a day dreamer, so I’ve always had story ideas in my head. Usually, they were set in worlds that weren’t my own. X-men. Star Wars. Whatever book, TV, or movie I had consumed recently that I enjoyed. I guess I day dreamed fan fiction and it was only a matter of time until I started putting words on paper.

What made you decide to write short fiction?

A: It started with Twitter. Jocelyn Rish created a hashtag called #15tt (15 Minute Tweet Tales.) You were to use 140 characters to tell a story. You had 15 minutes to write it. I had been doing the A to Z Blogging Challenge every April and I wanted a theme, but 140 characters seemed too short for it, so I used Jocelyn’s prompts to write 100 word flash fiction for the challenge. When it was over, I kept doing them because they were great writing exercises. It wasn’t until later, when I saw a collection of 100 word flash fiction at MIParaCon that I got the idea to expand those stories to 200 words and put them into a collection. By then I had a ton of them so it was easy to pick out 45 and expand them.

Why 45 stories? Why not 50?

A: There is a reason, but I can’t for the life of me remember what that is. The answer will probably come after this is posted.

How do you come up with different names for 45 different stories?

A: It’s a pretty straightforward process. I write down all the names from each story and note when I have duplicates. Then I go to a baby name site or ask for suggestions. Thankfully, it’s not actually 45 stories that I have to do that for. Some stories are told in first person and you never learn their name.

Who do you look up to as a writer?

A: I can’t really say there’s any single writer I look up to, but one writer that always comes to mind as someone I enjoy reading myself and will definitely call a favorite is Kerrelyn Sparks. She writes paranormal romance. She also adds a touch of humor here and there that always makes me laugh. When I need comfort and a happily ever after, I turn to her.

About A Quick Spell


We are bewitched by what we can't see.

Conjure delight with a fantastical collection of tales. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to delight your imagination no matter how busy your day is.

Will you believe? 

Buy Links




About the Author

Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. 



Where to find Patricia: 







Amazon Author Page


Draft 2 Digital

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weekly Goals 17-5-21

 I still have a few chapters left to go on the beta-read I'm doing, so my goal for this week is to get that finished and sent off.  Then I will get back into Juliet & Juliet, regardless of whether I feel like doing it or not.

I have a sense it's going to be a busy week at work too, so I'm preparing myself for that.

I rewrote my query for Standing too Close, so once I've finished my beta-read, I want to send off a handful of these new queries to see if I get any bites on this one.  I'm beginning to feel like maybe this story isn't the right one for the current point in time.  And that's disappointing because I know it's among the best things I've written.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, May 14, 2021

Celebrate the Small Things 14-5-21


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 it's my birthday!

I haven't actually made any plans or anything useful like that, but it's so nice to have my birthday fall on a weekend again.

Rather foolishly I told my family I was leaving it up to them as to what we might do to celebrate which probably means absolutely nothing.   But we shall see...

Even if they don't do anything, I will make sure I enjoy my day and I'm telling you now, I will not be doing any house cleaning!  That can wait until Sunday.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Books I've Read: The Project


Here's something you may not know about me: I'm fascinated by cults.  I've probably watched most of the cult docos there are available on Netflix and am always eager to read books set in and around cults.  So this book sounded right up my alley, not only because it deals with a cult, but because it's by Courtney Summers who is one of my must-read authors.

I found this book in the YA section of the library, but I'm not entirely sure it is YA.  It takes place over several time periods, jumping back and forth from one to another seamlessly, but in the present day, the book's narrator is 19 and working for a magazine.  19 is not far outside the traditional YA age-range, but it's getting up there, and some of the content in this book felt like it might sit more comfortably in an adult book.  

But look who's talking....  My own books often seem to fit into this grey area too.

The main character, Lo, is alone.  Her parents died in a terrible car wreck that left her critically injured.  While she was recovering in hospital, her sister Bea visited less and less, eventually disappearing to join the secretive community known as the Unity Project.  Ever since leaving the hospital, Lo has tried to re-connect to her sister to no avail.

Now Lo is working for a magazine and desperate to prove herself to the manager who hired her as an assistant.  She's a writer and is certain she has something more to offer the magazine than organising the boss' appointments and bringing him coffee and lunch.  When she manages to finally get access to the Unity Project, she's certain that not only will she and Bea reunite, but she'll scoop the story of a lifetime for the magazine.

But as she gets closer to the community and its charismatic leader, Lev, Bea is still elusive.  As she digs deeper, the community begins to reveal its dark side and Lo realises finding Bea is not her only problem.  In fact, if she doesn't stop digging into the Unity Project, her life might be in danger,

I really enjoyed this book.  There are plenty of twists and turns and the tension ratchets up from page to page.  It would be easy to dislike Bea for abandoning her sister while she was recovering, but because sections of the book are told through Bea's eyes, we get a real sense of the trauma she is going through as a result of the accident and the associated guilt and pain.  It is easy to see how, at this low point in her life, she might be vulnerable to what Lev has to offer.

It's also easy to understand Lo's anger at Bea for leaving her, and her desperation to reconnect even when Bea refuses to speak to her.  And it is this that drives her to pursue the Unity Project and to uncover whatever dark and dirty secrets she is certain they conceal.

I don't think you need to be as into cults as I am to enjoy this book.  I think anyone who likes a good thriller with lots of twists and unexpected turns will like it as much as I did.

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

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence.

When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger.

As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her.

From Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of the 2019 Edgar Award Winner and breakout hit Sadie, comes her electrifying follow-up—a suspenseful, pulls-no-punches story about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister no matter the cost.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Weekly Goals 10-5-21

 It's my birthday week, so I'm sort of celebrating.  I don't actually have any plans for my birthday (yet), but it's not until Saturday, so I have time.  

This week's goal is to try and finish a beta-read I'm doing for a friend.  I'm hoping once I've done that, I might be inspired enough to get back into Juliet and Juliet (which is not actually going to be called that in the end - it wouldn't make sense since only one of the MCs is called Juliet).

I had a call with an editor over the weekend and she gave me some helpful notes on my query package for Standing too Close so I plan to take another bash at the query and send out a few more to see if a new query might make a difference.  I've never queried a book so unsuccessfully before and it's frustrating, because I know this book is among the best I've written.

And finally my goal is to go to the gym more this week.  I was particularly slack last week because other stuff kept coming up and keeping me from going.  This week I need to find the time regardless.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Celebrate the Small Things


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!

I feel like it is much deserved despite having had a day off in the middle of the week (which was very enjoyable, by the way) because I had to take my son to get his braces put on.

I got another rather wonderful review for Chasing the Taillights.  Interesting how well this one is reviewing.  I don't think all these wonderful reviews are translating into sales, but at least I know some people are reading it and enjoying it.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

IWSG for May


It's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group!

This month's question is a doozy!

Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

I'm constantly surprised by the responses I get from readers.  I don't outline or plan anything much before I start writing, so it's always a surprise when people tell me that I've layered information through the story in a compelling way.  It's not something I do consciously at all!

To be honest, any kind of structure in my books is accidental.  I don't map story beats or turning points or anything like that.  I just write.  But I do think that because I read a lot, and always have, the structure just naturally falls into place because I know what a book looks like.  I never even change much in that respect when editing.  At most I cut longwinded stuff from the beginning to cut to the action more quickly.

Recently I've been pleasantly surprised by the response I've had from reviewers for my new book.  While I love this book for a number of reasons, it's not the one I would call my best.  Yet this book has obviously struck a chord somewhere because I've had some pretty fantastic reviews for it.

Less pleasant surprises have come when one reader told me she thought my MC in one of my yet-to-be-published novels came across as racist because of the way she described herself.  That was a real eye-opener to me!  I was not intending to be racist at all - the character is mixed-race - and her descriptions of herself were supposed to show her discomfort in her own skin as she navigates the worlds of her divorced parents.

It's always fun to hear from readers about what they get out of my stories.  By the time I finish writing I usually have some idea what I've been trying to say with a book, but readers often mine very different messages from the stories than I thought I was presenting.  Which is wonderful!  I love that the same book can speak to different readers for different reasons.  I love that people can find meaning in my stories I didn't realize I'd put in there.

It's like re-reading books at different stages of your life and finding something new in it each time.  Your own experiences naturally colour what you read and how you experience the world.  It's kind of miraculous when you think about it.  We're all reading the same words on a page, but how we perceive them, react to them, can be wildly different.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Weekly Goals 3-4-21

 I gave myself the weekend off from doing any writing-related stuff and instead just read books.  Luxury!  I read an entire adult novel over the two days.  I didn't love it, but there is something amazing about being able to just immerse yourself in a book for two days, then emerge on the other side.

I'm not going to set any writing goals this week because I think taking some time away from anything writing-related might be what I need right now.  The book will still be there to be edited in a week or two.

Instead I will focus on doing things like reading and watching movies and going out with friends.  Exercising.  You know, the stuff that makes up your day-to-day life.

What are your goals this week?