Sunday, June 30, 2024

Weekly Goals 1-7-24

 I got another two chapters of A Stranger to Kindness written over the long weekend, so I'm pleased about that.  I'm not sure any of it is any good, but I guess I can figure that out when I'm finished.  

So my goal this week is to keep going and to try and write at least one more chapter.  If I can write a chapter a week, I'll get this book finished!  I know t won't happen that way, but I'm prepared to try.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Celebrate the Small Things 28-6-24


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

What am I celebrating this week?

It's a long weekend!  A weird one where we get the Friday off instead of the Monday.  But it's still an extra day off...  I plan to use it to write and to finish my beta read.

On Sunday I'm catching up with my old team, which will be great.  It's been a while since we all got together, so I'm looking forward to it.

I've been to the gym three times already this week and plan to go another three times over the long weekend, so I'm feeling very virtuous.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Books I've Read: Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller

This was a rather frivolous, silly book I read a few weeks back.  I've  been reading too many long books recently, meaning I haven't been finishing stuff quickly enough to review on a weekly basis!  I must read faster...

Keslie hates Eric and has done since they were at grade school.  They have always been rivals, especially now they are at a super-competitive high school.  At the start of their senior year, Eric and Kelsie run into each other at a party and in a moment of weakness, Eric admits his girlfriend has ghosted him since leaving for college.  Kelsie admits her bestie, Brianna, has not spoken to her either, since leaving to move in with her mother across the country.

When Keslie discovers Brianna is planning a co0llege visit to the same college Eric's girlfriend is attending, she is willing to do just about anything to try and talk to her friend - even put up with Eric.

Without much of a plan, Eric and Kelsie head off, certain things will work in their favour, despite not really knowing where their people might be at any given time.  And they talk, uncovering things they each didn't about each other and their shared past.

By the end of the trip, they will either have killed one another or buried the hatchet forever.

This was a quick and easy read.  I found both Eric and Kelsie quite annoying and spending that much time with them grated on me a bit.  They did grow throughout the trip, and Kelsie was somewhat less obnoxious by the end, but not quite enough to make up for what came before.  And Eric, for someone supposedly so smart, was ridiculously shallow.

But if you like an enemies-to-lovers romance, this is not the worst I've read.

Don't just listen to me though.  Here's the blurb:

Today Tonight Tomorrow meets A Pho Love Story in this whip-smart young adult novel about a girl who embarks on a “breezy road trip romp” ( Publishers Weekly ) with her longtime rival to win back her best friend and his girlfriend.

There’s no one Kelsie Miller hates more than Eric Mulvaney Ortiz—the homecoming king, captain of the football team, and academic archrival in her hyper-competitive prep school. But after Kelsie’s best friend, Brianna, moves across the country and stops speaking to her, she’ll do anything, even talk to Eric, to find out why.

After they run into each other—literally—at the last high school party of the summer, Eric admits he’s been ghosted by his girlfriend, Jessica. Kelsie tells him she’s had zero contact from Briana since she left their upstate New York town.

Suddenly, a plan is they’ll go on a road trip to the University of Pennsylvania the following week when both Brianna and Jessica will be on campus. Together, they’ll do whatever it takes to win back their exes.

What could go wrong?

Used to succeeding in everything, Kelsie and Eric assume they’ll naturally figure out the details on the drive down. What they don’t expect is that the person they actually need may be the one sitting next to them.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Weekly Goals 24-6-24

 I have two main goals this week: to finish my beta read and to add more words to Kindness.  I ended up not working on my own book at all over the weekend, but I did work on the beta reading, so I hope I can get that done by Fridayish.  Then I can spend the rest of the long weekend on my own book.

We'll see how that goes...

What are your goals this week?

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?

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

IWSG - June

It's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time for....

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim!

This month's question is an interesting one:

In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

I think the best thing IWSG offers is a community. To be honest, I've never used any other service that the team offers (other than sharing book release news), so I'm not entirely sure exactly what services there are. Yes, I probably should have done some research before I started writing this...

The publishing world seems to have changed in the last few years and I think many of us who have been long-term members of the IWSG may not be across just how much and in what ways. It might be useful for the group to address this, bring in some publishing professionals to explain what is happening out there so writers can be better prepared for what publishing looks like in 2024. It feels very different to what it was like in 2014. Especially in YA.

Other than that, I can't think of anything else that might be useful. I love that this community is here and that once a month we all get together to talk about something. I wish I had time to explore more widely and meet more members of this awesome community. Being a co-host is so good for that, so if you haven't put your hand up for this role, it's so worth it!

That's my two cents... For what it's worth.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Weekly Goals 3-6-24

 It's the final week of Light Cycles, so I may get some semblance of my life back after next weekend.  If I make it that far...  Last night was the busiest night we've had and it was cray cray.  And it was supposed to be my night off.  I suspect there will be no such thing for the rest of the run.

But at least today is a public holiday and there is no show so I can try to catch up on a few things.  Cleaning the house.  Tax return.  That kind of thing.

So once again, not setting any real goals for this week.  I know I won't get to much.  But I'm hoping to be able to take a couple of days off after Light Cycles finishes and I'd like to make at least one of those days a writing day.  Not sure exactly what I'll write, but maybe I can kickstart myself into picking up A Stranger to Kindness again.  I hope so.  I love my beautiful, damaged foster kid.  I just need to figure out exactly how to write his story.

what are your goals this week?