Welcome to the January 2021 roundup!
Well, nothing happened to magically change the current world situation when we ticked over into 2021, so January was pretty much the same as December (and November, October, September… you get the picture), just with less tinsel.
I did take a few weeks off from writing, but as was the theme of 2020, stayed at home. The only place I possibly would have visited was Sydney, but Victorian borders were closed to NSW by a Covid outbreak, so even if I wanted to visit my mum and sisters for the first time in over a year, all plans would have been canceled–which would have been fitting for the year that was 2020. Hopefully, 2021 will eventually bring better things, or at least a more stable new normal.
Since I was at home, I spent most of January working through some writing courses with the Writing Mastery Academy run by Save The Cat! Writes A Novel author, Jessica Brody.
Being a subscriber of her newsletter, I was given a month’s access and I worked through three courses in that time, Productivity Hacks For Writers, Crafting Dynamic Characters, The Foundations Of Fiction, and I’m currently finishing up the Novel Fast Drafting course. The courses have been fun and easy to complete. If they sound like something that would pique your interest, more info can be found here.
As for what else I’ve been up to, read on…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch Book 3 – It feels like this book has taken the longest to edit, but I also felt that way about book 2, The Dark Half 😂. I’ve only got 12 scenes to finish editing for draft 6, then it’ll be on to draft 7, which is all about getting rid of weak words, making sure I’ve included everything I wanted, checking the tops and tails of each scene, and doing a grammar check with ProWritingAid so I can send the MS to my first round of beta readers.
The Lost Door (The Door Keeper Trilogy) by Steen Jones – Full of action and unique world-building, this is a worthy sequel to The Door Keeper and it was so fun to dive back into the places Steen Jones created and to see how much Eden and Gabby have grown as they visit new worlds and make new friends. There were lots of prophecies foreshadowed in this book and I can’t want to see them fulfilled in the final part of this epic fantasy series.
Luminous (Lucid book #2) by Kristy Fairlamb – I loved book one in this series so I was very eager to see what happened to the characters after the events of the first book. Thankfully Kristy Fairlamb is a brilliant author and I was not disappointed. She took all the unique rules of dreams and changing futures set out in Lucid and built on them to create a sequel that not only surprises but satisfies. It’s definitely a series worth picking up.
The Tiger’s Eye (Stones of Power Book #2) by Laurie Bell – I loved dipping back into the Stones of Power world and seeing what happened to Tracey and her friends after they discovered The Butterfly Stone in the first book. Author Laurie Bell did a great job of keeping the world-building on point, adding new powers and spells for Tracey to learn as she discovers more about herself and the magic she possesses.
There were new foes and new friends, and the character additions of Jilly and Kylie really added depth to the story. As usual, there was plenty of action and a big bad battle to bring the story to a close, before a new mission for Tracey and her magical and norm friends left the book at the perfect endpoint. Highly recommended for readers who love magic, adventure, friendship, twists that payoff, and characters whose story you want to keep following.
Viral Lives by Felix I.D. Dimaro – This is the second Felix I.D. Dimaro novel I’ve read, and as he warns the readers at the start of all of his books, it’s not for everybody. He deals with the dark side of humanity, and the plot of Viral Lives certainly did that.
It follows Simon Hinch, a car salesman who’s about to be engaged to his long-time girlfriend and is someone who has a hobby of making gore videos to sell online. One night, he comes across a car accident, and instead of helping the driver, he captures him dying. The video goes viral and Simon makes enough money to pay his rent for the next 6 months. He’s flying high, making vacation plans, and plotting how to score a full-time job at the gore website.
He thinks all his dreams are coming true. But not everything is as it seems. Including Simon. He’s cheating on his girlfriend (with whom is a brilliant plot twist you won’t see coming until it’s revealed) and his phone is suddenly replaying that video on its own, pushing it to his TV and keeping him up at night. He convinces himself it’s a glitch, but as Simon–and the reader–finds out, it’s a karmic twist in a story that looks at how we act as a society and what becomes headline-grabbing clickbait. Recommended if you like a well-written story with the perfect ending for the plot and characters.
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If you’d like to add the Blackbirch books to your “Want to Read” shelf and/or check out the reviews, click the following images!
Cobra Kai Season 3 (Netflix) – Taking place right after the events of season 2, season 3 of Cobra Kai continues to prove it knows how to do reboots right. There are more callbacks to the original movies, Johnny continues to (brilliantly) skirt the line of villain/hero, and we finally get to see Ali in a guest appearance from Elizabeth Shue. As has been the case of the previous seasons, the final episode ends on a cliffhanger, ensuring everyone will stick around for season 4.
The Wilds (Amazon Prime Video) – This new series revolves around a plane crash that strands 7 girls on an island. Little do they know that they are part of an experiment and are being watched. Told in flashbacks that explore the girls’ pasts, and flash-forwards where they’re being interviewed after being rescued, it’s full of fantastic characters, mystery, and intrigue. It’s already been renewed for a second season, and with the cliffhanger this one ended on, I can’t wait for it to hit screens again.
Wonder Woman 1984 – I was lucky enough to see this at the movies, and I think it made a difference. The action seemed grander on the big screen, which helped with the thin plot. Diana is back, secretly helping to keep society safe while working at the Smithsonian. There she meets a new friend, Barbara, who becomes her eventual foe, Cheetah after a wish granted by over-the-top villain Max Lord. Highlights were the invisible plane, Chris Pine being brought back as Steve, and a post-credit hint at who might be in the 3rd movie.
Promising Young Woman – On the surface, this movie seems like a simple revenge story. Carrie Mulligan plays Cassie, a woman whose life was derailed in med school when her best friend killed herself after getting caught up in a he-said-she-said rape scandal. It’s heavy stuff, and Cassie uses her weekends to pretend she’s drunk at bars to see what the men who help her home do. After reconnecting with some college friends, Cassie moves her revenge up a notch and pulls off some scarily-genius moves as payback for what happened. Then, the man who attacked her friend moves back into the area. You think you know what’s going to happen when Cassie turns up as the stripper at his bucks party. You. Do. Not. The movie takes a turn that literally made me and the friend I saw it with gasp out loud. The twist is pulled off amazingly well and this movie is well worth a watch.
Taking Photos Of
Summer Birds! The heat has been a bit hit and miss, but the weather has been good enough to go on regular walks again and see all the birds that live in my local area.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
Writing Tip Of The Month…
#WritingTipWednesday posts are added to my social media feeds every week and here is the most popular tip for this month. It’s taken from my blog post, 6 Submission Mistakes.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…
This was the most popular Blackbirch: The Dark Half teaser I posted to social media this month.
This teaser takes place between Josh and Kallie when he meets her in her hotel room and has a realization about who she is. For more teasers, visit my Blackbirch Pinterest Board.
If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:
Quote Of The Month…
I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my January Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to this month in the comments!
— K.M. Allan