August 2021 Roundup

Welcome to the August 2021 roundup!

Who else blinked and suddenly it was the end of August?

I’m surprised it went so fast considering every day felt like Groundhog Day. Once again, it was spent in lockdown (#6 for those counting), which is still ongoing.

I was also in hospital for some of the month, having my 2nd laparoscopy procedure in 6 weeks. Thank you to everyone for the well-wishes, both here on my blog, and on my other social media accounts. I was hoping it would be my last procedure for a long time, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Because of the pandemic and two separate lockdowns delaying my surgery by two years, my endometriosis had significantly worsened. Trying to fix anything via laparoscopy was out of the question, and the surgeon had to close me back up and send me home. Now, I’m scheduled for a specialist appointment in September to discuss the next step, which will be an open hysterectomy.

After spending a week recovering (and feeling frustrated), I threw myself into draft 9 of Blackbirch 3, and I’ve been making good progress, as you can read more about below…

What I’ve Been…

Writing

Blackbirch 3 – I’ve had three wonderful betas get back to me with their thoughts on book 3, and thankfully, the issues have all been the same. It will take some tweaks to get it right, but I’m pretty confident the changes I plan to make will result in a stronger book. I’ve already done one round of fixing typos, dropped words, and rewriting sentences for clarity, and plan to do two more rounds based on the feedback sent from my last two betas. After that, I’ll have my list of story changes to work through, and then the MS will be off to more betas to see how close I am to a publishable version.

Watching

Hacks (Stan) – I loved this series, which follows two comedians. One is aging Las Vegas legend, Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), who has been told her show is being scaled back, and the second is a young comedy writer named Ava (Hannah Einbinder). She sent out an insensitive tweet and has now been canceled and can’t get a job. They share a talent agent, and he convinces Deborah to hire Ava to help her revitalize her show. The two women do not see eye-to-eye on most things, which creates lots of drama and some very witty sniping. As the series progresses, and we get to know what makes each of them tick, they form an unlikely friendship, which I’m hoping will be explored more in season 2.

Jungle Cruise (Disney+) – While it’s no Pirates of the Caribbean (the first two good ones, not the awful last three), Jungle Cruise was much better than I expected. Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) are searching for the Tears of the Moon, an ancient tree that is said to cure all illnesses. This leads them to team up with Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson), a boat captain in brazil who is also looking for the same tree. His reasons for wanting to find it are a surprise twist in the movie, which I think elevated it above the usual bad-guy-chases and over-the-top action. Those elements are there, but they’re easier to swallow when the story catches you by surprise.

Dr. Death (Stan) – Not sure I should have watched this just before having surgery, but it was a compelling series. Joshua Jackson plays Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a spinal surgeon accused of killing and maiming patients. This was unfortunately based on a true story, which makes what he did even worse. The series follows his rise and fall as a surgeon, the court case which saw him deservedly sent to jail, and the impact his actions had on his victims.

Reading

The Fire On Memory Lane by Felix I.D Dimaro – In The Fire On Memory Lane, we meet Connor, a former footballer who caused the death of his son and lost the rest of his family as a result. Wallowing in grief, he gives in to an infomercial that promises an eye drop concoction that will allow him to relive his glory days through his memories. We get to learn about Connor and the man he was and is when he flashes back to his past. Like everyone, he’s flawed, and it’s easy to feel bad about how his life turned out. When the final pages of the book reveal Connor’s part in his son’s death, and the shocking truth behind the eye drops, it’s easy to feel worse. This isn’t a tale of redemption. It’s a sad tale about a sad life and it honestly left me a little flat after reading it. Although the ending was fitting, it left me wanting something more for Connor because I really was rooting for a better outcome after all he’d been through.

Mermaid Kisses by Melanie Pickering, Jacqueline Hayley, H.M. Hodgson, and Jennifer Westgarth – I love a good anthology, and when it’s all about Mermaids, it’s even better. For Mermaid Kisses we get four different stories.  Siren Call is a YA tale about star-crossed lovers. One is a mermaid and one is a pirate, and both want to prove to their families that young love works. A Curse Of Moon and Sea is part The Little Mermaid, part Beauty and The Beast when a mermaid prince needs to break a curse and uses the sea witch’s daughter to do it. Adrift, which was my favorite, explores mermaids as creatures with a darker side who can drown humans and claim their bodies so they can live on land. When this happens for Wyatt, he needs to choose between being happy as a human with a potential new love or honoring a promise to a mermaid friend. The Crossing, which mixes warnings about destroying the ocean with a love story between a mermaid trying to save her people and a farmhand living a life for others. All of the stories are set in modern times and the mermaids live on land and in the sea, which I really enjoyed. Each story also has just the right amount of romance, secrets, and relatable characters. Definitely recommended for fans of romance with a twist.

The Dating Game by Sandy Barker – When reality series recap writer Abby Jones is offered the chance to go on The Stag (a fictional version of The Bachelor) as a contestant, she jumps at the chance to write her recaps from behind the scenes. But pretending to be a “doe,” isn’t as fun as she thinks it’ll be, after having to backstab girls she considers friends and putting up with The Stag, who is nothing like the person he portrays on TV. Abby is also drawn to the producer, Jack, and her feelings for him might just blow her cover. Including snarky show recaps, and situations you just know happen on reality TV, Sandy Barker has written a funny book that is sure to put you in a good mood from the first page to the last.

If you’ve got any good recommendations, let me know in the comments, or be my friend on Goodreads and share your books/recommendations with me!

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!

Taking Photos Of

Almost Spring! Walking has once again kept me sane in lockdown and aided in my surgery recovery. Winter is starting to ease off and we’re heading into spring, which means plenty of beautiful flowers around.

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, Book Scenes: Four Key Things To Establish.

For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.

Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…

This teaser is from book 1 in the series, Blackbirch: The Beginning.  If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:

If you’ve read either of my books—and haven’t done so already—please consider leaving a review or a star rating. It could help another reader find their next fave book.

Quote Of The Month…

I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my August Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

— K.M. Allan

Find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

25 thoughts on “August 2021 Roundup

  1. Despite the discouraging surgery mess and continued lock-downs, you seem to be on top of things. I hope the surgeon is able to get your procedure scheduled quickly and put the problem behind you.

    While you are heading into spring, we are approaching fall with cooler weather (finally). I’m still working on my Christmas romance, AND my mid-grade dragon fantasy book is now available as a paperback! I hope to get my other books set up for print on demand also, but where to find the time?? I’m also planning to enter my first contest for indie authors (BIBA). A win would look great on my resume! Lastly, I am considering opening a Patreon account. It’s a big step, so I have a lot to consider. I value your opinion, so any thoughts on that?

    Take care, stay safe, and keep writing.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Alexander 😊. I hope they schedule it quickly too. It’s been 4 years since my diagnosis, so I’d like to finally have it dealt with so I can move on.

      It sounds like you’re on top of things too and getting lots of work done. Sorry, I don’t have any experience with Patreon accounts. I have seen other writers use them, but I’ve never looked into it for myself. Good luck with the indie author comp. You’re ahead of me on that too. It’s one of those things I keep putting off for when things aren’t so crazy. Not sure when that will be, though 🤣.

      Look after yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry to hear about the complications with your surgery! I truly hope the next time you go in, it is for some results.

    Love the sounds of both Dr. Death and Hacks. I am on the hunt for new shows and both sound interesting. Your quote of the month is also very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jaya 😊❤️. I hope the next one gives a result too, because it’s very frustrating to have surgery and not gain the outcome you were waiting/hoping for.

      Yes, definitely give Hacks and Dr. Death a watch 😊.

      It was the most popular quote that I posted on Insta this month, so I think lots of people related to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the Roundup, and the reviews! I am so sorry, just now had read about your different appointments, and hope you are feeling better now. All these terms ending with “omy” are sounding horrible to me. Thie lessons in Latin were these terms were discussed i definitely had missed. Lol All the best. Stay well, and enjoy the week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Although I do not (I hope!) need surgery, I have recently been in the hospital, and like you, I’ve done a good deal of reading. It is certainly a good distraction. I will be praying for a positive outcome to your medical issues and would appreciate your doing the same for me.
    The books are very appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rae. Sorry to hear you’ve been hospital too and I hope you feel better soon and won’t require surgery either 😊. Do you have any book recommendations from what you read during your hospital stay?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s been a challenging month for you, I can see. Well done on making progress with Blackbirch 3 and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Some great recommendations for books and film, though I might pass on Dr Death – it doesn’t bear thinking a about. Especially when surgery is looming.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s taken me a couple of days to come back and comment. I read your post then got sidetracked. I’m sorry to hear your health remains a huge puzzle piece for the doctors. I hope it is resolved for you soon and you recover well. I thought lockdown was bad enough. I wanted to ask you about your beta readers if you don’t mind. Do you use the same betas each read through or fresh readers each time?
    Not that I’m anywhere near beta reading for my writing, just curious for when it eventually happens. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rhiannon. I hope it’s resolved soon too, but now our COVID cases are getting worse, I’m worried they’ll shut down elective surgery again, which will only delay things even more 😓.

      I don’t mind at all 😊. I always use the same betas I have had for a few years now as they know my books and how I write. I’m lucky enough to have a few people I can ask, so I usually send a draft to 2-4 people, get their feedback, make changes, then send the next draft to another round of 2-4 new readers. I’ve never asked a beta to read something twice, but with my latest WIP, I have run the changes I want to make past the betas who have already given me their feedback to get their thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry the procedure to alleviate the endometriosis was a bust. I wish something other than a hysterectomy would fix the problem. My heart goes out to you.

    Although I love watching movies, because of limited income, I don’t have any of the “+” packages. I’ve been watching many of the old movies on TCM.

    Don’t put too much strain on yourself. Take the days as they come.

    Liked by 1 person

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