September 2021 Roundup

Welcome to the September 2021 roundup!

And here we are at the end of yet another month. Despite it being a string of  Groundhog Lockdown Days, some things were different. Here in Victoria, we had an earthquake!

Thankfully it only lasted a few minutes and didn’t cause any injuries, but it sure was scary. I’ve never experienced an earthquake before. At first, I thought it was a big truck or strong winds rattling the windows. When the ground started to shake, I realized what was happening and jumped into a doorway to take cover.

In true writer fashion, I wrote down how it felt. My current WIP has an earth-shaking scene, so I will be adding some first-hand experience to it as I edit. How about you? Have you ever added a lived experience to one of your books? Let me know in the comments after you’ve read what else I’ve been up to this month!

What I’ve Been…


Blackbirch 3 – I’m up to the editing stage where I can’t believe I’m still editing. Feels like I’ve been doing it forever. I’m trying to get the MS off to another round of betas and I’m looking forward to swapping manuscripts with some of them so I can help them as much as they help me.


Free Guy (Disney+) – I really wanted to see this at the movies, but as cinemas are still closed where I live, I had to settle for Disney+ instead. While I think seeing Free Guy on the big screen would have made it even better, it didn’t stop me from enjoying what is a fun, light-hearted film.

Ryan Renolds is his usual awesome self as Guy, a nonplayer character in a video game who becomes aware that his life is not real. This is because of Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer), a video game creator in real life who enters the game to prove parts of it were stolen from her and her business partner, Keys (Joe Keery).

There is comedy, romance, action, celebrity cameos, villains, and a boss-level fight full of perfect pop culture references that is the absolute highlight of the whole movie. You’ll also have Fantasy by Mariah Carey, and the slowed-down “bridge” version by Jodie Comer, stuck in your head for days.

Lucifer (Netflix) – Another show that knows how to treat its audience well, the final season of Lucifer is definitely one of the better series endings I’ve seen. With a new angel joining the team, first as a threat, and then as an ally with a surprising link to Lucifer and Chloe, we got to see how life panned out for team Lucifer.

Like real-life, things didn’t always go to plan, and the twists in the final two episodes were done well, as was the closure for the characters we’ve come to know over the last few years.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – While it was sad to say goodbye to the Nine-Nine, in typical Nine-Nine fashion, they went out with plenty of comedy and heart. The final episode was the final heist, where all core members of the team try to beat each other in a scavenger hunt.

Being the final heist, there were twists, turns, backstabbing, old characters popping up, and plenty of Cheddar (Captain Holt’s Dog). The series wrapped up nicely and even gave us a sneak peek of everyone’s future, which is always a great way to end a show.


Petrichor by Melanie Rees – Thank you to the publisher, Hague, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Working on the land with his father, Clayton comes across a fox spirit who lets him know the drought they’ve been experiencing is because of the Red King, a demon who has scared away the rain spirits. Desperate to stop the dry from ruining his family’s farm, Clay looks for a weapon to defeat the Red King, all while dealing with the grief of losing his older brother and the hole it has torn in his family.

While this is a YA book, it’s definitely geared toward younger readers, due to the age of the MC and the way he deals with things. While the issues of grief, loss, and suicide are heavy, this book raises them with care and is well-written. It captures what life on the land is like in outback Australia, and how humans can triumph after tragedy when they open up to each other.

Falling In Louvre by Fiona Leitch – Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to review this book as part of the Falling In Louvre Blog Tour.

Review – If you’re looking for a fun read, this book is it. It might not seem like it at first as we’re introduced to Sylvie and her brutish husband, Henri. Intent on keeping her under his thumb, he gaslights Sylvie and allows her to get a menial job as a cleaner at the Lourve in the hope she won’t find out about a secret he’s been keeping. At her new job, Sylvie meets security guard, Philippe, a man who also has secrets, but ones that could lead to a new life.

When a power outage at the Lourve presents an opportunity for Sylvie and Philippe to run away together, they take it, only to end up as part of a heist that they desperately want to set right. The story taking this turn is what really drew me in. I love a good caper, and combining it with romance and despised characters getting what they deserve, made it a great read. Highly recommended for anyone in need of a fun, romantic escape.

Blurb – ‘A heartfelt, funny and romantic caper – a mashup masterpiece!’ – Sandy Barker, author of ‘That Night in Paris’.

Bertrand is King of the Pigeons…

Unofficially. From his perch atop a gargoyle on Notre Dame cathedral, he surveys his kingdom. He sees Sylvie Cloutier, art lover and ex-antiques dealer, making dinner for her bullying husband Henri, trapped in their loveless marriage like a bird in a gilded cage. He sees security guard, hopeless romantic and bookworm Philippe Moreau cycling through the streets of Paris in his crumpled uniform, late (again) for his night shift at the museum.

When Sylvie begs her husband to let her go to work, he gets her a job as an evening cleaner at the Louvre. He thinks such a menial position will dispel any ideas about independence she might have, but his plan backfires when she falls in love with kind, gentle Philippe. They decide to run away together, but there’s a major problem: neither of them has any money.

One stormy night in the Louvre, the answer to their prayers falls into their lap… But is it really the solution, or just another, even bigger problem?

What follows is a romantic, wistful but madcap adventure through (and under) the city of lights, involving a stolen painting, an art heist in reverse, and Eric Cantona. Will love find a way?


Author Bio – Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant scheme finalists, and her bestselling cosy mystery series, The Nosey Parker Mysteries, is published by One More Chapter/HarperCollins.

Social Media Links

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

My vaccine card and Lego! I started the month getting my first vaccine and will get my second today. Because we’re still in lockdown and will be for a few more weeks yet, I’ve turned to Lego for something to do and to de-stress. It’s 2020’s puzzles and coloring all over again hehe.

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, 5 Ways To Avoid Info-Dumping.

For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.

Blackbirch Review Of The Month…

A big thank you to Jaya for reading and reviewing Blackbirch: The Dark Half on her wonderful blog. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that you can’t wait for book 3! To read the full review, please click here.

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 September Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

— K.M. Allan

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

13 thoughts on “September 2021 Roundup

  1. Hi Kate! Glad you are making progress on book 3. Where in the world did September go? I often add real-life events to my stories, though I’ve never experienced an earthquake. I’m nearly finished with my current MS, and at present, one of my MCs is turned over in a snowy ditch and can’t get out. Part of that comes from a roll-over accident I had back in 2014 – very scary but I wasn’t hurt. I hate winter driving to this day! I think nearly everything we experience personally can be used somewhere in our writing. Readers may not know where the realism comes from, but they are smart enough to sense when something seems genuine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alexander 😊. This month went so fast. That roll-over sounds scary. Glad you were okay. They always say to write what you know, and I think there’s plenty of lived experiences we can all add to our books following that piece of advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to get migraines when I was younger. (I’m grateful that they’ve stopped. Fingers crossed.)
    They used to start with disturbing visual effects–blank spots and weird sparkling zig-zag patterns. Then a bad headache that lasted most of the day. I gave a character in one of my novels this kind of migraine. Lived experience is much easier to write than something one only imagines, no matter how vividly.
    I’ve experienced a couple of earthquakes, but only small ones. We are waiting for the Big One here on the west coast of North America, so I may get to experience that, but I hope not, to be truthful.
    Good luck with finishing Blackbirch 3!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Audrey! I know a few people who have regular migraines and they don’t sound pleasant at all. Glad to hear you don’t have them anymore. Fingers crossed you don’t have a big quake anytime soon. I think the world has been through enough for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading your monthly updates and favorite memories of the month! Free Guy sounds like a fun film, and both your September reads interest me. They are so different from each other.

    It was a pleasure to share my thoughts on The Dark Half! I am thrilled you enjoyed my feedback.
    May the words flow. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jaya 😊. I really enjoyed Free Guy and will definitely watch it again.

      They were very different reads this month. I might not have read them if it wasn’t for getting the ARCs, which would have been a shame because I really liked them both. Just goes to show that reading something you normally wouldn’t can pay off.

      Your feedback inspired me to get back into editing book 3.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The manuscript I’m rewriting now is because of an experience I’ve had in my past. It isn’t even half as dramatic as your earthquake, but it spurs me along with the rewrite.

    Have you had to replace anything because of the earthquake? If so, I hope it wasn’t anything too valuable. I was alerted to it by Twitter. There were pictures of fallen mortar from buildings and damaged vehicles. I’m glad you’re okay.

    Liked by 1 person

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