Welcome to the November 2021 roundup!
Well, I guess I shouldn’t have spent last month’s roundup boasting about my latest work in progress being only a few beta reads away from being ready 😂. The feedback showed I still had plenty of work to do, so that’s what I’ve been doing this month for Blackbirch 3—draft #10!
After creating a reverse outline of draft 9, I brainstormed a few new scenes and now I’m writing my way through them to hopefully end up with a draft that keeps what was good about 9 and resolves the problems for a stronger draft 10. There’s also an impact on book 4, (which currently sits at draft 5) as some storylines are being moved to it, requiring new ideas, scenes, and a new outline there too. Let’s just say, I will have plenty of advice for a future blog post about the dos and don’ts of writing a series.
In other news, my household welcomed a new kitten! Dash, who is an indoor cat, would get very vocal when he saw the neighbor’s cat wandering the yard and we started thinking about getting him a friend. Then, the breeder we got him from announced new kittens for sale and we were able to get a girl who has the same father as Dash. Her name is Luna, and she has the sweetest personality. She’s already taken to sitting on my writing desk while I type away, and on my keyboard whenever she gets the chance. While she and Dash took a few days to get used to each other, they’ve bonded now. Below are some pictures of her, as well as what I’ve been up to this month…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 3 – I’ve got 4 new scenes to write, little threads throughout to update/make consistent, and I’ll need to rewrite the final chapter, but I think it will be a stronger draft for it. I hope the next round of betas will think so too.
Red Notice (Netflix) – As he is in most things, Ryan Reynolds was the highlight of this star-studded caper. Bringing his trademark sarcastic wit to Red Notice, he plays an art thief thrown in jail by the FBI agent (Dwayne Johnson) initially sent to track him down. Both set up by a third thief (Gal Gadot), they’re all after a decorative egg that once belonged to Cleopatra, the location of which Ryan Reynolds knows. Action, jailbreaks, safe breaks, Interpol trailing their path, and predictable double-crosses galore make up this movie, which is popcorn fun at its finest.
Love Hard (Netflix) – Already a winner because the title is a play on Die Hard, one of the best Christmas movies of all time, Love Hard follows Natalie. She’s a writer who pens columns about her disaster dates, before meeting the perfect guy online. Going against all instincts, she flies to Josh Lin’s hometown to surprise him for Christmas. What she finds is that her dream guy has catfished her, padding his profile with pictures of his friend Tag, a hunky outdoorsman. Promising Natalie he can get her a date with the real Tag if she pretends to be his girlfriend, the movie plays out exactly how you expect it to. That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable or heartwarming. It’s exactly what a good Christmas movie should be, and is definitely worth adding to your Xmas watch list.
Tick, Tick… Boom! (Netflix) – Based on the autobiographical play by Rent creator, Jonathan Larson, Tick, Tick is the story of a creative who feels time is running out for him. He wants to have his breakout moment as he counts down to his 30th birthday and a workshop for a musical he spent his 20s writing. Dealing with a girlfriend who wants to move to a stable job, and a best friend who gave up his acting ambitions for money and stability, Jon faces the dilemma of sticking with his penniless dreams or growing up like everyone else. When the workshop doesn’t go as planned, he faces that creative choice of throwing in the towel or moving to the next project instead. That next project is Tick, Tick… Boom! and the project after that is Rent, which launches Jonathan’s career. Unfortunately, that was something he never got to see as an aneurism claimed his life the night before Rent’s first public performance. The movie is touching, the musical numbers great, and Andrew Garfield does a fantastic job. Highly recommended.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (S1) (Amazon Prime) – Another one of those reboots in name only. The only thing this series shares with the 1997 movie classic and the 1973 book is the name, the “I know…” letters (which are only relevant in the first two episodes), and the hit and run. Everything else is a departure that seemed to want to separate itself by cramming in as much gore and unnecessary nudity as possible. None of the characters are likable, and the real killer is so out of left field not even a post-credit this-is-how-I-did-everything video confession makes it a plot twist that makes any sense. I was not a fan and won’t be watching any further seasons.
Eight Days Of Christmas by Starla DeKruyf – When Isabella Whitley returns to her hometown of Pineridge for the first time in ten years, it’s not only to attend her little sister’s wedding but to also partake in her family’s Christmas traditions. That involves eight days of Christmas activities that have her paired with her soon-to-be brother-in-law, Leo Hoffman. Leo also happens to be the first love she left behind when she moved to New York to pursue her dream of being a writer. Izzy knows she owes him an explanation for why she left, but the truth is a secret she once promised to never tell him. To make things more complicated, her latest ex has decided he wants to get back together, just as her feelings for Leo resurface and she can see that he wants her too. Told with lots of humor, so many Christmas references (Todd, Margo, Christmas Vacation), a fun cast of characters, and set up for more novels based in the Pineridge universe, this is definitely a book for fans of romance, enemies-to-lovers pairings, and feel-good Christmas stories.
Kingdom Come (Heir of Avalon Book 3) by Ruth Miranda – The third book in this series pays off the visions and events hinted at in books 1 and 2, and finally answers the mystery of who killed Artuir. As long as you can keep the characters straight (some have very similar names) and remember the events of the previous books, Kingdom Come brings all the threads together and expertly unveils the author’s creative take on the tale of King Arthur. It’s an epic adventure of forbidden love, curses, vampires, witches, and time walks, that comes to a satisfying conclusion for fans of supernatural stories with a historic twist.
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
Luna! She’s 3 months old and full of kitten energy.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
- October 2021 Roundup
- Editing Tips: What To Check When It Feels Like Something Is Missing
- What To Do When You’ve Made A Mess Of Your MS
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, 7 Tips For Creating Awesome Characters.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Review Of The Month…
This latest review is for Blackbirch: The Beginning and marks the 50th review for that book on Goodreads!
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 really helps indie authors get their books noticed, and also helps fellow readers find books that they’ll like.
Quote Of The Month…
I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my November Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
— K.M. Allan