Welcome to the April 2022 roundup!
Well, I started this month on track to finish draft 10 of Blackbirch 3. The plan was to have it out to betas by Easter so I could leave for a break knowing it was in their hands, ready to be read. Instead, my household of four was hit by Covid and I was one of the unlucky two who got it.
Thankfully, we’re all as vaccinated as possible, so the symptoms were mild. I did, however, require a few days of bed rest (where I broke my reading slump) and the ongoing tiredness did set my editing plans back. It was frustrating spending 12 days in isolation (first as a household contact and then my own 7-day iso time) and not having the energy to benefit from no responsibilities or the fact I couldn’t leave the house.
After I recovered, I got to spend 5 days visiting my hometown for the first time since 2019, but for that, I was happy to put my writing aside to enjoy as much time talking and laughing with family and friends. I hope you had a similarly safe and happy Easter break. This is what else I’ve been up to this month!
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 3 – I only had 5 chapters left to edit when Covid struck so I was pretty annoyed that my plans got derailed. Able to finally get back to it by the last week of April, I’m currently on a final read-through of the whole MS from start to finish.
I did hit 3 chapters in the middle that still referred to old story threads (how I’d missed them, I have no idea?!), so I’ve already spent two days this week fixing those, but I’m confident with only a handful of chapters left now, I will have it to betas within the next few days. Then I can say that after 5 months of self-doubt, inspiration, and re-writes, draft 10 is done!
Coda – It’s Best Movie win at this year’s Oscars may have been lost in the headlines, but Coda was so deserving of the award. It’s such a feel-good movie, something I think we’ve all been missing for the last few years. It follows the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones), a child of deaf adults (Coda), who wants to go to college and study singing. Unable to relate to her dreams, and with goals and pressures of their own, her father Frank (Troy Kotsur), mother Jackie (Marlee Matlin), and brother Leo (Daniel Durant) clash about what to do with the family fishing business without Ruby to interpret for them, and how all of their lives will look when touched by the inevitability of change. It’s a classic coming-of-age story that is guaranteed to move you.
The Lost City – While the life of a movie author never mirrors real life, it’s always a bonus when the MC of anything you watch is a writer. After the death of her husband, best-selling romance writer Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) shuts herself off from the world and struggles when on a tour for her latest book. While promoting it with Alan, the cover model (Channing Tatum), she is kidnapped by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (played so well by Daniel Radcliff) who believes that Loretta holds the key to finding a real lost city that she’s described in her fictional book. Action, crazy rescue attempts, humor, and romance ensue, and it’s just a fun escape.
Only A Monster by Vanessa Len – This was one of those hyped books that everyone is raving about and I wondered why when I started reading it. The MC, Joan, is childish, there’s a love triangle trope that picks the wrong guy, there’s no depth to the relationships, which makes it hard to care about Joan’s goals, the writing is repetitive, and the monsters aren’t monsters. They’re families with magical abilities, some useful and some pointless. But there’s a unique premise, time travel, action, intriguing unanswered questions for future books, and then there’s the final twist in the last chapter (yep, literally the last chapter) that redeems the whole book. For me, it elevated a middle-of-the-road story about changing events of the past to something else, something I loved as both a reader and a writer because it was hinted at throughout the book and then pulled off expertly. If you can stick with the story until the end, you’ll be rewarded with what will hopefully be the beginning of a very promising YA series.
We Who Hunt The Hollow by Kate Murray – Set in a future society where Hollow Creatures come into our world through energy rips to wreak havoc and superheroes are whole families with special powers who hunt them. Priscilla comes from a family of monster hunters and feels like her Hollow Power to sense energy is useless, so she tries to strengthen it, not realizing her power has evolved and its true purpose is both helpful and dangerous. Caught up trusting the wrong person, she sets off a chain reaction that puts her ex-girlfriend in danger, threatens her family, and may result in her losing her power forever. Well written with a humorous touch, and excellent world-building, We Who Hunt The Hollow is a unique take on the YA fantasy genre, and has characters you’ll want to follow to the next book.
Everything In Between By Valerie G Miller – This is such a beautiful collection of short stories grounded in family ties. The author explains at the start of the book that she’s inserted her Italian heritage into the stories, and she really has! It gives the stories a nostalgic realness that’s relatable even if you don’t know what it’s like to have a nonna. Favorites for me were Bookmarked Letter, about a librarian who finds a letter scavenger hunt from 50 years ago and sets out to solve it. Betrayal, about a woman grieving the loss of her sister, and The Promise where a famous actress writes to the love of her life, and the twist of what has happened to him will break your heart. There are upbeat stories too, about family connections and first loves, and they’re all beautifully told by an author who knows how to bring characters to life and leave you wanting more in only a few pages.
Enchanted Sleep by Emily Wrayburn – After taking on the Rat King in Operation Sugarplum, Max and Clara return with new adventures in Enchanted Sleep after Clara is once again sucked into the virtual game world. Turned into Sleeping Beauty, she has to rely on Max and his special ability to interact with the game and its characters to find a way to wake her. This is a quick read, full of fun, action, romance (yay!), and a creative premise. Emily Wrayburn has added yet another worthy entry to the Drosselmeier Industries series.
If you’ve got any good book 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
Sydney! After the upheaval and lockdowns of the last two years kept us away, my family and I finally made it back to my hometown for the Easter break. I was reunited with my mum, sisters, aunties, uncle, cousins, nieces, and friends, and it was so good to see everyone again and to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the 10-hour road trip between Melbourne and Sydney.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
- March 2022 Roundup
- The Merry Writer Podcast – Writing A Series
- 3 Essential Reminders For When (You Think) Your Manuscript Sucks
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, How To Tell If You’ve Nailed Your Book Ending.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…
This teaser comes courtesy of Blackbirch: The Beginning and was the most popular teaser posted this month on my social media feeds!
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 they’ll like.
Quote Of The Month…
I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my April Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
— K.M. Allan