Welcome to the September 2022 roundup!
Don’t worry, I didn’t accidentally publish this post before the 30th, which is when it would usually hit your inboxes/feed. Although it’s a recurring fear that I will hit publish instead of save draft anytime I’m working on blogs, I’m purposely publishing this roundup blog early because I’m taking time off.
This break is to finally have the major surgery I’ve been waiting over a year to be rescheduled, but even longer to have.
If you’ve been following my blog since 2017, you’ll know I had some health issues which led to an incorrect diagnosis of cancer, a correct diagnosis of endometriosis, a year on a specialists’ appointment list, and then a year on a surgery waiting list. I then had my surgery scheduled and canceled four times in the last two years because of covid lockdowns, and one surgery that couldn’t be completed as intended after the years of delays meant my endo had gotten worse. This has all led to the open hysterectomy that I’m having tomorrow, as long as there are no more delays, of course.
Due to the expected recovery, I’m taking a break for two weeks, and will then assess where I’m at health-wise, and how easy it’ll be to sit back at my desk to do all of my word-smithing.
So, while I’ll spend the last week of September in hospital and then at home recovering, this is what I did for the first three weeks of the month…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 4 – I returned to my Blackbirch 4 manuscript to make as much progress as I could before my break. My aim was to spend the two weeks prior to surgery adding 500 new words every day to either existing scenes or new scenes, and I’m happy to say that I hit that goal.
I know 500 words might not seem like much, but it’s a sweet spot for me that keeps things from being overwhelming. Adding what ended up being 7,000 new words to my WIP also made me really motivated to work on the manuscript, which I’m hoping will hold true when I’m healthy enough to return to my desk.
Watching And Reading…
The Bear (Season 1) – You might have seen everyone raving about this new series and the praise is justified. It’s a masterclass in dialogue, character ARCs, and dealing with trauma. When Carmy, an award-winning chef, inherits the family deli after his brother’s suicide, not only does he have to deal with workers who aren’t happy with the changes he wants to make, but the bad business decisions his brother made.
Coming to terms with his relationship and estrangement with his brother, who was an alcoholic, is also a storyline explored throughout, as well as the lives of a new sous chef hired by Carmy, and a chef who wants to use his job at the deli to take his cake baking to the next level. It’s an interesting and quick watch and has already been renewed for season 2.
Do Revenge – If the fact this movie stars Camila Mendes (Veronica from Riverdale), Maya Hawke (Robin from Stranger Things), and a supporting role from Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer herself) aren’t enough to pique your interest, the homages to 90s movies will. Do Revenge follows Drea (Camila), a scholarship student at a rich school who is dating the right boy, hanging with the right friends, and on the path to Yale. When a sex tape scandal sees her boyfriend and friends abandon her, Drea befriends a new transfer to her school.
Eleanor (Maya) has her own tale of woe against a student who outed her before she was ready and she and Drea decide to do each other’s revenge. Cue makeover montages, Eleanor going from outsider to popular, Drea falling for a boy below her status, and every other cliché, which is what makes it so fun. There’s a late-minute plot twist, which was foreshadowed and well played, and an ending that redeems some of the so-so parts. Are these characters the best? No. Do they actually deserve some of the horrible things that happen to them? Yes. But the lessons, great visuals, and awesome soundtrack make up for it.
The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike – While Christopher Pike is my favorite author (The Ritual is dedicated to him), I don’t love all of his books and The Midnight Club is a so-so one for me. The blurb promises a creepy story about a group of dying teens who meet at midnight in a respite hospital to swap scary stories after making a pact that the first to die will send the others a sign from the afterlife. While that does kinda happen, it’s not scary. The stories swapped aren’t that great either, but as always, Pike is a master of dialogue and characters, and he does make you care about the teens, although it doesn’t really come together until the last 15 pages. There’s also an epilogue that feels like it should have been part of a different book entirely.
What The Midnight Club does right is delicately tackle cancer, dying young, and AIDS, which at the time of its original release in 1994, brought up topics not often seen in YA books (at least not the ones I was reading). Overall, storywise, this isn’t a fav of mine, but I am interested to see what they’ll do with the Netflix adaption next month, which was the reason for my re-read of it this month.
The Heart Rehab Experiment by Starla DeKruyf – When 40-something Pete loses his wife to cancer, he moves into his eldest daughter’s house, lives in her pink robe, and shows no sign of moving out or moving on. Tess wants to start her own family, but can’t do that with her dad always around and is given the details of Jules, a former therapist turned interventionist who runs a program to get men back into the dating game. At Jules’s request, she agrees to not share with Pete that it’s a dating program, which becomes an issue when she starts falling for this adorkable dad.
This is one of those books full of references (Pete is based on actor Paul Rudd and even casual fans will spot references to his movies). It’s something the author does well in her books, and one of the reasons why I like reading her work. The story hit’s all the right beats; families moving on from loss, adult children finding their own place in the world, love after loss, and everything you’d expect from a humous rom-com, which makes it worth a read if smile-inducing romances are your thing.
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! You can also find and follow my reviews and book recommendations on Amazon and BookBub.
If you’d like to add the Blackbirch books to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf and/or check out the reviews, click the following links:
Taking Photos Of
Botanical Gardens. With some nice weather and Spring finally hitting us here in Australia, it was the best time to visit the Dandenong Botanical Gardens and see all the new flowers in bloom.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
- August 2022 Roundup
- How To Give Your Characters Conflict
- Blogging Tricks For Keeping On Top Of Your Content
This month, I was lucky enough to feature in a podcast chat with Veronica and Darren from Australian Book Lovers. They started a new Writer’s Lounge segment, and I was invited to be the first guest and talk about writing, books, and milkshake flavors.
I also had an interview with the awesome Hayley Walsh where we talked about childhood book favorites, influences, and writing. You can check out each interview at the following links.
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, Blogging Tips.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…
This teaser is from my latest release: Blackbirch: The Ritual, and was the most popular teaser posted this month on my social media feeds. In this particular scene, Sheriff Stevens has discovered the truth about the magick in Blackbirch, and that it’s very different from the power he was raised to believe led to nothing but trouble.
If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:
- Blackbirch: The Beginning (Book 1)
- Blackbirch: The Dark Half (Book 2)
- Blackbirch: The Ritual (Book 3)
If you’ve read any of my books—and haven’t done so already—please consider leaving a review or even just 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 hope you’ve enjoyed my September Roundup. I’ll be back soon with new blogs, and with any luck, no more chronic pain!
— K.M. Allan