February 2023 Roundup

Welcome to the February 2023 roundup!

With only 28 days this month, February went by in a flash, but it wasn’t so quick that I wasn’t able to get back into a routine now that we’re well on our way into the new year. That means I’ve started making more progress on my writing goals, which I’m hoping will keep me on track to releasing another book this year. As for the rest of the second month of 2023, this is what else I got up to…

What I’ve Been…


Blackbirch 4 – I’m pleased to say I’ve hit the pointy end of the MS and I’m editing the final chapters, which were originally written in 2017. Other than me, only two other people have read the ending and they both said the same thing about it at the time. I’ve always known I needed to make changes to it, and I also need to bring the events and characters in line with the previous books that were published in 2020 and 2022.

Thankfully, snippets of ideas have been coming to me for the last few months, and I think I have the new events/character arcs/ending working out. I am going to stop editing and outline the final chapters, though, so I have a clearer idea of what changes to make and what to write.


Criminal Minds: Evolution

As someone who watched the original Criminal Minds for its entire 15-season run, I was more than ready for it to end when it did back in 2020. After all, there are only so many serial killer stories to tell, and the cast of characters had pretty much been through every emotion and horrible event by that stage. When it came back for a 16th season, with “Evolution” tacked onto the title, I was interested to see who was back and how things were going to play out. Kept short at just 10 episodes, and on streaming so now everyone can swear, Criminal Minds: Evolution brings back most of the old favorites (I personally would have loved to have seen Reid back over Garcia) and a tighter storyline that concentrated on a serial killer who starts his own network of serial killers. His background is revealed as the season unfolds, as well as the private lives of the BAU and what they’ve been up to the last few years. Another season has already been green-lit, and I’ll be watching that, too.

Lockwood And Co.

I hadn’t heard of this Netflix series, or the books it’s based on until I started seeing posts on social media, so I thought I’d check it out, and I’m so glad I did. Another show with a tight plot told over 8 episodes, Lockwood And Co. centers on a world where a massive death event leads to the discovery that ghosts are real, but that they can hurt you. The only humans able to do anything about the spirits are young adults, who can either hear or see them. This leads to agencies being formed where the young adults live and work with fellow teens hunting down the ghosts. After a disastrous ghost hunt which sees her best friend put in a coma, Lucy Carlyle runs away and ends up at the only agency that will take her, Lockwood and Co., which is led by two other teens, Anthony Lockwood, and George Karim. A joke to the bigger agencies, the three uncover murder plots, conspiracy theories, and a plan to resurrect a cult-leading Dr. While most of the plot ties up, there is one thread left dangling for season two, and it’s a good one.

Your Place Or Mine

It feels like it’s been forever since there was a decent romantic comedy, and this movie was not it. Even the star power of Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher couldn’t save it. Friends for 20 years after spending one night together in college, Debbie and Peter talk daily even though they now live across the country from each other. But they have plans to meet up in Peter’s hometown of New York when single mom Debbie needs to complete a course for a job promotion. Chaos happens, and Debbie ends up in Peter’s apartment by herself, while he ends up at her house looking after her son. The whole movie is like this. The two main romantic leads don’t spend any actual screen time together, and that’s just the start of the issues (spoilers ahead). Debbie discovers that Peter has written a brilliant book he’s never told her about, and she goes about shopping it around without telling him, pretending to be his editor. Not only does she get him a book deal, but also lands herself a job interview with a big-name press, and a hunky new publisher boyfriend, and all in just a few days. She of course turns down the perfect boyfriend/job to go back home to yell at Peter, who has dared to show her son how to have fun and gotten him hurt in a hokey game. Debbie and Peter are then finally in the same place, and the predictable hate-to-love public fight ensues. The credits are then used to show/wrap up the story of their romantic bliss, which is the final thing wrong with this disappointing movie.

Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

After the grief and heaviness of Wakanda Forever, and the unevenness of Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest Ant-Man movie returns with action and laughs delivered in a way that only Paul Rudd can do. When Scott and his family are accidentally sent to the Quantum Realm, they discover that not only does the micro-universe have its only society, but it has a villain, too. (Spoiler alerts ahead) Kang the Conqueror, who first popped up in season 1 of Loki, was banished to the realm and almost escaped with help from Janet. But she realized last minute what a monster he was and trapped him before she herself was rescued from the realm. Now that she’s back, Kang sets his sights on her and the rest of the family to help him escape. Cue battles, kidnappings, blackmail, and a good dose of quips. As usual, stick around for the 2 credit scenes, and the hints of what’s to come next in the Marvel universe.

Chasing The Moon – By Bryan Fagan

A feel-good time-slip story about Sully Rohm, a 30-year-old who has screwed up everything in his life when he stumbles on a vortex that transports him back to 1942. There, he meets Nora, the widowed mayor of a small town, her 6-year-old daughter, Ruthie, and Nora’s scientist father who vows to help Sully get back to his own time. The trouble is, he’s enjoying the new family he’s found and life as the coach of Ruthie’s baseball team. But when a rival coach, and Sully’s own health, threaten his stay, he might not have a choice about living in the past or returning to the future. Author Bryan Fagan is a master of characters and each one shines. From the precocious Ruthie, loser-turned-lovable Sully, and the villain, Lloyd, who despite being despicable, does garner some sympathy early in the story. While the mechanics of how the time vortex works are a little flimsy, it doesn’t stop the rest of the story from being enjoyed or take the shine off the exciting, action-packed, and heartbreaking closing chapters. Recommended for readers who like character-heavy stories, a unique author voice, and a touch of whimsy.

Shut Up And Write The Book – By Jenna Moreci

Written in a direct approach, Jenna Moreci’s advice is just as in your face as the title, and I loved it! It’s all about being organized and specific when approaching the task of writing a book and features all the steps broken down. Covering everything from novel structure, characters, world-building, outlines, tense, points of view, plot twists, editing, and more, it also includes a handy summary at the end of every chapter so you can reinforce the ideas you just learned. This was the first book I’ve read on story structure that made it sound exciting instead of just a numbers game like other books that insist you have an “exciting incident exactly 25% of the way through your book.” Highly recommended for beginning writers who aren’t sure where to start when it comes to crafting a book. Following the author’s advice should get you into some great habits, and if you’re like me and don’t do ‘proper’ structuring when writing, it’s a good way to learn a thing or two. Seasoned writers with their own methods might not learn anything new but should find Jenna’s no-nonsense attitude motivating.

Rise Of The Draman – By Alexander Elliott

Rise Of The Draman tells the tale of Croft, a young orphaned boy who runs from a horrible life to Spiredale, where Kings rule and dragons are given food and gold to keep away from the villagers. Feeling an unusual pull with a particular dragon, Croft sneaks out to see her feed one night and is attacked by an animal. The dragon, finding him hurt, uses her blood to save him, unknowingly turning Croft into a Draman, a half-human, half-dragon hybrid. With dragon senses and some physical features, Croft scares the humans of his village at first, but once they realize his unique abilities allow them to communicate with the dragons, treaties are struck to keep the town safe from outside enemies. Spanning years, battles, new creatures, and plans brought together by Croft and his dragon connections, this is a swiftly told epic tale full of great characters and a unique premise. There are enough fantasy elements to keep both casual and usual readers of the genre interested, but not overwhelmed, and the story moves along at a great pace with a world that feels fantastical yet real.

Christopher Pike Books

Inspired by the Netflix series, The Midnight Club, I decided to spend 2023 re-reading the books of my favorite author, Christopher Pike. It was his books that inspired me in the direction of Young Adult writing, and it’s interesting reading them now as a writer rather than just a reader. For these books, I’m enjoying the nostalgia and reading for fun and not to review. This month I read Chainletter, The Party, The Dance, The Graduation, Remember Me, Die Softly, and Bury Me Deep.

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

Being social. This month I got out of the house to catch up with fellow #6amAusWriters crew member, Belinda Grant. We headed to a library to work on our WIPs and then talked about our current and future writing plans over lunch. I also headed out to an actual cinema for the first time in forever with my family to see Ant-Man.

On The Blog…

In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.

Podcast Fun!

This month, I was asked to guest on The Australian Booklovers Podcast for a new Blog Tip segment.

Veronica and I chatted about Time Blocking Your Writing Routine in episode 75, and Weak Words in episode 76. You can check those tips out as well as author interviews, book reviews, and other great ABL podcast content here!

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, Fixing A Stuck Scene.

Blackbirch Snippet Of The Month…

This snippet is from Blackbirch: The Ritual, and was the most popular one 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 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 February Roundup. What did you get up to this month?

— K.M. Allan

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

10 thoughts on “February 2023 Roundup

  1. Glad to hear you’re making progress on book 4! I’m sure both you and your readers are eager to see it published. I so much appreciate your wonderful review of my book, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I wouldn’t mind revisiting that world in the future if I can ever find the time. As to what I’ve been doing, I just published my 13th novel, Bear Creek Valentine. Better late than never they say, but that’s another story. Next up is some R&R, file my taxes, work on my website, and do some other book-related tasks. It never ends! I hope you have a terrific and productive March.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Alex! I really enjoyed Draman and would definitely read more stories from the wonderful world you created. It’d be interesting to find out more about the sea dragons and mermaids 😁.

      Congrats on the release of book 13! What an amazing achievement.

      Sounds like you have a busy March ahead. Good luck with it all.


    1. I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to speak on a few podcasts in the last few years and it’s always fun. I can ramble on with the best of them when it’s the right topic 🤣.

      If you’re interested in reading my series, I’m more than happy to send you an ebook of the first book. Let me know 😊.


      1. Tell me about it. I think speaking is a great way to branch out while still enjoying the overlap skills from writing.

        You’d do that? I would be interested for sure! Especially since I enjoyed the first chapters on Amazon.

        Liked by 1 person

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