Welcome to the March 2023 roundup!
Well, my March has gone the same way as the rest of 2023 so far, which has been way too quick, and in an endless loop of the same goals.
Nothing much changes when your current work in progress is a months-long project, as I’m sure the writers out there know. It’s just more of the same writing and editing as you edge closer to the elusive final chapters. Thankfully, I’ve actually been really enjoying working on my manuscript and haven’t yet hit the stages where I’m dreading working on it.
This month, I also managed to get out to the movies a few times and to catch up with my fellow #6amAusWriters crew member, Belinda Grant, for a library writing session and lunch chat, which was a great way to spend the last Monday of March. As for the rest of the third month of 2023, this is what I got up to…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 4 – Feeling a little directionless with the ending of the book, I stopped my editing/rewriting to reverse outline the final five chapters. It helped me work out where I was going to add the new ideas I’d been noting down for the last few months. I then set about working on those final chapters and most of my planning went out the window.
I came up with different ideas as I was writing, and that left me even more in limbo as I tried to work out if what I was adding was going to work, or if I was just creating more work for myself and a massive amount of plot holes/contradictions. I also set a little goal of trying to get this draft done, as messy as it is, by the end of this month. I almost go there. As of today (the 31st), I only have 3 scenes to go.
If you weren’t a fan of the rebooted Scream 5, you’ll be pleased to know 6 is better. It’s not original Scream good, but it’s better than 3-5. Opening with a classic Ghostface call/killing, it soon becomes apparent that the new group of survivors is once again in the sights of someone intent on getting stabby with them. Even Gale, the only original cast member left, finally gets her own call and encounter.
Highlights are the callbacks to all the Ghostface killers of the past, the return of Kirby as a now-grown FBI agent, and a spooky subway sequence where the passengers are dressed in various scary movie Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, the lows are the killer reveal, which hasn’t been surprising or interesting since Scream 1, and the fact that so many characters get hurt so bad they should be dead, yet they walk around in the next scene as if nothing happened. If you’re a fan of the franchise, however, it is worth seeing, even without the original Scream Queen, Sydney.
Shazam! Fury Of The Gods
Billy Batson and his family of foster kid superheroes are back. When a trio of Gods is able to get their hands on a staff that can help them get the powers of their father back, they go after Billy and his family, who are currently the people holding said powers. There’s lots of action, witty banter, a fun dark take on Unicorns, and a climactic ending that’s high on emotional stakes and a DC superhero cameo. There are two post-credit scenes, but since this is the only DC Universe story I follow, I have no idea if they were significant to any other movies or TV shows, I just enjoyed Shazam! for what it was; a family-friendly superhero flick.
It’s been a while since I’ve actually made sure to watch the Oscars instead of just looking up online who won and that’s because this year there were a few nominees I was rooting for. I was looking forward to seeing Brendan Fraser, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curtis get rewarded for their roles in Everything Everywhere All At Once (Lee and Quan) and The Whale (Fraser), and it was so great to see it happen live with the rest of the world.
If you saw 2018’s Searching, you’ll be familiar with 2023’s Missing, where the story of the movie is told entirely through the audience watching what the MC does via computer browsers, video calls, CCTV footage, and other forms of technology. It’s a surprisingly tense watch and this stand-alone sequel was just as good as its predecessor.
When June’s mother disappears while on vacation with her new boyfriend, June tracks down what happened with online footage, video calls with a helpful TaskRabbit worker, and uncovers some big secrets about her own family. The closing scenes will have you on the edge of your seat, and the movie features a great example of twisting around something the audience knows at the start of the story and changing it to something completely different by the end.
Memories Don’t Lie – By Pauline Yates
When orphaned 17-year-old Sarah Wilson flunks a crucial training exercise that will see her military career crash before it takes off, no one is surprised when she disappears from the training base. But Sarah hasn’t run off. She’s been kidnapped. When she’s recovered by the military team she had hoped to join, Sarah finds the members, and her crush, don’t believe what she has to tell them. But after the kidnappers come for her again, they realize she is more than just what they see.
With super-human capabilities and memories that aren’t her own, Sarah needs to learn to trust those around her and to discover who she really is. Exploring genetic mutations and memories, and layers of expertly pulled-off secrets and reveals, this action-packed sci-fi story is as thrilling as it is entertaining. Full of characters you’ll want to root for, a touch of romance, and twists that will have you turning every page, it’s a confident and well-written debut from an author who knows how to craft an adventurous and edgy tale.
Awaken (The A’vean Chronicles Book 1) – By GR Thomas
I’m ashamed to say this book has been on my TBR Pile since 2020, and I really should have read it well before then. The only good thing about having left it languishing for 2 years is the fact the rest of the series has been released and I can now read them too. As for the first book, what a way to kick off an epic series!
When Sophia discovers she’s an earthborn angel, prophecized to lead her people back to the realm they were cast out of eons ago, her whole world turns upside down. Now on the run with her two best friends, she must train and learn how to use her new powers while unlocking clues and staying out of the clutches of a group of demons who want her knowledge and blood for themselves. While the Angels and Watchers of this book are from ancient times, Sophia and her friends are not, and their modernness, as well as the modern book setting, is a real highlight that allows for some lighthearted moments between the characters. There’s plenty of action too, some tomb raiding, and the final chapters create an enviable yet cliffhanger-filled ending that will have you reaching straight for book 2.
Crafting Unforgettable Characters – By K.M. Weiland
This is a quick read with some handy little tips about some basics you can do before writing your book to flesh out your characters. If you’re a fan of putting together character interviews and outlines, this will help. If not, there are still some good ideas to gather from this guide, including some very helpful book recommendations for naming characters and why a name can be make or break when it comes to crafting an unforgettable character.
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 put me on the path to writing for Young Adults, 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 Master of Murder, Monster, The Ancient Evil (Chain Letter #2), Whisper Of Death, Road To Nowhere, and The Eternal Enemy.
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
Birds and stunning skies. The weather might not adhere to the known seasons anymore, but the sun still knows how to set the sky alight. I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises and sunsets while out walking this month and a lot of birds.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
I’ve been continuing to guest on The Australian Booklovers Podcast for their Blog Tip segment, where Veronica Strachan (aka V.E. Patton) and I briefly chat about different writing tips. 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 Dark Half, 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:
- 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 March Roundup. What did you get up to this month?
— K.M. Allan
You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
8 thoughts on “March 2023 Roundup”
I have no interest in watching Shazam! (been enjoying The Boys type of superhero movie more), but boy has their marketing been crazy, even here in Malaysia. I can’t turn on the radio or drive down the highway without hearing/seeing an ad for it at least seven times, lol.
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🤣🤣 there been lots of marketing here too, which also swayed my decision to see it.
Glad to hear you are making progress on book four! If only you could fast forward to launch day and skip all the grungy stuff in between! You’ll get there, and it will be a huge joy and relief to have completed the series and free you to work on something new.
I’m still on my writing break, though busy with my to-do list. Not much time to relax but I’ve penciled it in!
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Thanks, Alex! I’d love to fast forward to it being done 🤣. I think you’re right that it’ll be a joy to have it finished. In the meantime, I’ll just keeping enjoying working on it 😊. Best of luck finishing off your to-do list! Definitely take that relaxing break. I’m planning to over Easter.
Thanks K.M. for the MDL shoutout. Good luck with your last 3 scenes. I’m sure you’ll figure them out and they will be wonderful.
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I watched my very first show of Shazam! this past week. There have been so many shows with this title since the 1960s, most of them not worth the time to even change the station to. This newest one isn’t bad though.
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Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Glynis 😊. I liked the second movie as much as the first. I thought they were both watchable.
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