Writing Update: May 2023.

Well, howdy! Long time no see!

It’s been a rough couple of months. Things got incredibly, well, difficult for March and April (don’t worry, everyone is fine and hubby and I are still together), but it greatly affected my writing. Everything is good now and getting better, but May was the first time in months that I really felt like I wanted to work on my WIPs. Yes, plural. I have four that I’m focused on, and they’ll be the ones that I work on for the rest of the year, so obviously, it’s time for an update!

1. Heir to the Alchemist.

I cut a huge chunk from the middle of this story. Like, chapter size huge. In order for the story to move forward, the MC had to marry, and the life situation I had her in didn’t allow her to accomplish that, so I dragged her down into the mud. Literally. She’s going to go through a really hard winter, and she’ll be at the lowest point in her life during this time, but it has to be done. She has to be so desperate, so wretched, that she jumps at the offer of marriage from a very wealthy man twice her age. Only then can the main part of the story take place and secrets be revealed. I truly don’t see any of this happening without this marriage.

2. Eva & Skye’s Magical Hair Solution.

I returned to the original title. I had to. This story involves both of them, and it wasn’t fair that neither of them had their names in the title. I’m also including new scenes from Skye’s POV. If you follow me on social media, you know that I want the girls’ home life to be as opposite as possible, and just not the magical/non-magical aspect. Some of this is hard to write, but again like with HttA, it has to be done in order for the story to move forward.

3. The Quiet Dead: Book 2.

I am almost finished revising the first few chapters of this story and removing the old plot element. This was the project I was working on when SHTF and I shut everything down. It’s been hard because the old plot lines are still intertwined within, but once it’s done, it should be easier to revise the rest of the novel. I’m still torn on whether or not to continue writing this story. There are three more books that I wanted to do to explore this world, but I am more excited about HttA and the Eva and Skye novels, and I’d like to get the first book of those out as my funds have been greatly reduced, and I will only be able to put out one book per year now. *sigh*

4. Down Finnegan’s Hollow.

This novel is done and has been with a few betas for the last couple of months. This is a stand-alone entrance novel into my Halliwell Island series, but it might be the one I publish this year. Maybe around Hallowe’en? From the feedback I’ve received so far, I’m glad I held off from publishing. The timeline for this story was so messed up, and I don’t know how many times I had to revise and edit just the sequence of events in order for it to make sense. I’m never doing another timeline-based story again. EVAR.

If you’re curious to find out in more detail about the stories above, consider signing up for my newsletter! Starting in June, I’m starting a newsletter series that focuses on one story per month. I plan to go into more detail about each novel. Everything from the state of mind of the characters and why they take the actions that they do, to snippets, to who knows what. If these stories sound interesting to you, you can sign up HERE.

Until next month! Stay safe.

Writing Update: February 2023.

I don’t know about you, but I spent the first month of this year relaxing and de-stressing. I work retail, and even though it wasn’t as busy as it has been in past years, it was still stressful. Now, my hours are less than they were, but I’m not complaining. It gives me time to do what I really want to do, and that’s writing.

As a matter of fact, I was able to finish the second draft of my ghost book, Down Finnegan’s Hollow, this month and send it out to betas. I’ve worked on this book almost as long as The Quiet Dead, so it’s nice to finally have it in a place where publishing it is becoming more of a reality.

Plague Book 2

I’ve started revisions on the second book of my zombie plague series. While I did give it a title in the excerpt at the back of the first book, it’s just a placeholder. I may come up with something else as I progress through the edits.

It’s been a hard revision, and as of today, I’ve had to re-write the first five chapters. I knew this would be tough, as I did the same thing with The Quiet Dead. Removing all the references that the main character Jolene Sadler was an army medic only runs through half of the second book, and what I have now in the way of revisions is more in standing with the first novel. There’s also a scene where a horde stands outside waiting for them. I’m not sure if I’ll keep that, but I am including a possible cause for how it spread so quickly. As for an origin, I have an idea (no, not fungi related), but it does have something to do with some pesky insects . . .

I also came up with an idea for a stand-alone novel based on a fleeting thought about a one-scene character from The Quiet Dead. In the first novel, soldiers come and rescue Jolene and Arlo from an advancing horde in front of a hospital. It was just a few paragraphs, but this soldier was part of something else, which I will reveal more about in the second book. Anyway, I wrote out the idea and filed it away. I don’t know if anything will come of it, but the info is there just in case.

NaNoWriMo 2022 Project is dead.

Well, not so much dead as trunked.

I regret to say that I put away my nano project until such a time as it excites me again. Sometimes writing is easy, like with Plague Book 2; sometimes, they drone on and on, and I lose interest. This is what happened. I knew something was wrong when I skipped a couple of days of working on it, and then another story started poking at me (Heir to the Alchemist); I knew it was doomed to be trunked.

My high-fantasy/supernatural novel – Heir to the Alchemist, is an alternate earth-like world set during the early Victorian-esq era. I have supernatural creatures, but I refer to them as something else. There’s a hidden story behind the main plot that will come to light more with the second novel. I’ve had this story outlined for years, but like everything else, it’s gone through some serious revisions. If you’ve been a subscriber to my blog, you probably already know the story by its previous name – Gutterchilde, and if you subscribe to my Patreon, you may have seen the maps I’ve posted. I created those maps to keep track of places because this got away from me so fast. I’ll include more maps in future.

Web series – Malice

I began a new chapter in my web novel Malice, but it’s not on Royal Road or Wattpad. I can’t do those sites anymore. I don’t write game/manga/anime or Asian boyband romance fantasies, so my story didn’t go far. It got ‘reads’, or so their data said, but no one commented or liked it, so I quit posting. The new adventure is now free on my Patreon page HERE.

Goodreads Challenge

Now that I’m in a semi-habit of reading again, I joined the Goodreads challenge for 2023. I’m taking it easy. I subscribed to read twelve books this year. A book a month sounds good to me, considering everything else I do during the day.

My first book was Night Shift Witch, and I wrote a review for it. Now I’m reading Pride and Prejudice again. I’ve attempted to read this book four times, but I think I’ll make it all the way through this time.

My TBR pile is not too bad. A lot of books I got for free from Bookbub, and they range from horror to crime. I love reading, and I used to read voraciously before my son was born. Getting back into the habit has been difficult, but I consciously put aside about a half hour every day (unless I’m too tired) to read. My Goodreads profile is HERE if you want to check out the books I’ve already read.

Until next month!   


What’s on the Ereader: Night Shift Witch, by Cate Lawley.

In my attempt to read more, I joined Bookbub and subscribed to several genres. I haven’t bought any books yet, because I’ve gotten a lot for free, and the free ones are starting to pile up. This book was one of the first I got.


A witch with a side hustle.

Star needs another paying gig while she finishes up witch training. Why not at a funeral home? It fits her goth image, and the funeral director is sort of hot…even if he does wear a suit and tie.

The job seems perfect until Star discovers one of their accidental death clients didn’t die accidentally.

Before she knows it, she’s neck-deep in paranormal intrigue and her completely human, way-too-nice-for-his-own-good boss is right there with her.

Goodreads Page.


This was a short read, but unlike many other short reads, it was a complete story that didn’t hint that it was just the beginning of a bigger novel. The three main characters, Star, Ben, and Alex are likeable, with just enough tension between ex-lovers Star and Alex to make things awkward but not drag on the overall plot. The author’s magical world is intriguing, with unique perspectives on spells and casting, and the other supernatural creatures they encounter give hints at a more civilized co-existence.  

The story itself was fast-paced and maybe a little predictable, but the characters’ interactions to solve the crime keep it very light without becoming boring. It was a little too light-hearted for my taste, but you won’t be disappointed if you like stories of this nature.

3 stars. 

From the Recipe Box: Easy Chicken Parmesan.

The title says easy, but technically it’s cheating.

One of the few things I know my son will eat is chicken parmesan, but sometimes gathering all the ingredients to make it and putting it together is more work than I’m willing to do, especially if I find an online recipe. Grabbing the ingredients for some of these recipes is expensive, and many of them I’d never use again, not to mention the time spent preparing the meal. On days when I’ve had a heavy writing day, the last thing I want to do is take anywhere from forty minutes to an hour and a hour and a half (depending on the recipe) to make dinner.  

I’m lazy. Sue me.

As I stated above, this is technically cheating, but it’s good, fast, and with very little cleanup. The chicken parmesan has four ingredients; chicken patties, sauce, provolone and parmesan cheese. That’s it, and it’s twenty minutes to prepare. Tops.

I use Jane’s chicken patties. They’re pre-cooked and breaded. I follow the instructions, but for the last two minutes, I take them out, put spaghetti sauce on top with a good tablespoon of parmesan cheese, and then a slice of provolone on top of that and stick them back in the oven until the cheese is nicely melted. Put them on a plate with a side dish of your choosing, and voila – chicken parmesan.

I took pictures. You can view them HERE.

I use the patties for several reasons. They’re a good size, and I’m not stuck having to eat a whole chicken breast, and they go on sale sometimes for 40% off, so I have a few boxes in my freezer and don’t take long to cook up. The whole meal can take twenty minutes from start to table, depending on what you have with it.   

I found it’s a great way to add a bit of variety to dinner without getting overly complicated. What’s an easy dinner hack you have?

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Script Writing.

I discovered script writing several years back, and I love the medium. I bought a few books on it and finished several full-length scripts and about a dozen episodes on several ideas for tv series. I even turned some of my novel ideas into scripts just to see how they would feel as a movie.

While script writing may look the same as novel writing, several key differences exist. I know a few of them, so I picked the brain of my good friend Ally Turcotte, who is a wonderful screenwriter, to give me more comparisons. 

1. Lots of white space. – This is the biggest difference between novels and scripts. You don’t use all five senses and instead focus solely only on what will be seen and heard on the screen. No reflections or internal dialogue and definitely no paragraphs full of prose or lengthy descriptions of people, places or things, and you use facial expressions to depict emotions. It’s the hardest part of script writing for a novel writer and may take several drafts of a script to get it right.

2. Length. – With novels, you have a wide range of lengths to choose from, depending on what you want to write, but with a script, very strict page lengths must be adhered to. As a rule, it’s one page per minute so a half-hour show would be thirty pages. A one-hour drama – sixty pages, and a full-length feature movie, ninety pages. Period. Go over those numbers, and you risk rejection. I know, I can hear some of you saying that some movies are over ninety minutes, but look at the material or director/writer. Something about either of these would allow for a longer script; if you’re just starting out, you don’t have that luxury.

3. Pacing – Another deal breaker. You HAVE to pace your script. According to Ally, “Scripts are REALLY strict, not only on length but about how you’re pacing. Even if you’re making a really slow-moving film, you still want to have your problem reveal itself within the first 10-20 pages for a feature, and even though this is changing now because of streaming, most films and TV are still three-act or five act structures. It’s best to understand and create your scripts around this pacing.

4. No directions. There used to be a time when scriptwriters were allowed to put camera directions into their scripts. Not anymore, which can be seen as a blessing. When I first started, I had to learn all the angles, pan in, pan out, cut, etc., and where to put them. You have no idea how glad I am that we don’t have to do that anymore.

5. Cost.  Contrary to what you might think, when you’re writing your script, you have to keep in mind how much it will cost to produce. This is especially needed for unknown screenwriters. Things like set creation, location and paying for actors must be considered. Producers what a script that will be cheap enough to produce. The idea script would take place in two places and have two actors.

If you are truly interested in writing scripts, the best piece of information I can give is, watch movies and television and read scripts. You can go HERE and find scripts from movies and shows to read. My suggestion is to read the script WHILE you’re watching the show. This way you can actually see how it works.  

The Crystal Realm: The heart wants a Rose Quartz.

As February is all about romance, it would be nice to look at the crystal most associated with love; the rose quartz.

Thought to be first used by the Romans and Greeks, this stone has always symbolized emotions connected with the heart; love, romance and nurturing are a few of the ways that this stone can work for you, but it’s not restricted to just romance as there are other forms of love this crystal can help with.

Rose quartz is strongly associated with all types of love, including self-love. It is well known for its therapeutic uses. Platonic love, helping to balance any negativity related to relationships, is another use for this stone. It’s thought that sleeping with a stone under your pillow will help with peaceful rest and inspiration. Many of the healing properties are of soft feminine energy, compassion, and peace and, work to balance the emotional body as well as the physical.

Connected to the Heart Chakra, meditate with rose quartz to bring loving energy into your life. One of the more powerful properties of this stone is its ability to promote trust. Rose quartz helps the wearer understand the reason for mistrust and helps to dispel the underlying emotions. I keep a rose quartz close to my bed to help with restful sleep.

Check out the links below to get more information on rose quartz.

Charms of Light

Rose Quartz: Healing Properties and Everyday Uses.

A Wiccan Journey: Phone apps for the busy Wiccan.

I am a somewhat unorganized person. I become so wrapped up in a project that sometimes I forget about other things going on in my life. That’s why I am so glad that there are phone apps that help me along my spiritual path.

Apart from these apps being incredibly interesting and providing information whenever I need it, many of them are free, and I have all I need right at my fingertips. From phases of the moon, tarot cards, calendars and an online BOS, my apps keep me informed and alert me when a special date is coming.

I like the idea of having my information on me all the time. I’m still looking for a good crystal app for information. I find a lot of sites on my computer about crystals, but I’d like one for my phone, in case I find myself someplace that sells crystals. I dislike going online with my phone because of all those damn pop-ups; more than once, I’ve accidentally tapped one and ended up on some stupid site.

I took a screen shot of the apps. You can find it HERE

I researched many before downloading the ones I have. The free apps are good, and many of the paid ones offer a free trial, but there are so many of them that finding the right ones was a matter of trial and error. The best app I have is Sky Map and Phases of the Moon. With Sky Map, once it’s calibrated to your phone, you can find the positions of all the stars, constellations, and galaxies, and there’s a line to indicate the horizon. You hold up your phone in any direction, and it will show you the universe, and it’s really cool when a few of the planets are close together. Phases of the Moon is literally just that. You’ve got the time and date when the moon rises and sets, the current phase, how far away it is, and what constellation it’s in.

I never thought a phone would be so useful.

Bored Gen Xer – The Darkside Detective.

I love paranormal stuff, but there are not a lot of online paranormal games that are fun and not scary, and out of all the games I researched online, this one only came up once.

The Darkside Detective is a point-and-click game with cartoony graphics and awesome music. I play this for the music alone. The script is humorous, and the cases are relatively easy to solve once you understand the mechanics of how to interact with the interface. It has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam and this is one of those games you can play to unwind after a long day, and don’t worry, if you finish all the cases, don’t worry, they released a sequel called The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark with six new cases!

Interested? You can find the game HERE.

I made a short video to give you an idea of what it’s like. You can watch it HERE.

The Green Side of Life: Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)

I found this little plant at the grocery store, which goes by many different names. The Pancake Plant, UFO Plant, and Coin Plant are just a few and is found primarily in southern China and will grow to be a foot tall and just over a foot wide. I don’t like moving my plants around, especially if I think it’s doing well, but I moved this from an east-facing window to a west-facing window just this winter. I bought it in February of 2021, and it’s almost at its full height after two years.

Pictures HERE.

The page that I refer to take care of it states that it will produce little shoots that you can transplant. I haven’t seen any, which was the reason I moved the plant. I don’t think it was getting the right amount of light. One thing I did notice, when I turned the plant so the stalk would grow straight, some of the leaves fell off when they got stuck behind one of the legs of the stand it’s on, so I moved it again.

To my surprise, this isn’t a tropical plant and is considered an evergreen. I use a water gauge when watering, letting me know when I should water it. I’ve never had one of these before, and the site I refer to said that it was difficult to find, so I consider myself lucky and hopefully, I can get it to sprout new offshoots. I’m so used to having tropical plants. I’ll have to be careful and keep a better eye on it.  

Of Writers and prose: Writing a SHTF scenario.

Writing my zombie plague novel, I did research on what could actually happen during a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) scenario, and what you see on television and the movies—especially when it comes to how people will react, is not how I’ve read would actually happen. It’s done for the most part for dramatic purposes. No shit, and while I can’t predict what would happen during a zombie plague, I did research smaller, less dramatic situations to understand what society would do during a natural disaster.

It’s too easy to write a SHTF book where society is completely selfish. I find this is the problem with the majority of movies in this genre (don’t get me started on 2012), but you need tension between the characters, otherwise, you have a boring book. When people revolt against something, it’s because they’re scared on some level and can’t, or don’t, want to think rationally about the situation. Their way of life is ending and they’ll do irrational things to keep the status quo.  

All end-of-the-world scenarios have one thing in common, the breakdown of institutions and infrastructure that society depends on. We had a huge ice storm here twenty-five years ago, and the three things that went first were; power, cable, and phone so I used my knowledge of what it was like during that storm as a foundation for my story. When I was writing The Quiet Dead, I expanded on what would happen if the power goes out. Communications are gone because they all run off of electricity. Gas pumps run off of electricity too, so transportation would be sketchy at best. Food deliveries would become scarce. Would there be rationing? Hoarding? Stealing? Living in Canada, I had to think about winter. Weather plays a big part of disaster stories too and all of that adds to the tension and conflict.

As I work on the sequel, I’m looking deeper into these desperate situations. What happens when the food does run out? When shelters are no longer a viable option? It’s a whole new set of problems that will worsen the characters lives, but still make it believable. Mind you, I’m writing about zombies so this should be interesting.

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