Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell 2014

In 2014 I wanted to post on this blog once a week. Here we are, 52 weeks later and 53 blog posts into 2014, counting down the hours until we have to consciously remember what year we're in. I don't know when this happened, but I feel like time's rushed by since 2012. I still feel like that was yesterday and I'm still 18. But I'm not. This year I entered my twenties and I'm still not sure what to think about that.

But enough about me. What about the blog? I had some very interesting posts this year as well as a whopping 30 book reviews (with five more in draft).

My World Book Day post featured my favourite character list.
The To An Author post marked a very important milestone in my career.
My Immorality of Immortality blog post series was a first - I've never done a blog post series before (unless of course you count NaNoWriMo).
The NaNoWriMo posts  were fun to write and excellent to look back on.

They were my favourite posts but my most popular post was the Brilliant Week Featuring the #MovellasMeetUp post. That was probably thanks to Movellas retweeting it!

Speaking of Movellas, I have had a blast there this year, hitting the 150 fans/followers mark and making even more 'writing' friends. I've had some excellent feedback and advice from the Movellians and they will continue to shape my career in 2015. I'm hoping for 250 fans this time next year and their continued support on my After trilogy, the first book, Thereafter, being exclusively on Movellas for now.

While I'm on Thereafter . . . wow. What a ride that was. I wrote it in 18 days for NaNoWriMo 2014 beating my personal record. I reached the 50,000 word goal in just 12 days and surprised myself every day with not only the pace I was writing it, but also the quality of the writing. Thereafter is joint with Fire and Ice as my favourite novel I've written.

Now I have to speak about Thereafter as the Movellas advent calendar. Without a doubt, being asked to be the Movellas advent calendar was the highlight of my year and really helped me power through a very difficult December. The encouragement, support, and excitement from the Movellas community has hyped up my excitement for the rest of the trilogy which I'm planning to write in 2015 (at least book two anyhow).

Other than Thereafter, I also wrote The Fall of Us which, although didn't turn out as good as I would've liked, taught me a lot about how I like to write and what I expect from my novels now. I learnt the hard way that I'm not a present tense writer! There's a lot of potential in The Fall of Us and a lot of love for it on Movellas so I'm going to consider my options with it with a read over in 2015. Who knows, it might turn into something spectacular?

By the way, 2014 was the year I successfully wrote ten books in five years! Now how many people can say they've done that?

I also finished my second draft of my baby, Fire and Ice. I'm extremely excited about the second draft (which you can read on Movellas if you have an account - you need an account because it's set to 16+) and I think (and I know I've said this before) that it's going to take me places. 

This.
Is.
It.

So we've looked at my 2014 writing but what does 2015 bring?

Well, the rest of the After trilogy will be planned and book two at least will get written as one of my two books in 2015. I may write book three for NaNo15 but I haven't decided yet. I'm thinking I might try something new for NaNo as that always seems to do me good. I doubt I'll be able to beat this year's speed and quality though. I was on fire!

Speaking of fire, Fire and Ice is going to be my top priority and I'm going to send it around and see what happens.

It's probably at this point that I should mention Chancing the Truth. I am so sorry to everyone who expected it this year. I did too. The thing was just so huge that it took me a long time to whittle it down into something that I loved and wanted to share with you. The cover also caused me and my cover designer (the very talented James Terry jrterry95@gmail.com for all your art needs) some problems that we've overcome now.



So, long story short, it's ready. It's in its final proofreading rounds so it is FOR CERTAIN  coming 2015.

As well as writing a lot, I've also read a lot. I've read 37 books this year which is only 1 less than in 2013. I'm hoping 2015 will bring the year of 40 books but we'll see.

Here are the top ten in the order I read them in:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, 
Boundless by Cynthia Hand, 
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, 
Looking for Alaska by John Green, 
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, 
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, 
Shadows by Paula Weston, 
Raging Star by Moira Young, 
Paper Towns by John Green,


In 2015 I'm looking forward to Haze and Shimmer by Paula Weston, books two and three in her Rephaim series and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, the only John Green book left on my shelf that I haven't read!

So, to sum up: in 2014 I read a lot and I wrote a lot.

In 2015 I plan to read even more and write just as much.

(And maybe make some money this year)

Happy New Year to all of you,


Molly
Ambitious Author

molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Starters - Lissa Price

Blurb

First, Callie lost her parents.

Then she lost her home.

And, finally, she lost her body.

But she will stop at nothing to get it back . . . 


My Review

I was pleasantly surprised by Starters. I thought it would reek of 'heard it all before' but it felt fresh and new. A world in which there are no adults has been done, but a world with teens, children (the Starters) and elderly people (the Enders) but with nothing in between . . . well. I've never heard of anyone do this before.

It was fascinating to see how their society worked after the Spore Wars had killed the adults, as they had not been vaccinated. The difference between the Starters with guardians and without was vast but completely believable. Price has crafted her world well as everything made sense to me.

If you haven't already gathered, I thought the plot was fantastic. There was a good mix of action, mystery and suspense the entire way through. It twisted and turned, continuing to keep me guessing. Also, I really liked Callie. She was brave and tried her best. She made rational decisions and wasn't stupid, which is always a bonus.

Though it started well, the reader asking lots of questions about this world, I was concerned that there would be a few more people in the world willing to help Callie. I understood why the Enders disliked the Starters and wanted to ignore them but I wanted someone to see that it was wrong. As the book went on, characters willing to help did appear but I felt perhaps a little bit too late. I know the world is cruel, but there are more kind people out there than this book suggests.

Also, I wanted it to start a little bit faster than it did. It wasn't impossibly slow but I needed to be thrust in more. It was far too easy to put the book down at the beginning. However, once it got going it was paced really well and I found it really easy and enjoyable to read.

I think the problem I had at the beginning was the lack of dialogue. It was there and it was in character and believable, I just wanted more of it. I think that's why I found it slow. I wanted less of Callie describing her surroundings and more of her talking to people. I understand things were being kept from me at the beginning to make me read on, but it would've been easier to immerse myself in this world had there been more dialogue.


Evaluation

Overall 8/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. I enjoyed it very much and was pleasantly surprised.

Would I look up the author? Yes. I've put the sequel, Enders, on my 'want-to-read' list. Whether or not I'll ever get around to it is a different matter.


Starters felt similar to books I've read before but the plot was entirely different and that's just what I'd wanted.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Paper Towns - John Green

Blurb

Quentin Jacobson has always loved Margo from afar. So when she climbs through his window to summon him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow. But the next morning, Q turns up at school and Margo doesn't. She's left clues to her disappearance, like a trail of breadcrumbs for Q to follow.

And everything leads to one unavoidable question:


Who is the real Margo?



My Review

If you've read my reviews of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, you won't be surprised by the way I'm about to talk about Paper Towns. Yep, I'm afraid this is mostly going to be gushy. I adored this book. John Green is brilliant. I fell back into his style after one paragraph as though it hadn't been months and months since I last read one of his books.

I immediately fell in love with Q and his friends the way I didn't and couldn't with Miles in Looking for Alaska. They were completely real and relatable and really funny. Whenever Q, Ben and Radar were all in a chapter I just couldn't stop reading. I even laughed out loud. But they weren't perfect. The were flawed and so accurate to how people like that would be. I just really wanted to hang out with them.

The feeling of leaving school is written so perfectly. Exactly how I remember it. When Q left I felt that "perverse nostalgia" that he was feeling. That is a mark of a great book. I not only knew exactly how he was feeling, I felt it too. But not only did I feel it, I felt like I was reliving it.

When I got to Part Three I was so excited I could burst. I knew I was going to finish the book in that day and of course I did. Though I didn't want it to end. I just didn't want to stop reading it. It was too much fun!

If you're wondering which John Green book is my favourite, it's still The Fault in Our Stars purely because I could read it over and over and over and over. I think Paper Towns would never be as magical if I was to read it again, the mystery element is too strong.

I realise this review is short because I have no criticism to give whatsoever. I just have one last thing to say. I hope this: "I don't know how I look, but I know how I feel: Young. Goofy. Infinite." is a reference to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Evaluation

Overall 10/10

Would I recommend it? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

Would I look up the author? Yes but I don't have to. There's only one more of his books I don't own.


Paper Towns . . . there has never been so much truth in a book all at once.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Blurb

When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone - an army of boys welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they're there, or what's happened to the world outside. And following the arrival of a girl with a message, they must find a way out - or die.


My Review

I'm going to have to start off by apologizing because I just did not enjoy this book as much as I expected! It's stupid that I feel like I have to apologize but I do because the world Dashner's created is real and believable as are the characters. There's action and emotion and struggle.

So why didn't you like it? I hear you ask.

The quick answer is that it was too long. My main problem during The Maze Runner was how incredibly slow the whole thing was. I'm not saying there wasn't conflict and exciting parts because there were, and they were great, but the beginning dragged on for an eternity! I slogged through the first hundred pages wondering if anything at all was going to happen. I had to force myself to read every day or else I knew it'd be Christmas and I'd still be reading it. It was only when I got 250 pages in that I felt like I was enjoying myself. And that was most of the book read!

To be quite frank, the only reason I carried on until the end was because I felt like I needed to. I know how many people love this book and I wanted to love it too, I really, truly did but it was just not meant to be. That and the first chapter was incredible. I was fascinated, thrown into the Glade with Thomas, dying for answers. Answers that came too late to peak my interest.

The ending did get extremely intense and fast but, if you ask me, it was too little too late by that point. And to top it all off, the tying up loose ends and signing off part at the end was - to fit in with the rest of the book - far too long also. 

I felt there was a golden 75 pages between 250 and 325 but that was it.

Although the characters felt real, for some reason I couldn't connect with any of them. I have no idea why this is and I don't blame Dashner because I think it was just me. I was just totally the wrong reader for this book, but I have no idea why.

I'll finish off with some offensive typos I found in my edition. At one point this happened ',.' In what universe is that okay to leave? And I also found a missing full stop. The capital letter of the next sentence was there but alas, the full stop had gone walk-abouts. Again, this isn't Dashner's fault, just an incompetent proofreader.

Evaluation

Overall 6/10

Would I recommend it? No. I did not enjoy it nearly enough.

Would I look up the author? No. For the same reason.



I'm saddened that, for me, The Maze Runner didn't live up to its hype.



Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Thereafter - The Movellas Advent Calendar


I'm thrilled to announce that my tenth novel, Thereafter is this year's Movellas Advent Calendar! Thereafter is twenty-five chapters long, one a day from now until Christmas! I couldn't be more excited about it.

Read the introductory blog here!

Thereafter was my NaNo14 novel and the best thing I've written so far (though I know I always say that!). I loved everything about this novel, but especially the characters. Abia and her friends and family lodged themselves in my heart straight away and I can't imagine this story featuring anyone else.

Here's the blurb, which you're probably sick of reading by this point but in case you've missed it:


There are always a host of flowers on the side of the road, whether brand new or shrivelled from weeks of rest. Their appearance, though sad, was never odd. So when another wave of flowers showed up on the outskirts of my home town, I didn't pay much attention apart from a deep aching sadness within. It was only upon mentioning it in passing I realised something was wrong. I spoke to everyone but to no avail.
Maybe I was going crazy but . . .
I was the only one who could see the flowers.


I'm thrilled by the amount of love Thereafter has received on Movellas already! It's incredible. I've had more likes and comments on Thereafter in forty-eight hours than stories I put up up over a year ago. I'm so grateful to everyone who's liked, favorited and commented and I can't even begin to express how ecstatic I am about all this.

Here are some of my fabulous comments from day one:



So go check out Thereafter and don't forget to tell me what you think!

Molly Looby
Author of Thereafter
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Pep Talk (Post #5)


For our last few days of this year's Wrimo, here is my pep talk that I wrote for Movellas. If you've never been on Movellas you should. It is the most incredible writing community I've ever come across and I don't know where I'd be without it.



I, on behalf of all the Wrimos who have reached the holy grail of 50,000 words, bestow this golden knowledge to you, fellow Movellian: you can do this. I know this for a fact because you are already trying. You are a mighty warrior and your war will be won. Glory will be yours.

You can do this, petrified writer. Chant it to yourself if you have to. Goodness knows I’ll be chanting it every day to keep myself chugging along.

You can do this, experienced and inexperienced authors of Movellas. Reaching 50,000 words, though it is a feeling like no other, is not the most important thing in the world. If you don’t reach the finish line by the time December shows its Christmasy head, don’t despair. You’ve still done something thousands, dare I say millions, want to do but are too afraid to try. Yes, you started your book.

Keep powering on, beautiful novelist. I’m not encouraging you to drop everything, (I’m afraid you still have to do your school work) but you are allowed to abandon your friends during these few weeks. This is a noble cause, your novel, let it know you can make sacrifices.

My advice to you is to sit down at the same time every day. Turn off your internet, put your phone in another room, (or turn that off as well) and make yourself write. If nothing else, you’ll get bored and have nothing else to do with yourself. After a few days, the routine will be like an old friend and you’ll spend fewer precious minutes twirling your thumbs and more time writing those diamond words.

Forget typos, you’ve no time for that. Don’t read back unless you have to remind yourself where you are. Forget about character and plot problems, they’re your inner editor’s problem. Do not, whatever you do, brilliant creator, let your inner editor out of its cage. I repeat DO NOT LET YOUR INNER EDITOR OUT OF ITS CAGE. Let it scream. Let it shout. Let it cry. Rejoice in its pain. It’s not often you’re allowed to do so.

Each day, stop when it gets exciting (once you’ve done the crucial 1,667 of course). Doing this will make it easier to start with minimal time wasted the next day. Every moment writing is important. I know not writing is a strange thing to suggest for NaNoWriMo, but doing this ensures you write lots every day and not just on odd days.

Your fellow Wrimo and friend @[Prodigy] implores you to use any method you can to overcome that crippling writer’s block. A spark of anything could help you out: a song, sketching your characters, even doing some research. Stop at nothing to slay the beast that haunts every writer’s nightmares.

Following those words, @[Ahlaam Nightshade], another gallant Wrimo and comrade, suggests  writing prompts to finish off the monster and to boost your confidence because you are fantastic!

You can do it.

You are doing it.


You are an author and nobody can ever take that away.

Molly
Wrimo

First posted on Movellas.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Post #4

Hello to week three! Week three's usually a favourite of mine and I'm glad it's finally here. I take back what I said on my last post, week two was hard, it just hadn't caught up to me yet. But I battled on. In fact, it got harder once I reached 50,000 words, maybe because some of the drive dwindled because I'd reached the target.

I reached 50K on day 12 which is a personal best and bloody amazing! That's an average of 4,000 words every day, something that I may never have the leisure of reaching ever again so I'm enjoying it now. I'm okay with the fact that this is probably going to be my personal best forever because I imagine every NaNo from now on is going to have obstacles such as life in the way. I didn't seem to have that pesky little problem this year. Lucky for you, I can't bombard you with stickers yet as you can't actually validate your word count until Thursday.
On day 12 I wrote almost 6,800 words to reach 50K, a daily word count which I'm pretty sure is my largest ever.

But good news, I'm still excited about my story and that's what carried me through week two and into week three. I had little wobbles at times wondering if it was good enough but I soon told myself that it didn't matter and to not judge it until, 1: I've finished it, and 2: I've read it from start to finish. So I'm not allowed to doubt myself anymore. That helps.

Let's look at some stats again. By the end of day 17:

2011 - ZA                             - 28,615
2012 - I Dare You                 - 38,908
2013 - JAPOA/Fire and Ice  - 37,571

2014 - Thereafter                  - 67,130

It's clear to see that this year I'm bossing it. This is shaping up to be the quickest book I've ever written! Insanity. 

My goal is to finish it today - day 18 - meaning I've written an entire (and not short) novel in two and a half weeks.

Why wouldn't a publisher want this?

My donation page. Make the world a more creative place!


Okay, gotta go finish my novel!

Molly
WriMo

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Post #3

Well, today is day 11 of NaNoWriMo and I've nearly finished. I know! Mental. I think I'm a tiny bit insane but that's okay. This is pretty much what my protagonist has been saying for a while now so I'm going to take a leaf out of her book.

I should start off by saying all hail the covered up word count! I have written way more than I ever dreamt of just by covering up my word count and writing for long periods of time. I realised it was becoming too much about what that number said so I swiftly took it out of the equation. It was the best decision ever. I have written a huge amount of words every day. It's crazy.

According to NaNoWriMo, I'm doing so well that I'm going to be at 50,000 in two days. Meaning that I've completed NaNo in half the allotted time.

What? How?

To answer that question, I'm not intirely sure. It's fantastic to have a rival to push you to your absolute limit. I know for a fact I wouldn't be nearly as far if I wasn't battling it out with Aunt Midnight Rogue on Movellas every day to see who's going to win second place in the NaNo race. The winner reached 50K in 10 days which is just . . . inhuman I'm pretty sure of it.

I enjoyed comparing myself to last year so here are last year's day 10 stats compared to this year.

2011 - ZA                             - 16,760
2012 - I Dare You                - 21,835
2013 - JAPOA/Fire and Ice - 20,951

2014 - Thereafter                 - 40,697

Yeah, I'm getting to the realm of double what I've usually written by this point. That's pretty damn scary.

I'm very lucky that we're on week two and I'm still in love with my story and characters. It's about this time that people want to kill their characters off because they're sick of being with them but I'm not having that problem. If anything I love my characters more with each day as I see more of them. I'm also on good terms with my plot. I'm not going to throw in the towel or mix it up because I've got week two blues. I'm in an excellent place in my story. I know that's down to how much of it is already written. I would most certainly be suffering from week two blues if I was still on some of the beginning stuff I'm past now.

For those of you competing, here's my NaNoWriMo page
Also, here's a link to my donation page to make the world a more creative place.

See you at 50K.

Molly
Wrimo

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Post #2


Yes, it's that time again and it's safe to say I've gone NaNoMental or NaNoPumped as I keep writing on Movellas

Right now I'm on 10,538 words.

Let's talk about the first three days and not include today because without today the stats are pretty shocking. So on day three this year I had written 4,400 words more than I had last year. That's two and a half day's worth more in NaNo speak, one day being 1,667 words. How crazy is that? The craziest part of it is that I started off on day three with 5,250. Yep, I wrote 5,288 words in one day, doubling my word count. That's only 500 short of everything I'd written for ZA on day three back in 2011 - but I was a NaNo novice then. Now I am a master and I'm three days ahead already.

You want to know why I decided to double my word count on day three? 1: Because I could. 2: Because I wanted to see if I could write that much in one day (I have written more in a day before - somewhere around 6,000 is my record - but only ever to finish a novel). 3: And this is the most important, I wanted to get myself back in the race.

On Movellas, my favourite writing site, me and two others decided to host a NaNoWriMo Race where the Wrimos on Movellas would write as fast as possible to see who can reach 50,000 words first. Now it occurred to me yesterday that there were a lot of people reaching the 10,000 mark.

I wanted to be one of those people too. After all, if you don't play to win why are you playing?

So I decided in the almost three hours until my boyfriend got back from work, I was going to write another 2,500 words to make my total 10,000. Then I decided I wanted to make it 10,500 so I could say I doubled my word count. After turning off my internet, giving myself a pep talk, flinging my phone away from reaching distance and writing like a maniac, I did it. When I ticked over to 10,500 I could've cried.

For a visual representation of how far I came yesterday, here's what my word counts looked on day three for the previous three years:

2011 - ZA                                                             - 5,700
2012 - I Dare You                                                - 7,840
2013 - Just a Pair of Abominations/Fire and Ice  - 6,132

Yeah. It's shaping up to be a pretty good year so far, though I've still got a lot of work to do if I want to reach 50,000 first, but that's my kind of challenge.

I can't wait to see what the rest of the month brings!

Here's my donation page if you want to make the world a more creative place.
Here's a link to my NaNoWriMo profile if you want to buddy up.

Here's to day four and a crate full of words.

Molly Looby
Wrimo

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Raging Star - Moira Young

Raging Star is the final book in the Dustlands trilogy. There may be spoilers for book one, Blood Red Road, and two, Rebel Heart. You have been pre-warned.

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

It's Saba's final fight and time is running out. It's time to free the slaves of New Eden and put a stop to the Pathfinder's reign. 


My Review

Before we start, I think my tweet to Moira Young sums up how I felt about this book.



I was so excited to pick up this book because I loved the first two so much. I could hardly put either of them down and I couldn't wait to see where the end of Saba's journey was going to take her. However, I was equally parts terrified because I knew I was going to feel like I'd lost a little part of myself when I finished it. I was more than right.

My standards were high and Young was up for the challenge. Incredibly, I think Raging Star was my favourite of the trilogy.

It was so easy to slip back into the story. I love all the characters so much and I was desperate to find out how everything was going to come together. It was like I'd put down Rebel Heart down only a few minutes before picking Raging Star up. In reality, it was almost a year ago that I read Rebel Heart.

As always, I loved Saba's character development. By the time I got to Raging Star I understood her so well I knew what she would do and what she would think about everything. She was real to me. I backed up all her decisions and cheered for her the whole way through. I think she's my ultimate literary best friend. I would love to know her. It's so rare to feel this close to a character. I feel blessed to have read about her.

The progression of the other characters is great too, especially Lugh and Emmi. I just can't believe how much I've been through with these characters. And I loved every single one. Saba, Lugh, Emmi, Jack, DeMalo, Nero, Molly, Ash. All of them. 

I don't really need to say this as the picture already does it for me but I cried so hard whilst reading Raging Star. Not only did it make me cry but it made me shout out and sob. I may as well have been holding Saba's hand the entire time. Her feelings have a direct path to my heart.

Again, this doesn't need saying but I finished it sobbing with tears rolling down my face. Raging Star had the most beautiful perfect ending. 

I hope one day I can make a person feel as much as Young made me feel during the course of Raging Star.


Evaluation

Overall 10/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. This series was incredible from start to finish. I'm going to force it on all my friends. They can thank me later.

Would I look up the author? I already have. I can't wait for her to write something else. One thing's for certain, I'll read it.


The Dustlands trilogy has made it to my top ten book series of all time. That is not an easy thing to achieve. And Raging Star has joint place on my favourite book I've read this year with The Fault in Our Stars. Incredible, just incredible.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Blurb

My name is August.


I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.



My Review

Wonder is one of those books I've heard so much about that I was a little bit afraid to read it. 

However, the first few chapters had me hooked. I loved the easy chatter of August as the narrator and somehow Palacio has mastered August talking to us and yet not telling us too much, if that makes any sense. This is so difficult to achieve that I was in awe from the offset.

I was also pleased that Wonder had chapter names. I miss chapter names in books, I read so few these days. I think in this case it's probably because Wonder is aimed at a younger audience than I'm used to. Unfortunately, because of this, I felt it was lacking some depth. I suppose it didn't need anything more because August is only ten (ten years my junior as I post this!) but picking it up, I had no idea how young a character he was. As a reader of mostly teenage fiction, this took a little bit of getting used to.

August himself, and all the other characters, were easily understood and relatable, which was of course, good. But as most of them were ten-year-olds I didn't connect with them as I wish I could have. August's sister, Via, however, I felt very connected to. Saying this though, August reminded me of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower and that was a very beautiful thing.

The different point of views was a great surprise which I know I've now ruined but it was so important to see things from the other characters' perspectives. The story really needed that. I got on with all the point of views other than Justin, which I felt I could've done without. Maybe that was because I didn't like him very much. Plus, his point of view was devoid of capital letters which made me cringe.


Evaluation

8/10 overall.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was truly beautiful and makes you think.

Would I look up the author? No. It was written for people younger than myself.


Wonder was a beautiful, heart-warming story that makes you proud to be human.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Post #1


I have REALLY made a commitment to my NaNoWriMo novel. Yes, I updated my NaNo page. Scary, yes. I also set up my donation page and donated my usual $10 to get that all important halo on my profile. This year I've called it 'The Big Ten'.
I know. How crazy is that? 

This NaNoWriMo is super special to me because I will be writing my tenth novel and I'm terrified!

Celebrate with me by donating (or adding me as a buddy on NaNoWriMo) and your prize is this, the only thing I've written of my novel so far, the short synopsis for the NaNo site:

There are always a host of flowers on the side of the road, whether brand new or shrivelled from weeks of rest. Their appearance, though sad, was never odd. So when another wave of flowers showed up on the outskirts of my home town, I didn't pay much attention apart from a deep aching sadness within. It was only upon mentioning it in passing I realised something was wrong. I spoke to everyone but to no avail. 
Maybe I was going crazy but . . .
I was the only one who could see the flowers.

An ecstatic,

Molly Looby
Wrimo
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Immorality of Immortality: Chancing the Truth

You made it! Here is the fourth and final post in my Immorality of Immortality blog post series. If you've missed the three before it, go and read the introduction so you know what's going on.
And here are the Playing with Reality and Gambling a Fairytale posts from last week and the week before.
This week it's Chancing the Truth, my absolute favourite for so many reasons! And I can't wait to share it with the world!

“We’ll never be free.  Only the end can release us.”

“Forget Adelina, Stephan’s the real god of this castle.  You disobey and you get punished.  You’re plunged into hell and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Unless of course he goes too far.  Unless of course you’re given something to live for.  Unless of course you’re strong enough to fight.
I wasn’t a year ago.
I am now.
I am Felix Hesper and I am in control."

Through the eyes of Felix, Damien and Lilya, the newest addition to the Senate, Chancing the Truth takes you on a journey to the heart wrenching finale of the Immorality of Immorality trilogy.

A Lot of Background

*You should know before I begin that I changed quite a lot of this to save you from too many spoilers.

Well ‘Chancing the Truth’, enter Lilya. What else can I start with? This new character changes everything and I am more excited about seeing what everyone thinks of her than I am about what everyone thinks of the plot.

I thought up the plot of CTT while still writing ‘Playing with Reality’. It essentially just continued from ‘Gambling a Fairytale’, which wrote itself in my head at the same time. The two seemed to come to me instantaneously. It may not seem like it, but I had to decide where one ended and the next begun. But of course that divide would be Lilya shaped.

I outlined the plot much the same as I did for GAF except there was a lot more of it meaning a lot more notes. I scribbled all over these pages. Well, let’s face it; I had a lot to cover. And no, I never thought it would ever be 500 pages long.

CTT was the most hands-on I think – note wise. I have notes for everything. But I did have a lot to do. I had chambers and clothes and back stories and all sorts. You see more of the Senate than ever before, which meant I had to walk around the corridors of the Senate with my eyes and my notebook open. Basically sitting at my desk with my eyes shut talking to Felix, Lilya and Damien (or myself if you want to be like that).

Not only this but I had to outline to myself in the greatest of detail the pasts of Stephan Hunter and Hugo Sharpe. I knew them – of course – but I needed every gory detail. That was a fun week I can tell you. Up to my eyeballs in Renaissance and Dark Ages research is always great.

More fun still was seeing how Damien coped not being Felix’s number one concern. This I found very interesting, and at points I felt I was the only one who loved him even through his stupidity.

Something new that came out while writing CTT was that I loved being girly with Lilya. You’ll notice she talks about her clothes more than the others. I loved imagining and describing her outfits, but in such a way that wasn’t girly. I loved that. I'd not really been able to do that before. I loved Lilya’s whole attitude.

I just adore Lilya.

Her chapters essentially wrote themselves. It was a job to keep up to be honest. And in comparison to this, writing Felix chapters always felt so much slower. I love Lilya’s chattiness. The way she speaks to the reader, she’s not just telling them a story, she’s holding a conversation. She's asking your opinion and imploring you to understand. That style is great fun to write.

The editing process for CTT was the most involved I’ve ever been in making my work perfect.The final draft of CTT is 60 pages and 15,000 words shorter than my first draft and it is so much better to read because of it. Everything means something and leads you somewhere, without missing any of the personality of the narrators.

After me and my reading team had spent a good seven weeks going through it, I was more confident than ever in my trilogy.

So in 2014 at 20 years old, I published ‘Chancing the Truth’, by myself this time, and at last, the ‘Immorality of Immortality trilogy’ was complete. *

*I know it's not out yet but it's coming. I swear. Before Christmas!

So now you know some of what I went through when I sat and decided yes, I wanted to write a book about vampires. Not only that, I wanted to prove that I could achieve anything. To this day, I've written four books since finishing 'Chancing the Truth' and it's still perfect in my eyes. That's saying something pretty powerful. CTT, like all the others, changed me as a writer. Maybe it'll change you as the reader. Just you wait and see.


Molly Looby
Author of the Immorality of Immortality trilogy
molly.looby@hotmail.com
Immorality of Immortality Facebook page

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Immorality of Immortality: Gambling a Fairytale

Welcome back and thank you for joining me in this continuation of my descriptions of what it was like to write the Immorality of Immortality trilogy. Too long an intro? Whatever. This week it's book two: Gambling a Fairytale! Like Playing with Reality, Gambling a Fairytale can now be found on Kindle for 77p! It is also in paperback.


And here's the introductory blog post if you missed that too. If you did, where have you been?



“Life just isn’t fair.  And death is no exception.”

“The unknown is filled with darkness and darkness is where nightmares become reality.

Sometimes you awake from nightmares.  But sometimes you’re not so lucky."

Through the eyes of both Felix and Damien, Gambling a Fairytale leaves you breathless as the trilogy continues.

A Lot of Background

So after ‘Playing with Reality’ there was a lot of work to do.  In the process of writing PWR, Felix and Damien fed me information about what happened next: ‘Gambling a Fairytale’ and ‘Chancing the Truth’.  I knew straight away that GAF was going to be very difficult to write as it was going to break my heart in places.

I had to write the plot out in bullet points with gaps between so when I got round to it I could fill in the spaces.  Now this page has arrows everywhere as with GAF one thing really does lead to another.

The thing that was most certain was that I’d have to introduce Damien as a narrator.  Now this was something I was very excited about.  Not only do you get to know things that Felix doesn’t know (you gotta love dramatic irony) but you also get to know Damien personally.  Maybe his mind works a little differently than you expected, or perhaps you hit the nail on the head and he’s everything you’d thought he’d be.  Either way, Damien’s point of view is vital for the progression of the story.  And as you can image, he was chatty in my head.  His chapters were always faster to write that Felix’s.  Damien talks more and thinks less.  But less about what you already know.

The experience was very different from PWR because I wasn’t waiting for pieces of plot.  I had everything, I just had to fit it altogether.  This did frustrate me eventually and I stopped writing it about twenty-per-cent of the way in.  After a couple of months however, I got over myself and created James* to push me in the right direction.
The reason for this character, as well as the little nudge to finish off this story, was that my boyfriend was appalled that he hadn’t had a character named after him.  How could I not oblige?  He is my illustrator after all.

*Luckily for me, James made the plot make a lot more sense!

I’ve never been more glad that I stuck to it, because once I’d started again, that was it.  I couldn’t stop.  For anything.  I fell in love again and cried when my characters did.  It was emotional for all of us, GAF, I can tell you that.  I felt like a part of me died when I’d finished it.

Phew.  A breather was needed.

So I wrote a zombie book: ‘ZA’.*

Yep, between finishing GAF in October 2011 and starting CTT in January 2012, I wrote a novel.  If I was going to be accurate I wrote it between the first and the twenty-ninth of November.  This is was, of course, NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) 2011 was my first wrimo and I've done it every year since. It's too rewarding not to!

*ZA can now be found on Kindle for 77p and the first few chapters are on Movellas.


After a very painful and long editing process (which took me until 2013!) I was absolutely certain that GAF was ready and that both Damien and Felix were looking their best.  It was then I published GAF in February 2013.



So that's Gambling a Fairytale, a book that improved my writing in a remarkable way. I learnt to stick with it and write and carry on regardless. I must've taught myself something because it's never taken me as long to write a book than it took to write GAF. GAF was a lesson I had to learn and I realised, even more, how much I wanted to be an author.

Next week's the exciting one. Chancing the Truth (still coming soon Autumn 2014)


Molly Looby
Author of the Immorality of Immortality trilogy

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Immorality of Immortality: Playing with Reality

So last week I introduced you to my appalling website for the Immorality of Immortality trilogy. If you want to read last week's post click here. I promised I would share with you the only thing I would miss if the website disappeared off the face of the planet: my descriptions of what it was like to write the trilogy. So I thought I'd start of with book one, Playing with Reality which you can now get for your kindle for 77p! Yay! 

If you want a taster, the first three chapters are on Movellas.

Before we go into it be prepared, I wrote the A Lot of Background section when I was sixteen and when I read it over I was shocked to find how juvenile it sounded. I hope you enjoy my enthusiasm and peppiness. 



“Life’s Just a Horror Story”

“A week ago I’d been an average girl.
I hadn’t realised that life could change so quickly, without warning.

And now what?
What do I do next?

My life was turning upside down around me and I couldn’t even explain why.  I was lost in my own body, my own mind.  What was I supposed to do?

And with the thirst growing stronger and more irresistible by the day, life – or should I say ‘death’ – was becoming a nightmare.”

Through Felix’s eyes, Playing with Reality opens your own to discover how wonderful and frightening life can be.

A Lot of Background

'Playing with Reality' was an exploration into what vampires should really be like.  I, personally, though I loved Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’*, didn’t think her vampire anatomy made sense.  I mean, glittering?  Why?  So I sat myself down and really thought about it.  I created my favourite spider diagram which still to this day has everything that makes my vampires what they are, including hearts beating, sunlight, blood, strength, immortality – all of that and more.

*I was young. Sorry for the Twilight love, don't be distracted. I mean, it doesn't matter what made me write, right? The point is it did make me write. Please read on :) 

So then all I needed was a start, that’s where Felix comes in.  You hear authors say this all the time, but she really did just walk right on into my head, just like that.  She was shortly followed by her sister April and an unnamed vampire who attacks her – who became Elektra.

With all of them safely walking around in my head – yes that’s what it’s like – I began to write and the story came out as though I wasn’t the author, but just the writer.  It was Felix’s story and it was as though she was telling me what happened and I just wrote it down.

I should mention at this point that various characters in PWR are named after my cousins:
Jake – Jacob James Taylor (April’s boyfriend) is named after both my cousin Jacob and my brother James.
Lottie – Charlotte Emmy Ford (A Senate Follower) is named after my twin cousins Charlotte and Emmy.
Emmie – (Evie’s youngest sister) is named after the same Emmy as above to make up for the fact that she was only a middle name.

Now here’s the weird part.  My Auntie had a baby girl and named her Evie, having no idea I’d used that name as one of Felix’s best friends.  So now I had only one cousin I’d missed out, poor Libby.

So then waltzed into my head was the amazing Libby and the plot (still in Sanfolk at this point) really jumped forward and then the Senate came to me.

Shortly after this, Damien and Lucas – always a pair – came knocking on the door to my head and I fell immediately in love with Damien as I hear so do women who read PWR, but not so much men.

That’s how it all happened.  As you can tell, PWR is a character driven novel, not a plot one.  The characters come into my head holding part of the plot in their hands like a gift.  It’s magical, I can assure you of that.

At the very end of December 2011, I published PWR with AuthorHouse and let Felix loose on the world!



So there you have it. That's what it was like to write such an ambitious novel with so little writing experience. If I, like my vampires, only had to sleep for three hours a day, I would definitely go back and re-write PWR. It's a story I love and hold so close to my heart I just want to make it perfect. I was such a new writer when I wrote it that it actually astounds me. I had no idea while I was writing this that it was going to steal every corner of my heart.

Tune in next week for book two, Gambling a Fairytale.

Molly Looby
Author of the Immorality of Immortality trilogy

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Immorality of Immortality: The Blog Posts

As a mere mortal when it comes to technology, I've reached my limit with what I can achieve with my website. It was extremely stressful to make and it's infuriating that I don't think anyone's ever visited it.

Here's the link if you were wondering: http://theimmoralityofimmortalitytrilogy.yolasite.com/

And here's a little screen shot for you to enjoy.



It's so much easier for me to just run my Facebook page instead of the website because I know what I'm doing with Facebook.
Again, here's a link to the Immorality of Immortality Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1cpMwEc

I don't mind that much because the website doesn't really have much to offer anyone apart from my descriptions of each book in the trilogy and what it was like to write them. I was reading them a few weeks ago and it really is a shame that no one's really read them. I mean, I'd completely forgotten they existed so how would anyone else know?

They're actually really interesting, as hilarious as that is coming from me. But I really can't remember writing Playing with Reality as well as myself in the past can, so it's brilliant that I spent the time to write it down, if only for me to wonder at it a couple of years later.

So, editing them a bit and cutting out the spoilers I seemed to have written in for Chancing the Truth for some reason, I have decided to share them with you on here where, let's face it, not many people come, but it's more than my website by a long shot.

I hope you enjoy the next few weeks of stepping into my writing process and hearing all about what it was like to write a trilogy before the age of eighteen.

Molly Looby
Author of the Immorality of Immortality Trilogy


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Shadows - Paula Weston

Blurb

It's been almost a year since the car crash that killed Gaby's twin brother.

Across a crowded bar Gaby sees the man of her dreams, literally. Rafa not only looks exactly like the guy who's been appearing in her dreams, he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense.

Now Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself is just a shadow of the truth - and the truth is more likely to be found in her nightmares.


My Review

Shadows was just what I was looking for. It is a typical teen fiction book that I just fell all over. Realistic, funny characters, a serious plot that's complicated but I can still follow it and a kick-ass protagonist who I fell in love with at once. And to top it all off a supernatural element. Yes please.

First of all, while I was looking through my bookshelf deciding what to read next, my plan was to just read the blurb and the first paragraph. Then based on that I was going to decide which sounded the most exciting and read that. However, I picked up Shadows and the first paragraph wasn't enough. I sat and read the whole first chapter and decided all my other books could wait.

This didn't really change the whole way through the book. I could hardly put the thing down. I read chapter after chapter after chapter, having no desire whatsoever to put it down. It was just so easy to read and so difficult to only read the one chapter. Every character, every line of dialogue, every action intrigued me. I just couldn't get enough of Gaby, who I fell in love with instantly. She was so real and relatable and not at all annoying in any shape or form.

Shadows was a total joy to read. I just connected with this book entirely and had a blast! I hadn't realised how much I missed reading books written in the first person present tense and I think that made the whole thing even more enjoyable. I can't remember the last book I read that was written in this way, and it's one of my favourite styles too!

The only possible thing I have to say about Shadows that is negative is that if you put it down for too long - I put it down for a week while I spent time with my cousins - once you come back to it, there seems to be too many characters and too much gong on that you don't know about. Gaby spends the majority of the book having no idea what's going on or why for most things. This is fine up until you take a break and then have no idea what to think when you come back. I even had to backtrack to remember who some people were and I hate doing that. But even so, I couldn't stop reading.


Evaluation

I give this book an overall 9/10.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was brilliant and I enjoyed every page.

Would I look up the author? Yes. I'm definitely going to read the other books in the series!


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Anthology 2013 - Chelmsford Writers

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

This anthology was put together by the people of Chelmsford Writers' Group, the writing group I belong to. We put it together for Christmas 2013 and it's taken me this long to read it! It's filled with short stories and poems about varying different things. Although for some reason, most of them are very dark.



My Review

It's not fair for me to write a proper review as each story and poem is different. Not to mention that I don't know a thing about poetry and that I myself am a stranger to short story writing as a craft.

But if you want something that's easy to pick up for a few minutes and put down again, this is the book for you. Because there are so many different stories and poems, if you're busy you can just pick it up, read a poem and put it down again in a very non-committing kind of way that I think we need sometimes in a book.

I read it in one day, almost in one sitting. It's great if you have an afternoon or evening you don't know what to do with.

I must mention my favourites because I think it would be rude not to:

Cuck00 - Jerry Beckett
Elizabeth - Paul Ebbs
Through the Looking Glass - Jane Bowers
Old Pals - Raymond Wallace
The Knowing - Dot Gumbi


Would I recommend it? Yes! Of course I would! Support us! I have a story in it as well and if anyone's interested. My entry is called Life's a Game and is very dark indeed.

It's on Amazon for only £4.99

I look forward to next year's! Though I don't have a clue what I'm going to put in . . .


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com