Monday, 16 October 2017

NaNo 2017, Here I Come!

First, let me start off with an apology. I'm so sorry I haven't been posting as regularly as I did at the beginning of the year and have been doing for the past few years. I'm so busy at the moment (which is amazing!) which means I don't have many books to review or anything much to report other than I'm keeping busy.

However, November is coming, and you can expect my weekly reports on how it's going.

And yes, I couldn't be more excited!

Business as normal then.

For those of you who don't know, National Novel Writing Month - or NaNoWriMo - is a challenge hundreds of thousands of writers set themselves every November. Namely, writing 50,000 between the 1st and the 30th of November. That's 1,667 words a day! And it is insane! (Find out more here)

I like a challenge, and NaNo is the perfect stretch of my ability.

This year will be my 7th NaNo, and I'm not about to break my winner's streak (6 years!)

This year is going to be extra exciting because I'm going to write the sequel to ZA, currently untitled because I really have left myself nowhere to go with a title!

I advise all you writers out there to give it a go. It may sound mental - and it is - but it's so much fun, and you meet so many amazing writers just like yourself. My username on is MollyLooby, and if you want to join this crazy race, feel free to add me as a buddy. I love to watch other WriMo's progress.

So, do you dare...?

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Friday, 1 September 2017

Stay #ZAReady

You've waited. You've wondered. You've pestered me.

And now it's happening.

I can now reveal that a sequel to ZA is in the works!

Thank you to each and every one of my survivors. You guys are amazing, and I wanted you to be the first to 'officially' know about the (currently without a title) sequel!

I couldn't be more thrilled with the response ZA has received, and it's getting me even more excited for the next instalment. There'll be familiar faces you know and love as well as some new survivors I hope you fall in love with too. And I can't wait for you to meet them!

Thank you for supporting ZA and allowing me to do what I love.

Stay #ZAReady


Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 31 July 2017

Write! Writing Software

I'm one of those writers who writes on Microsoft Word out of pure laziness. I've seen lots of different pieces of writing software online but haven't been brave enough to break out of my miserable Word bubble. After all, I can't remember not knowing how to work Word. The idea of learning new software is always going to be daunting.

I was kicked out of my lazy cycle when I was lucky enough to receive an email from the lovely people at Write! which propelled me to check out their software. And I'm here to spread the joy.

Let me tell you, there are better choices out there than Word! I think most writers will agree with me.

The first thing I loved about Write! was that I could write on my Microsoft laptop or my Mac, and the document would be sitting ready and waiting on both of my devices. This means I won't have to remember which one I last used. I know this isn't a problem for a lot of people, but it's an issue I've had for over a year now. When you have a tiny laptop for travel and a bigger one for your desktop, you have to remember where everything lives. Write! has taken care of that for me. I can be writing on the go, come home, sit at my desk, and carry on without having to send things to myself or get the memory stick out. This was a huge plus for me.

Write! also does everything I could want it to do. All the usual text options are there, meaning it's easy enough to separate my work into chapters. It's also much easier to find chapters, unlike in Word. I won't waste any more time scrolling through my documents unnecessarily.

Another great feature is being able to export the document into PDF straight from Write! without having to go to a PDF converter like I usually do. Already, Write! is saving me time, which in turn gives me more time to write. You can also convert into Word if once you've finished with the document you're more comfortable looking at it in a Word format. This means you can do the transition into Write! in stages. You can also convert to plain text, which is useful when you come to typesetting.

What I've seen of Write!, I absolutely love. I can't wait to truly test it out during NaNoWriMo. After all, NaNo is the ultimate test. But so far, I'm a total convert!

First blogged on my website:

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Friday, 14 July 2017

Top 25 YA Books/Series for I Read YA Week!


It's that time again! Happy I read YA week! The blog I wrote for I read YA week last year is fitting this year as the theme is #YAStandsFor, and my blog was all about Why #IReadYA. The year before that, I listed ten YA books that people should be reading.

Now I'm going one step further. I'm going to list my top twenty-five YA stand-alone books and series. Every book/series on this list should be added to your TBR list immediately! They are phenomenal!

(In case you were wondering, they're alphabetical by author.)

  1. The Reapers are the Angels - Alden Bell
  2. Anna Dressed in Blood duology - Kendare Blake
  3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
  4. The Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins
  5. Before I Die - Jenny Downham
  6. Just One Day - Gayle Forman
  7. Gone series - Michael Grant
  8. Paper Towns - John Green
  9. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
  10. Unearthly trilogy - Cynthia Hand
  11. Lorien Legacies series - Pittacus Lore
  12. Warm Bodies series (including the prequel) - Isaac Marion
  13. Chaos Walking trilogy - Patrick Ness
  14. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
  15. Divergent trilogy - Veronica Roth
  16. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
  17. Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan
  18. The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy - Carrie Ryan
  19. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series - Maggie Stiefvater
  20. I am Not a Serial Killer series - Dan Wells
  21. Rephaim series - Paula Weston
  22. The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson
  23. 5th Wave trilogy - Rick Yancey
  24. Dustlands trilogy - Moira Young
  25. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Now I'm not saying these are the top twenty-five ever; they're just my current top twenty-five. I know for a fact there are a few books on my TBR list that'll make it onto this list. That's one of the great things about YA. When you think it can't get any better, a book comes along that blows you apart, breaking you and fixing you all at once.

And that's why I read YA.

If there's a book that made you feel this way that I don't have on my list, please let me know! I live for that kind of YA!

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 3 July 2017

Book Reviews: January-June

Here are all the reviews I wrote during the first half of the year. I read more than this, but I'm changing how often I write reviews. I'm no longer going to review every book I read.

The Road to Ever After - Moira Young  (Movellas)

The Trees and Other Stories - Thomas Emson (Fangs, Claws, and Wings)
Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan (Movellas)
Angel - L.A. Weatherly (Movellas)
The Fate of Ten - Pittacus Lore (Fangs, Claws, and Wings)
The Burning World - Isaac Marion (Movellas)
The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson (Movellas)
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater (Movellas)
United as One - Pittacus Lore (Fangs, Claws, and Wings)
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (Movellas)

My five top reads for the beginning of 2017:

Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan
United as One - Pittacus Lore
The Burning World - Isaac Marion
The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

Any books you really loved that I need to read? Comment, and I'll add them to my TBR list!

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 12 June 2017

United as One - Pittacus Lore

United as One is the seventh and final book in the Lorien Legacies series. I implore you to go and read them! They start with I am Number Four.

There's always a huge sense of dread when you pick up the final book in a series. It could be incredible and everything you wished for. Or maybe it's not going to live up to all the hype you've got inside you ready to burst. It's always tough picking up that last book. When I looked at the beautiful hardback edition of United as One, it filled me with this exact feeling of dread, as well as excitement to pick it up, and sadness that it was almost over.

But whoa, what a ride.

From the beginning, I felt this big weight of tension. It's all come down to this, and I was a little terrified. No, little is an understatement. After each of the first few chapters, I had to stop and steel myself for the next one. I couldn't be any more invested. I was fully involved and ensnared by this universe.

The whole thing is tense from start to finish. I thought the previous book (The Fate of Ten) was hard to put down, but this was on another level. This time, there weren't as many places to breathe. I read a lot of it with my hand covering half the page so I couldn't read ahead. I just don't have the words to describe this level of tension. It was crushing. I was gripping the book tight, my heart pounding, face getting closer and closer to the page.

Lore made it painfully obvious that none of the characters were safe, and that put me on edge even more. I knew that if I read on, people were going to die. Usually, you can name at least one character that you know will survive until the end. Not in United as One. Anyone could go at any time. And that was petrifying.

And yep, there were tears. Oh yep.

What a mad roller-coaster it was. I finished the whole thing in under 48 hours. A sense of horrible loss swallowed me up when I turned the final page but also satisfaction as, at last, everything was tied up.

All I can say is bravo, Lore. Bravo.

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 5 June 2017

My Awesome Zombie Awareness Month

Zombie Run 2012
So Zombie Awareness Month has come to an end for another year. This year I managed to get a lot of zombie-related stuff done during ZAM, so I thought it deserved sharing.

Of course, to start off, I shared some of my favourite ZA quotes on this very blog.

I had fun with my throwback Thursdays too, posting a picture of the Zombie Run I went on in 2012, the amazing event I had at the Chicken and Frog bookshop for ZA last year, as well as my ZA book signing at Waterstones!

I also reminded all of you that I wrote a blog about my top five zombie books, films, and games on Movellas. (You can read it here.)

YA Book Club 2017
The best part of this year's Zombie Awareness Month was being Waterstones's YA book club book for May! And what a perfect time for it! I was asked along, and it was an amazing experience. It was so great to talk to people who know all the spoilers ZA has to offer. Usually, I have to be careful with what I give away, but it was so freeing to be able to discuss any part of the book! It was also fascinating to find out what they thought of each character. Of course, Gemma was the clear favourite (I was in no doubt). It was also great that for most of them, ZA was their first zombie book. I'm sure I've opened up a door for them to discover some truly amazing zombie books!

Chicken and Frog 2016
The next most exciting thing was my Zombies, Run discovery. Zombies, Run is a fitness app I suppose. You go out running or walking, and you get the story in your headphones while you're out. As you go, you pick up bits and pieces of equipment that when you finish the mission go back to your camp. But the absolute best thing is the zombie chases. At random intervals (or as part of the plot), zombies will chase you and you have to pick up your pace to survive. I've never enjoyed running until now, and I'm finding myself dying to go out again!

And of course, I wore my Zombie Awareness Month bracelet and explained to people who asked what that was!

Until next year, survivors. Speaking of which, you can join my ZA survivors here. Stay ZA ready!

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 22 May 2017

Voices of YA Tag!

I'm thrilled to have been tagged by bravrayj/Janine in the wonderful Voices of YA Tag which was created by Caitlin Lambert!

Here are my answers to the questions, some of which I found really tricky to answer!


What draws you to YA?
YA is my passion. I don't enjoy any other genre as much as I enjoy YA. YA is more exciting and breathtaking and beautiful if you ask me. Everything is so raw and real, and I love that. Plus, in YA there's no fear. You can say whatever you want about whatever you feel and it's okay. That's what's great about being a teenager. You're still working the world out, and no one can tell you what to think or believe. I love that. 

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?
I tend to have an outline of some kind. I tend to do a lot of background digging of my characters, but with the plot it really depends. Sometimes I know how we get from one thing to the next. Sometimes all I know is how it ends. The only thing that's certain though is that I don't know everything. If I ever plot out every little detail, I won't get past chapter five because I'll be bored. I have to be surprised too!

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?
I have been writing for almost eight years now! Last year I released my latest novel, ZA, which you can get on Amazon! If all goes to plan, my next book should be out next year.

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?
Tea. Many, many mugs of it. Everything else depends on what mood I'm in. But I'm always in need of a cup of tea. I also tend to need my latest notebook by my side. I hate having to leave question marks in the manuscript until I can check my notebook!

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (other than "don't give up"), what would it be?
Gosh, this is a hard one. I suppose the best piece of advice I have is to write for yourself in the first instance (or for your best friend). Don't think about if anyone will like it. Don't think about if it's any good. The first job you have to do is enjoy it. You can tell if the author hated writing the book, so enjoy it. Everything else can get fixed in editing! Write because you love it and for no other reason.


What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)
I can't actually think of one that I'm still thinking about. I need new plot twists in my life!

What books are you most anticipating for this year?
The Undercurrent by Paula Weston. I love her stuff.
Release by Patrick Ness is also waiting on my shelf. I'm very excited about starting that!

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?
More Than This by Patrick Ness is the only book I can think of that was truly unique. I've never read a book with that premise before or since! Go check it out if you haven't read it!

What is your all-time favourite quote from YA lit (I know, I'm cruel)?
This is so hard, but I suppose if I have to pick one right here right now...
"I am not humanity." - The Last Star - Rick Yancey
It doesn't sound as mind-blowing without the context, but when I was reading The Last Star, it knocked my socks off.

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I think it might be in talks at the moment. It would be the most amazing film ever if done right. I love Carrie Ryan, especially The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy, and it would fit a film so well!

I tag India Taylor  and Raimey Gallant

Here are the rules!
  1. Thank the person who tagged you
  2. Link to the original creator
  3. Answer the ten questions
  4. Tag at LEAST TWO other YA writers/bloggers

Thanks again for my tag! 

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 15 May 2017

Let's Be Productive!

Happy Work Wise Week! As this is the week to work better and wiser, QuickBooks is sharing tips on productivity. So I thought I would take this opportunity to share my best productivity tips for writers. After all, we writers are sometimes more productive than we ever thought we could be, and other times we sit and stare at a blank screen.

So here are my top five tips to stay productive and stay writing!

1. Write Every Day
I'm sure you've heard this before; most writers say it a lot. That's because it's really important. Writing is like a muscle; it must be exercised. You wouldn't expect to be able to run a marathon without training. You wouldn't expect to be great at a sport you haven't played since you were six. And writing (and creativity) is like that. It doesn't matter what you write or to what standard, but writing something makes all the difference. If you write every day, it makes it easier to write every day, and before you know it, your word count will be growing, and you'll be that productive author you always wanted to be!

2. Set Aside Time To Write
Never underestimate the power of a routine. If you set yourself an hour each day and stick to it, you'll find it'll get easier and easier. We humans love a routine, so it makes sense to make writing part of your normal life. If writing is something you do each day, you'll get better (and faster) at it. This will only work if you keep to it and make sure you spend your hour (or however long) actually writing. Don't let anyone or anything get in the way - that includes your inner editor. This time is for writing ONLY, so write on!

3. Turn Off The Internet
This is the first thing I do if I find myself dawdling to start a chapter or continue on with yesterday's work. The distraction of the internet is too huge and has too many possibilities, so it has to go. Block the Wi-Fi on your computer during your writing time, and if you have to look something up, leave a mark in the manuscript and come back to it. I'm not saying the internet is your only distraction, but it is the biggest. And it doesn't hurt to put your mobile phone out of reach.

4. Set Daily Goals And Stick To Them
Just as important as writing every day is having a word count to reach. Don't panic, you can start small. If you have a word count to reach, you're more likely to write more in an effort to reach it. Otherwise, you might just sit there for your hour and then move onto something else, satisfied. I don't know about you, but if I haven't reached a certain amount of words, I am not satisfied. Once this becomes a habit, you'll find yourself going over the word count in a flash and not quite believing your eyes.

5. Get Help From Your Friends
There are all sorts of different people who can help you stick to your writing. Friends and cheerleaders are amazing because they keep asking for more work, and that gives you the added pressure to keep writing as you've got people you don't want to disappoint. But an underrated helper is the friendly rival. I wrote a novel in less than twenty days once because I wanted to beat my friend to it. Neither of us expected to finish so fast, and we were both flabbergasted by the results. Sometimes to be at your most productive, you have to initiate a 'word war'. I've always considered myself a prolific, productive writer, but never has that been as true as when I took part in my first 'word war'. I encourage all of you to try it at least once. You'll be amazed with the outcome!

Of course, some days are easier than others, and that's a fact of life, but I hope these tips can help you power through the hard days and write like the wind through the good ones.

Happy Work Wise Week, everyone!

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Fate of Ten - Pittacus Lore

The Fate of Ten is book six in the Lorien Legacies series. Go read books one to five! The series starts with I am Number Four.

So, the weird thing about these books is that I put one down, dying for the next one, and then it takes me ages to pick it up. But once I do, I'm in, and it's over in a matter of days. Hours really, but I had to sleep and work and stuff.

Once again, I was blown away by the most intense, action-packed instalment yet. I have no idea what can possibly top this one, but I guess I'll find out soon.

It's really hard to review this as it was mostly action sequences, and Lore is a master at them. The brief periods without fighting were great too. I just love all these characters and how they interact with one another. I'm totally in love with the series, as you'd imagine. I've poured many many hours into these books at this point. And I regret nothing.

I read the first 100 pages in one go. That's how intense it is. I could hardly put it down. I didn't want to stop reading.

It's great to sink into a series and know what's going on. I thought I'd struggle to keep up, but Lore did a great job of reminding me of what I'd forgotten.

And there's nothing else worth mentioning other than I loved every word, couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and immediately grabbed for the next and final book, United as One, when I was done.

There aren't even words to describe how much I loved and devoured this book. It was just amazing. Gah!

The Fate of Ten was gripping, intense, emotional, and explosive. It was awesome!

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Get ZA Ready This Zombie Awareness Month!

It's Zombie Awareness Month again! And that means that on the 13th May, ZA has been out for a whole year! Where did that year go? It's been such an amazing ride for me and ZA, and I'm so thrilled by the responses it's getting. And I'm glad you're all getting ZA ready.

I though this Zombie Awareness Month would be a great time to share some ZA quotes and remind you that you can read the first three chapters for free on Movellas, buy it on Amazon, leave me a review on Goodreads, like ZA's Facebook page, and join my awesome band of survivors!

Enjoy three of my favourite quotes! 

Are you ZA ready?

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Trees and Other Stories - Thomas Emson

My plan when I opened up The Trees was to read one story a day. Well, that didn't work out. I read the whole thing in one go. Yep. I loved every page.

I read Zombie Britannica a few years ago, so I had pretty high expectations for The Trees even though it's a book of short stories. But Emson didn't disappoint.

Each story is so different but still managed to drag dread and fear out of me. Each one either scared me or disturbed me, and that's exactly what I wanted. Emson is the master of atmosphere and each one was intense and gripping. I had to cover the words with my hand to stop reading ahead.

My two favourite stories were the first one and the last one. The first story, The Trees, jumped straight in, letting us know what was going on through dialogue, my favourite way. Emson has the perfect balance between description and dialogue too which made it so hard to stop reading. The Trees was so incredible because it worked on so many layers of fear. It plays with so many basic human fears: being trapped, being lost, darkness, death, danger. It was so chilling. I was so engrossed. Being terrified by a book is one thing, but being terrified by a short story is something else. Wow.

My other favourite was the final story, Where Moth and Rust Destory, which was a small sequel to Zombie Britannica. Zombie Britannica was a masterpiece in zombie fiction if you ask me, and I devoured it a few years ago. Some of the scenes will never leave me, and I still think about bits and pieces of it today. It was great to catch up with one of the characters and find out what was going on in zombie Britain, or Zombie Britannica. But not only that, the story was paced just right, and like all the others, I didn't want it to end. It made me want a full-length Zombie Britannica sequel!

In short, I loved every page. Thank you, Thomas Emson, for letting me fall into some very creepy realities for a few hours. I hadn't realised how much I'd needed to!

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 3 April 2017

My Writing Tips Blogs

I'm afraid we've come to the end of my writing tips blogs. I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

I thought it would be useful to list them all in one place for easy access as they've been spread across weeks and months. Feel free to read the ones you've missed or re-read the old ones!


If you have any ideas for any other writing tips blogs, let me know!

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 27 March 2017

KEPOW! Action Sequences and Taming Them


Do I have your attention?

Action is something that's becoming more and more important in all genres. You could argue that action is less important in some genres, but I don't think that's true. I think it might just look different. There should always be some kind of tension and action. Whether that action comes in the form of some kind of fistfight really depends where your story is going.

One of the most important things to think about with action is whether or not your reader can follow. You can ask a close friend to help you with this. Sometimes action sequences are so fast that the reader can't keep up and doesn't know who's doing what. If your action sequences are complicated, you need to make them as clear as possible so the reader knows what's going on. Otherwise, they might skim past it and all your hard work will go to waste.

Another thing you have to remember is emotion. There are so many cold, hard, action-packed scenes out there, but with emotion, they become a hundred times stronger. You need to include this in the build-up as well as in the action itself. The reader wants to know what your protagonist is feeling. Are they petrified, over-confident, taken by surprise? We need to live it with them. Too much description will feel dry but don't get too distracted by your characters' emotions or it could slow everything down. It really is about finding the perfect balance and the flow of the scene.

The hardest thing I find with action is scaring myself before I've even got there. How can you improve unless you dive right in? I suggest just going for it. If it's terrible, you can rebuild in editing; that's what it's there for. But you need to write it. And trust me, you can do it. I believe in you. Stephen King said 'the scariest moment is always just before you start', and that is true more than ever with action. But you should write what scares you. It's the greatest way to improve.

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready