Wattpad and my current WIP

Okay, so I’ve heard a mixed bag of reviews about this Wattpad platform and how useful it is for writers to gain credibility, and more importantly, notoriety by using this site as a launching pad for their book series. I’ve decided to give it a go (despite all the warnings regarding plagiarism) and am going to be uploading chapters for my next book series Out of Vegas on my Wattpad account.

I may not leave this series up permanently free on this service but I am hopeful I can make some great connections with readers and get feedback on my chapters while they are live. Ultimately I am hoping that when and if I query for this saga I will be putting my best foot forward and be able to use the comments I collect on Wattpad as evidence for the popularity of the books. Wish me luck everyone!

P.s cover art concept for my current WIP The Unseen Forest which is a dark fantasy stand alone book. Why? Just for fun.

Cover design

P.p.s An excerpt from this WIP as well. Why? I freaking love feedback. It helps me grow as a writer and that’s the only reason I am putting myself out there on all these social media apps, so that I can hone my craft and one day make this my legit career.

The Unseen Forest

A mother’s heart-breaking journey from this world into the next.

M. A. Thomas

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As an Australian Writer I would like to pay my respects and acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land on which I gratefully work and live, and also to pay respect to the Elders both past, present and emerging, in particular the Iutruwita (Tasmanian) peoples whom I mention in this book. Where possible in my fictional novel The Unseen Forest I have endeavoured to use the traditional namesakes of the locations I’ve mentioned. And I thank the nomenclature board for recognising the dual names in signage in those regions as this is vital in preserving the states heritige.

PROLOGUE

The unslightly creature squeezed its lumpy hairless grey body beneath the colourbond fence and crept through the darkness of the yard towards the small cottage soundlessly. A thin layer of fog still clung to the air despite the threatening dawn. The window made a slight groan as two thin arms with gnarled hands forced the pane upwards and then with the tiniest creak the grotesque form slid over the sill and into the rosey hued nursery adorned with floral decals and lace dream catchers upon every wall. In the corner of the room, furthest from the window, was a crib carved from spalted myrtlewood and inside the intricately carved frame lay an unprotected human infant, fast asleep clutching her softest plush teddy tightly against her little body. A long ashen arm snaked between the rails and with a gentle tug removed the toy from her tender grasp then pulled back the sheet that lay across her tiny form. The child cringed in response to the sudden chill and her hands reached out for the comfort of her stuffed animal finding nothing but the crisp air. Within moments her lip begun to quiver as her mind begun to stir. Before the child could even so much as whimper and alert her slumbering family to her distress her kidnapper had clambered into the cot, lifted that sweet little bundle up and over the rail and swiftly exited through the open window, returning to the dark forest that loomed beyond the well-groomed yard. The little girl, now awake, stared quietly at the strange being that had hold of her, she felt no fear at being in the arms of this strange, somewhat humanoid thing.

“Back to sleep now little one.” A raspy voice whispered, gently stroking the bridge between her bright shimmering brown eyes.

“Gaap will keep you safe on your journey home” and the Imp stepped through the softly shimmering fork of a tree, still clutching little Claudia Douglas in his arms tightly as she was lost to this world.

CHAPTER ONE

My mother told me endless bedtime stories, when I was still young enough to fit in her lap and snuggle soundly in her warm arms. Often sleeping in her loving embrace safely through the night. What she never told me was that all her tales of magic and tragedy were real.

Those beautifully crafted fables she burned into my mind from such a tender age were not in fact sweet little fantasies to delight my youthful imagination but her own experiences with the magical creatures with whom we occasionally share our world.

That other realm she had spoken of so animatedly as I listened enraptured upon her knee began to bleed through into every facet of my life shortly after I turned twenty-four, starting with the abduction of my youngest son, George.

I almost walked right over Ainsley as I emerged through the woods into an open clearing, still distractedly calling out for George.

“Have you seen my two-year-old?” I asked her, offering a hand to help her stand. She’d clearly been enjoying an afternoon siesta between herding sheep.

“No, and I’ve been here a while.” she answered with a smirk as she dusted off her jeans.

“He’s clearly good at hiding.” I smiled back at her before looking back to make sure my other child emerged through the trees to join us.

“I’ll help you look too then.” She suggested and before I could waive off her offer she was already walking back towards the highway calling his name.

“We’ll take the fence line back Linky,” I told my eldest son in the cheeriest voice I could manage. “he must be in the toilet block there and we missed him.”

He wasn’t.

Ainsley arrived still calling out Georges name and as she took in my crestfallen face she stopped dead.

I took out my phone and called 000.

How long had I already been searching? Why didn’t I call the police before now? I knew the answer to that. I didn’t want to talk to Shaun. That didn’t matter now though. I have to find my son.

“What do you mean he’s missing!” my husband screamed at me through the phone. Loud enough that the police officer standing on the other side of his vehicle could hear and I noticed his body shift away uncomfortably. I squeezed Lincoln, my eldest sons hand a little tighter as I repeated again the details of Georges disappearance.

“We went to the park and we were playing hide and seek together on the play ground, I could hear him giggling from behind the big oak tree so I pretended to look for him for a bit first and then when I finally checked behind the tree he just wasn’t there. I called out for him but he didn’t answer. No one else is here, it’s just us, we’ve walked through the whole park now and haven’t found him anywhere. I called Shaun at the station to come out.”

“I’ll be right there.” and Thomas hung up on me. I pocketed my mobile and looked my ten year old square in the eyes.

“Link, stay here with Shaun, I’m going to go through the park again and make sure George isn’t hiding anywhere.”

“Yep.” and he headed around to the other side of the Hilux where Shaun stood quietly, our eyes met and I felt my face burn with shame as it did every time I was in his presence.

“Can you call my mum and get her here for Link?” I asked him. No need to give him her number, I knew he’d have it. He nodded and I took off to find my wayward toddler.

How far could a two year old go? I checked inside the slide, calling his name, behind the tree where I was sure he’d be, just standing there, smiling proudly and looking at me to praise his excellent hiding skills. Nothing but dirt and leaves. Not even an imprint of his shoes on the ground to indicate he’d ever hidden there at all. I called his name all through the park, attracting the attention of more than a few farmers who upon realising the severity of my plight joined me in searching the grounds. I called the Myrtle Creek Camping Office again hoping desperately he’d been picked up by some well-meaning tourist and this horrible afternoon would mercifully end. He hadn’t been brought in but both the caretakers are heading to the park to help the search effort now as well.

There was sixteen extra bodies standing beside Link and Shaun by the time I had looped back to them, I saw the look of hope on my first born sons face fall when he saw me returning without his baby brother safely in my arms. I couldn’t bear it and I avoided his eyes as I searched the group for the only other faces that mattered to me now. Neither my husband or my mother were among the people who had arrived. I refused to let the tears overcome me and I grabbed out my phone and dialled the only other resource I hadn’t yet made contact with in my efforts to locate George.

“Mount Arthur Rangers Department, this is Travis.” He answered on the first ring.

“Are you in town?” I asked, not bothering with any polite formalities.

“Yes.”

“Can you drive through the Rivulet park grounds, look out for my two year old as you go.” I told him and I hung up. I don’t think George could have made it over to there without assistance, but It’s been an hour since I last had eyes on my son and if there was any chance he’d made it to the creek I needed someone to be looking there.

“What do you need us doing?” Clare asked and both she and her son Evan looked at me expectantly.

“I haven’t walked up towards the church yet.” and she headed off with her boy, each taking a separate path towards the All Souls Anglican Centre.

“I’ve got the volunteer brigade headed out to Hill road.” Shaun told me, breaking my gaze away from my best friends retreating form.

“Kay.” I replied, unable to meet his eyes. The piercing knife in my heart was going to overwhelm me and I’d be of no use to George if I let it. I knew this.

“The staff from the Nunamara station are coming up now as well, I called them to look as soon as Jake got off with you at dispatch.” I could only nod. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe. I felt Links hand worm its way back inside my own before I had steadied myself.

“We haven’t checked the bus stop yet.” came his raw choked voice as I wrapped him in a hug.

“We’ll make our way there over now.” I heard a young man declare, I think it was a Holders boy who spoke. Craig or Jeffrey.

“He was just behind the tree.” I said as the tears begun to fall, they erupted as soon as I saw Thomas’ car arrive.

“We’ll find him.” Shaun told me, I felt his hand cup my shoulder and I stiffened involuntarily. Not because it felt wrong, but because it had been so long since he had touched me I was shocked by the sensation. He removed his hand quickly.

“You haven’t got him.” Thomas yelled questioningly across the growing crowd. It had doubled in size since my last head count, even with the groups that had set off calling for George as they went.

“I asked Travis to drive to the creek, is my mum with you?” I asked hopefully.

“I came straight here from work.” Thomas blurted, annoyance and frustration straining his voice noticeably.

“Did you call her?” I asked Shaun, meeting his eyes for only a fraction of a second as I walked over to Thomas, Link’s hand still firmly interlocked in my own.

“She didn’t pick up, I’ll keep trying.”

“Get out there and look for my son.” Thomas boomed and a stunned silence came over the gathering of neighbours who were watching the scene unfold before them.

“We are mate.” Shaun responded calmly.

“We’re not fucking mates.” Thomas yelled back as he grabbed the arm Link wasn’t holding and pulled me away from him.

“How long before you noticed him missing?”

“Not even a minute, I could hear him hiding behind the tree.”

“Where haven’t you looked?” He asked, the desperation in his features was painful to see up close like this.

” The Highway, The Forestry Trails.” I said without hesitation. We had man power combing every where else.

“He’s two he wouldn’t make it there without being seen.”

“Maybe there’s a fence down somewhere.” I offered, not sure why I was trying to send Thomas off on a wild search when I knew in my heart all to well that George couldn’t get that far alone either. I had to piggy back him just to walk down here for a play because he was complaining the walk was breaking his legs before we’d even reached the gate on our property.

“What was he wearing?” Naomi asked, interrupting our discussion, her ear pressed to her mobile.

“Uh.” I blinked and I couldn’t even remember.

“He had a red spider-man shirt on with a pair of blue pants and blue and orange sneakers.” Shaun told her and she relayed that information back to whoever was on the line. He was right, that was what George had on this afternoon. He’d started the day in a white shirt but he’d spilt yogurt all over it when we had afternoon tea and I changed it. That shirt was now sitting in a bucket of cold water in the laundry sink. I didn’t have enough whites yet for a load.

“I’m going to head through the Dales property.” Thomas declared and he released my arm suddenly. I felt the blood rush back to my capillaries and my nerves erupted in a painful burn down my forearm and into my fingertips. I rolled my wrist, then clenched and released my fist a couple of times to try and get circulation back to normal. I watched as my youngest sons father collected his UHF from his ute and made his way over the road. I knew looking that way was pointless. Link was hiding beneath the slide and I was pretending to search for my sons in full view of the road and the tree line when George disappeared. No way I couldn’t have seen him.

“I know you’ve said you barely took your eyes off him, but…” Shauns voice trailed off, he couldn’t bring himself to ask if I wanted to change my story now that George still hadn’t reappeared.

“He was right there.” I repeated, feeling deflated. Was he, or did I just think I’d heard his highpitched giggles and snorts as I announced every hiding spot I could as I made my way to the tree I’d watched him duck behind. Was it even that tree?

“He wasn’t even trying to hide his laughter from us.” Lincoln answered when my silence had gone on uncomfortably long.

“I’m going to get dogs out then.” Shaun said with determination and he continued to stare at me as he retrieved his phone. I’d forgotten how deep set his eyes were. I looked away and grabbed my own phone out to dial my mother once again.

She didn’t answer me. I phoned Clare.

“You’ve found him.” Her voice answered, her heavy breaths filling the silent.

“No, and you haven’t,” the tears begun then, “either.” I finished with a sob.

“I haven’t met up with Ethan just yet.” She said and I could hear her voice growing more breathless as she sped up her pace towards the Anglican hall.

“I’ll call you if the dogs find him here.” I told her before ending the call.

“They’re on the way now.” Shaun told me and I blinked back the tears that were threatening to erupt and gave him a nod before trying my mother again.

Thomas came back from the adjacent farm with no news. No one had him seen George over there and before Thomas returned he helped Kelvin and Nora search all through the machinery shed and along the track down to the bore just to check he hadn’t got stuck in the mud somehow. The Dales wheeled a generator over with them shortly after Thomas had returned.

“Have you got anything of George’s in your truck?” I asked him.

“No,” Thomas responded through clenched teeth, “why?” he finished with less anger.

“They’re getting dogs out.”

Thomas turned on his heel without another word to me and left with a flurry of dust in his Ute.

He must have gone over 200 km a hour up the road to return as fast as he did, with Georges pillow and blanket in hand.

The Launceston K9 squad arrived not long after, Thomas held the pillow out first for them to catch a scent and they got excited fast.

All the dogs made a direct route across the play ground to the big Oak tree he’d hidden behind, just before the forest begins, and then they ran into the woods about fourteen meters from where he’d been hiding and they stopped. No one could understand it, they’d clearly picked up a scent only to lose it immediately. I realised as I stared at the forked **maple? tree** where they’d lost Georges scent that I’d run along this exact same path with Link as soon as we’d noticed George wasn’t with us in the playground. No one else had been there then. No one had came out the other side of the clearing either according to Ainsley who we’d met on my first loop through the woods in my initial, dare I admit, more casual search for George. I grabbed my phone again and tried calling my mum. Why hasn’t she returned my calls? Why hasn’t she come down here? I looked at the handlers who were leading the dogs back up the way we’d come to take another run at the search using the blanket this time. Where the hell is my son?

I made a book trailer and other ramblings

So with my book launch only three sleeps away I’ve decided to finally attempt to make a book trailer to promote the first instalment ‘Awkward Honesty.’

I used Powtoon and while I think it was easier than attempting a similar slides video in powerpoint, I’m not one hundred percent sure. All I can say was at least it was free. Once I make some actual profits from my debut novel I will engage with a legit video savvy professional on Fiverr. I am sure it’s worth it for the background music choices alone.

In case you’re interested, here is my trailer. Feel free to also subscribe to my channel while you’re laughing at my first ever attempt. I’d appreciate your love and I’ll likely reciprocate it 🙂

Awkward Honesty (The Girl Diaries Book #1)

Warning, this post isn’t for everyone.

Easter hasn’t meant much to me for a while now. I am not religious and I have to pay for my own chocolate but asides that, I just don’t see the point in celebrating a healers death with rabbits. I mean, sure, we could celebrate with ritual sacrifice… The fuzzy bunny concept is a tad nicer than that option I suppose. For me, Easter is just enjoying the long weekend I could spend camping with my kids and the smiles on their faces as they hunted for eggs. Unfortunately, this year, even that small joy, those precious hours I did have running about in the grass with my family was overthrown by discussions about Sri Lanka. I’m not alone in saying I am completely devestated by what has happened to the families there. They have suffered for decades, and finally when things seemed to be turning aroud. Boom, some zealot cuntwad does this. I’m angry. and everyone else should be too. What was the point? Who does this serve? It sure as hrck doesn’t serve any God. I am still reeling from the tragedy in NZ and now this. I have been struggling to find reasons to continue believing there is good in the world for the longest time, and this has done it for me. I am broken. I can’t continue to sit placid and allow the scum of this planet to sacrifice anyone who dares oppose thier warped beliefs. This planet is full of idiots, death and heartbreak. There are people being told they are worthless because of their gender or race. There are countries that still don’t allow freedom of speech. There are children dying because they can’t get clean water. There are families burdoned so heavily by debt that they choose to seperate rather than starve because they cant get financial aid otherwise. There are more people than ever who have lost the ability to connect in meaningful and empowering ways with thier comminities. The mental health epedemic is real and when I watch the news and I see a dying species. A world full of people who choose technology over love, who ignore the suffering of neighbours and offer solace to strangers on social media instead, who cast out or kill anyone who doesn’t share thier narrow view of sexuality and spirituality. I dont have a point to this post, but I am going to be implementing changes in my life, within my circle of influence to spread kindness and love at every opportunity. I urge everyone who reads this to do the same. Our life should be lived for others. Happiness is worth finding, sometimes it wont be yours but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile.

Wow, actual feedback from someone who isn’t a relative.

Well, here it is guys, I won a ten page snapshot critique on Twitter and this was the results.

Here are my thoughts, presented stream-of-consciousness-style while reading it.
I like this concept! You introduce the mystery/tragedy/questions right away, which is great.
I like your main character already. She has a slightly sassy voice, and I can tell she’s kind, fun, insightful, and intelligent.
Love the bit about blank pages costing more than actual words!
You have some run-on sentences here. Like this one: “No one ever does, it’s far too long, and far too Dutch.” Instead, try “No one ever does; it’s far too long and far too Dutch.” Or substitute an M-dash for the semi-colon; but you need more punctuation there than just a comma, because you’re joining two full sentences. Same issue with the sentence that begins, “But not from Jade, she is the least fake person…” You need stronger punctuation or a conjunction between “Jade” and “she.” I know it’s a teen writing in her diary, but the mechanics of the punctuation are still important to readers.
The paragraph that starts with “I tried explaining” is missing a comma after “togs.”
So right around 12:23 my interest started to dip a bit. I feel like something important needs to happen.
Right after they leave, in the paragraph that starts “In my bed,” there’s a typo– “I’m can’t fall asleep”– should be “I can’t fall asleep”– and there’s another run-on sentence.
I love her will and won’t lists! Classic.
So overall I like this! You do a great job communicating her voice as a realistic teen, with lots of specific details. Her anxiety about friends and her curiosity about the suicide are realistic as well.
This was a bit slow for me. Maybe the action picks up a bit further on. It could also be a personal preference thing, since I rarely read contemporary stuff– I’m more into fantasy/supernatural/scifi books. I think for your target audience, it’s good!
So basically, for this or future work, I’d suggested an additional edit for some grammar issues, and also maybe tightening up the narrative a bit so it flows more quickly or feels more vital and urgent. I would have loved more suspense about the suicide and its aftermath, but perhaps that comes later.
All in all, excellent work! You definitely have talent and skills!

I just have to say one more thing… I don’t think your blurb on Amazon is doing justice to the book. Phrases like “You will very likely feel highly uncomfortable” or “repressed and uncomfortable” or “truly cringe-worthy journal” are definitely going to turn people off.

May I suggest an alternative blurb as follows (or something similar):

For thirteen-year-old Rissa, life in Australia is—uncomfortable. Her body is changing, her family is morphing into a new shape, and her social circle at school is, well, non-existent.

Writing down her days in a brand-new journal proves to be the outlet Rissa needs; but she can’t help thinking about another journal—the gray notebook buried with her recently deceased classmate. What made a popular, pretty cheerleader commit suicide?

As Rissa faces the difficult twists and turns of teenage existence in Australian society, she realizes just how troubling life’s real questions can be.

Awkward Honesty is the first installment in The Girl Diaries series.

 

-Rebecca F. Kenney

Lets talk narrative practice…

Recently in my professional life I stumbled upon the most fantastic person-centred and holistic approach to addressing trauma and I can’t help but share this with you all. I know I have writers who follow me and this methodology is going to just open your hearts and minds to new potential in this industry.

The Tree of Life trauma and hardship workshops developed in Australia by the Dulwich Centre Foundation is my new go to therapeutic intervention. I have long term goals to deliver this in as many remote schools and regional cultural hubs as I possibly can and hopefully I can inspire some of you to take up the cause and also run sessions in your own regions.

Over time, I will add success stories and accounts from workers and communities in Australia who are using the Tree of Life to respond to various forms of trauma and hardship for you on my blog or over on the members page of my website www.authormathomas.com.au.

For more in-depth scholary articles relating to the evidence-based outcomes you can expect by implementing therapeutic writing as a practitioner please see the research tab on the Dulwich Centre website 

https://dulwichcentre.com.au/narrative-therapy-research/

The purpose of Tree of Life Narrative Therapy is essentially just to encourage individuals to view their problems as separate from themselves. This is achieved by engaging in respectful, non-blaming discourse regarding the story line and building blocks of the individuals life through the drawing of a tree. This process centres people as the experts in their own lives. It  assumes people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.

Below is an abstract of the process which I have copied from the learning resources on the Dulwich Centre website. If after reading through this exercise you would like to learn more about this activity you can do a free online learning course with the centre, I have included the link for you here.

https://dulwichcentre.com.au/courses/what-is-narrative-practice-a-free-course/

This exercise helps clients to cope with tragedy and move on with their life. Its aim is to highlight for clients their existing strengths, encourage an alternative storyline to a ‘problem saturated’ narrative and increase a sense of connection with family and community. The exercise involves encouraging the client to build a picture of their life through the representation of a tree. Encourage the client to build their tree from the ground up, talking along the way about each of the elements that make up their tree. You can use what you know about the client to help them as you go.

The Ground

  • The present – Where are the important places in your life now? Who are the important people in your life now? What are the important things happening now?

The Roots

  • The past – Where do you come from? Who do you come from? What are the important things in your history (whether they are good bad or other)? Who are the people, places, animals and things throughout your life that have had a significant impact on you? (e.g. historical events, family members, significant teachers or those of influence, friends, care givers, pets, books, toys, music, toys etc.)

The Trunk

  • You – your skills and knowledge, the things you can do, the qualities you possess, what makes you the person you are (e.g. serious, tolerant, kind, silly, practical joker etc.). What roles do you play in your life (e.g. sibling, son/daughter, partner, parent, artist, environmentalist). What are the acts of kindness you show others? Where did you learn these things? What was important to you about this?

The Branches

  • The future – your hopes, dreams and wishes for yourself (e.g. to have a safe and happy family, to travel, to feel calm, to not have to worry about money, to become a vet, to have new friends etc.)

The Leaves

  • The important, valued people in your life – from the past and present (e.g. family, friends, carers, teachers, other people of significant influence.)

The Fruit

  • Gifts you have received from the important, valued people in your life (e.g. safety, love, support, kindness, education, income, laughter). Why were you given these gifts? What is it about you that meant people gave you these gifts? What fruits have you given to others?

Reflection

  • By highlighting all the elements that make up the person (not just the problematic elements) you can encourage the client to share stories and support them to see alternate stories. Allow plenty of time for re-telling of the person’s story that includes the hopes, skills, and the things that are important to the person (these get lost with the trauma).
  • If using this exercise with a group, you can create a ‘forest of life’ where you display all of the trees together. You can encourage group members to offer words of encouragement and support for others.

The Storms of Life

  • There are always storms in everyone’s life. Externalise the problems in the client’s life by referring to problems as ‘storms’ or ‘bad weather’.
  • You can talk about: Whose fault is the storm? What effects do the storms have? How do we respond to storms? What can you do during a storm? This kind of externalising of the problem can help create a shift from victimisation to bringing out skills and knowledge the person has to ‘weather the storm’. Being able to do something when the storm hits can reduce the power of the storm.
  • You can also point out that it doesn’t storm all of the time. What are the times when there are no storms? What is happening then?

A tree drawing including many words and images scattered across the leaves and branches

The Girl Diaries is Here along with 10 weird hidden meanings.

When reading a book series it’s hard not to wonder why the author chose to add in a certain scene or focus on a particular moment that didn’t really propel the plot forward or perhaps describe an object or event in some weird way that was a bit. From the readers perspective, anything could have meaning, I am very guilty of assigning meaning to colours and names and character traits that are probably completely wrong, so before everyone goes too far down the rabbit hole of the hidden depths of my character development skills, or lack thereof I am going to list ten intentionally crafted hidden meanings in my book series The Girl Diaries. You’ll have to read all twelve instalments now and also read through my spin off series The Therapy Journals to find all of these. Mwhahahaha.

  1. I gave most of my characters the same names as other fictional characters from fantasy books that I have loved, and yes, some traits of the people in The Girl Diaries series are very similar to their counterparts. The problem being that my characters exist in the real world, without magic quests and heroic deeds that will redeem them of all their faults, and thus the glaring personality deficits they have aren’t as easily overlooked.
  2. My own family history includes immigrants and generations of farmers so I have written that as my MC’s back history as well. Write what you know right?
  3. All the Townships, TV shows and Music in my novel are completely fictitious. All of the literature I mention is real, and you should note them all down and go and read them also, I didn’t put those references in there to meet my word count targets, I did it as a favour, those books I cared enough to mention are all brilliant works of art, seek them out.
  4. The monologue that wraps up book three in the series is 100% unashamedly my own feelings about our existence on this giant blue and green ball. I had to rewrite it so that it would suit a fourteen year olds world view but I am sure if you re-read it often enough you can uncover a few extra years of feeling completely jaded by life.
  5. I have not ever been in a DV situation myself but I have listened to many people recount their own experiences to me over the years and when I wrote the violent forced encounters that Kacie confessed to in Book nine I was in tears, I really struggled to ever read that paragraph again, I was in two minds about including it for months, so I apologise that it has remained so raw and clunky.
  6. I started out writing actual diary entries. I wrote all twelve books that way and then when I started getting serious about publishing I did a read through of book one and it felt rushed, it was an emotionless void. Adding in real time dialogue was intended to help the young readers connect with the characters in the books and enable them to feel more empowered about their own lives and encourage them to open up to trusted adults regarding the topics portrayed in the parallel series. You will find that because of this rewrite I switch between first person POV and third person limited so much it is dizzying.
  7. I have baked every single delicious morsel I mention in this series. And I include those recipes in the book so that you can too. My series isn’t just about reading, it’s about the exploration of life and baking is such a great way to do that. Some of the other activities that the kids in this series get up to, well, those I would not recommend replicating.
  8. When you first meet Kacie in The Girl Diaries, this isn’t where The Therapy Journals saga actually begins, but try and find those two scenes from each book to compare the two girl’s different perspectives of the same moment. It was such a joy to write, it really made me excited to kick off my spin off series for that character because her voice was so powerful. Two young people, who were very different in their interests, coming from completely different upbringings and yet they form a friendship worth holding onto through everything.
  9. None of my TGD subtitles use the same first letter, not even in TTJ do I reuse a letter. This was randomly deliberate, not sure why I had to make sure they were all a different letter, possibly just so I could never write more than 26 books?
  10. When I was fifteen, not when my MC was fifteen but when I was, a girlfriend I had at the time asked me to look after her poetry books while she was overseas as an exchange student. She was worried her parents would snoop her room and jump to the conclusion she was self-harming. She was, but I was a loyal friend so I kept them for her. She never asked for them back but I have always kept them safe, even though we haven’t spoken to each other for nearly 16 years now, I will always keep them safe for her. I recently scanned them so that I could email them too her if she ever asks. I guess what I am saying is that I hope my books encourage other young people to be a safe place for their friends as well.

This is the link to my first book ‘Awkward Honesty’ which launches on May the Fourth, feel free to share it with all the new teens in your lives, I’ll have all the uncomfortable conversations with them instead of you! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KX263SX/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sout?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sout-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07KX263SX&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2