Editing Update

I’m currently doing a read through of my manuscript trying to watch out for crutch words. While drafting my manuscript I kept a list of these words, words that I tend to overuse, and going through the list I’m actually pleased with how just keeping track of them has helped me reduce them a fair amount. Now that I know what the results are for each of these words, I’ve set a minimum and maximum usage amount, followed by alternative words so that I can focus on finding appropriate substitutes. I base the usage amount of the overall word count for my manuscript.

Of course, I’m sure my editor will find other words that I may not have picked up on myself, but many of these words are ones that they pointed out with my first book, so I’m hoping to reduce them before passing my manuscript along to her.

Crutch words aside, I’ve also created a checklist outside of my draft notes on any corrections, additions or areas that I think need fluffing or cutting down. I’ve also included a list of things to keep in mind while I’m reading.

I like to do these types of full edits before I pass my manuscripts along, because I find that the cleaner my draft is, the easier time we’ll have going over it.

For this edit, I’ve been making great use of my thesaurus, and am challenging myself to step away from my comfort zones a little bit. Anything that seems off or feels like it needs to be reworked or cut, I’ve been tackling immediately. My goal is to complete this edit by the end of the day, and so far I’ve been making great progress. With that said, it’s back to work for me. I’ll be treating myself to some ice cream once I complete everything on my list.

You and Me

Lyrics I know you and me Could be More than two I know you and me Could be I don’t want to say goodbye To […]

“Fantasy based stories aren’t usually my forte – BUT BOY! Am I sure glad I took a chance on this book!”

Vermin has received another wonderful review!

Fantasy based stories aren’t usually my forte, especially ones that are part of series which are still unwritten/ released – BUT BOY! Am I sure glad I took a chance on this book!

Ardin is an amazing storyteller! Though this is her debut novel, she uses good descriptions of actions taking place, good word choices, and the story flows wonderfully. I can envision the facial reactions of each character as described.

At the beginning, I will admit, I was a bit lost with the amount of characters that were quickly introduced. I found it hard to understand who was talking but that soon passed. I came to understand that it was necessary for the storyline to progress as the characters have different storylines taking place at the same time, eventually leading to one that comes together.

I loved the fact that the back stories of most characters were hidden and revealed along the way as the story progressed. Without giving too much away, I adored slowly finding out about what happened to Roland and his family, and also the history with him and Dianna.
Roland is an interesting character; we get sneak peaks into his past as it unravels. I would say he is the main character and discovering the hidden truths with him is something I hope to continue uncovering as the series progresses.
As readers, we were given just enough information to have us hooked and wanting more. I have many questions which I hope I get answers to in books 2 and…3?

There are many cute/ adorable moments between certain characters that I LOVED reading about. Certain scenes stuck out to me and will stick with me for time to come.
I am heavily invested in ALL of these characters (minus Peter, solely because he annoys me). Each page I turned, and each chapter I finished had me begging for more!

**Ardin, if this series gets dropped, I will be outraged!**

— Author, Lindsey-Anne Pontes

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time to post reviews, and who have shared them with me! And no worries, the series won’t be dropped. I’ll be doing an announcement on book two soon, I promise!


Read More about Vermin

April Novel Update

Back in October of 2020 I wrote a post about what real life books the cast of Vermin might have on their bookshelves. It was […]

We Have Our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Vermin giveaway contest on Goodreads! We’re thrilled to announce that we have our four winners, and I personally […]

April Novel Update

Back in October of 2020 I wrote a post about what real life books the cast of Vermin might have on their bookshelves. It was probably one of my favourite posts to make. I’d love to do a version with modern books, as I tried to choose those that would’ve been published during the time the series takes place. I’ll definitely make time to go through some books and see which ones fit best with which characters.

Book two is going very well editing wise. I was hoping to get through this final bit before the end of the month, but then I realized that the month is ending like…tomorrow! It’s already May!

I’m going to make sure I tidy up these scenes, and make sure I go through and read everything over one final time before I send it off. I over edit…I know that…so I’m thankful that I have an amazing editor who can say “Okay. Enough! It’s good!”

I really need that. I wish I had an editor back when I was in school, because I constantly felt like my work was incomplete, sometimes starting over five or six times. This is why I have my 3 rounds of edits rule. After three times of looking over my work, I will pass it on to the next person.

If you’re like me and find yourself constantly needing to make sure everything is “perfect” I recommend putting a limit on yourself. I find three full edits takes me less time, and allows me to meet my deadlines. Of course, different methods work for different people, but this has definitely made things less stressful.

Please be on the lookout for another giveaway, as there will be more after book two release announcements are made. This will again be held on Goodreads, and I will of course send out reminders to everyone during the duration of the giveaway so that they have an opportunity to enter.

I’m so excited for this second book! Thank you to everyone who has read book one, for being so patient. I’ve loved hearing your thoughts on the series so far, and I love that my characters have resonated with you.

If you’re interested in character themed content, here are some posts you can check out:

Character Bookshelf

Character Interview #4 Rose

And of course, there is also character related content on TikTok @TheVerminSeries.

If you would like to listen to the first chapter of the book for free, you can check it out here on YouTube:

That aside, I’d like to wish you a lovely day. Keep reading, stay hydrated and stay tuned for my review of an upcoming young reader’s book being published by Scholastic. It is absolutely fantastic, and perfect for fans of superheroes, kid’s who love to draw…and anyone that absolutely adores fantasy.


Read More about Vermin

A Poem for Dianna on TikTok

You can read the full poem here on the blog: A Poem for Dianna.


Read More about Vermin

When Roland Met Dianna…

Want to win a signed copy of Vermin? You can enter the giveaway on Goodreads in March! The contest opens March 1st, and will run […]

My Blog Is 2 Today!

Today is my blogs 2 year anniversary, and it’s also Earth Day!

I’ve had a lot of fun using this space to talk about books, and to share updates on my personal projects.

Spring is absolutely wonderful. I love waking up to birds chirping in the morning, and feeling the suns rays coming through the blinds. It’s comforting, although sometimes it’s so peaceful I don’t want to get out of bed.

Here’s to the future! May we work together to make our world thrive, so that everyone who comes after us may enjoy waking up to singing, and sunny skies.

Momo from Peach Girl by Miwa Ueda

How to Get Free Books – Book Talk Episode 21

How does one go about getting free books?

Well, seeing as how I get free ARCs every week or so, I thought I’d share how this works, as well as giveaway contests, book fairies, and free libraries.

ARCS

Now, I’d like to start off by clarifying what an ARC is, because not everyone is aware, especially if they’re new to the world of reviews. An ARC is an Advanced Review Copy or Advanced Reader Copy. These can either be eBooks, or print proof versions of of books that are coming out in the near future. They are not final versions, and are sent out in order for books to gain reviews and generate discussion prior to their release.

I get eBook ARCs through websites such as Netgalley, and ARC Reviewers.

With Netgalley, the more reviews you share on your blog, booktok, goodreads etc…the more likely you are to be approved for the most anticipated upcoming releases. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you fill out your Netgalley profile completely, so that publishers know exactly what type of books you are looking for. I often get approved for manga review requests, because I read, and review them frequently on my blog and Goodread’s account. The same goes for children’s literature. With Netgalley, there is also a time limit for completing these books. Most ARCs expire by the books release date, or the week of, and depending on the demand, it can be hard to get approved for popular requests without prior reviews on your chosen platforms.

ARC Reviewers has a smaller selection of books available, but it is much easier to get access to new releases. Usually there are 3-5 eBooks to choose from, with a limit of 20 copies for each book. There is anything from romance, to sci-fi on the website, and it is a great way to build your review roster so that you can get approved for ARCs from larger, more competitive websites like Netgalley. ARC Reviewers also does not have a request system in place, so anyone can download an ARC. This is perfect for people starting out, as these ARCs do not expire after a specific time period, and reviewers can add these books to their reviews on Goodread’s, and other platforms to build a following.

Now onto physical ARCs. Physical ARCs have become much harder to come by in recent years, especially with the pandemic. The most common way to get them, is to work for bookstores like Indigo or Barnes & Noble. Publishers will often reach out to these stores directly when they are are looking for avid readers, to review ARCs because it helps to boost sales upon release. If employees at your local bookstore always seem to have read the latest releases, it is because publishers like Harper Collins, Penguin and Scholastic are reaching out to them with free copies of books, sometimes months in advance. By working at a bookstore, book lovers can get access to great programs, giveaways and much, much more.

This year, I became a Children’s and Middle Grade ARC Ambassador for Scholastic. As an ARC Ambassador, Scholastic sends me physical copies of books to read and review for these specific age groups. On occasion I will also receive books in other genres I enjoy, outside of young readers, such as Science Fiction. I get around 2-6 books to read every few weeks and usually these books are sent to me a few months before the actual release date, but sometimes I will get a recent release to review as well. These reviews I post here on my blog, as well as on Goodreads. I will also share my reviews with my team members, highlighting which customers I feel would enjoy reading that specific book. I always aim to add a personal touch to my reviews, especially when I connect well with a book, as I want my review to attract readers to their next favourite book.

ARC Review Etiquette

One thing to keep in mind is ARC Review Etiquette.

What do we do with DNF’d books or low ratings, if the book hasn’t hit the shelves yet?

My rule as a reviewer is, when it comes to Netgalley, send a direct message to the publisher with my concerns about an unreleased book. In these cases I will choose not to leave a public review, because I don’t feel it is fair to the author, and their team to publically slam an unreleased book. I contact them directly out of respect for the people behind the book, in hopes that any concerns I had with the book would be addressed and corrected before the final version was released. The last time I did this, was to address the descriptions of POC in a debut novel I’d gotten an ARC for. I had been extremely excited to read the book, but once the POC character’s were introduced, I noticed a lot of problematic descriptions, that I don’t believe the author or publisher even noticed as potentially harmful. Unfortunately these issues were not addressed, and the book received poor reviews and ratings. As you might notice, I’m not sharing the title of this book out of respect for the author and publisher. I’ve never posted my review either. To me, if I didn’t even finish the book (DNF) I don’t feel it is fair to post that review publically until after the marketing campaign is over. Although this book has been out for over a year now, I feel there are enough reviews on it, which address the thoughts I expressed in my direct message to the editor and publisher before the release. All I’ll say about that situation is, that there are certain tropes, stereotypes and descriptions that definitely need to be retired, and hopefully the author’s next book is a success. As a reviewer I like to be mindful and will always spend time determining whether or not a public review is necessary. If I do leave a public review, for a book I didn’t enjoy, I like to be as polite as possible. You can still be kind, while providing criticism or sharing your opinion. I don’t like chocolate ice cream, but I would never say “this is trash!” to my sister, who absolutely loves it. Just because I don’t enjoy something, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Sometimes, it just isn’t for you, which brings me to my next point: with low ratings, it is proper review etiquette to provide readers with an explanation, as it’s unhelpful to those who rely on reviews to simply see a 2 star rating, without any reasoning behind it.

Now, everything I mentioned above in terms of Review Etiquette is something that reviewers often debate when it comes to ARCs and book tours. I always reevaluate this whenever I read a book I wasn’t fond of, and try to take into consideration the people behind the book, the amount of work they did, and whether or not what I have to say is thoughtful and worth contributing to the conversation. To completely trash a book during it’s release month or even worse, on the release date is just seen as poor review etiquette, at least amongst reviewers I follow and admire. This is why at times, you’ll see videos made say, three to six months after a book releases titled, “books I DNF’d.” Everyone however, has their own approach to this, but I do encourage people to really reflect before posting a review.

Giveaways

Now onto giveaways.

How does one find book giveaways?

Well, there are many places to look. A lot of giveaways are hosted by authors, publishers, bookstores and even reviewers. I follow the newsletters of several of my favourite authors, and they will announce giveaways a couple times a year, especially for new releases or special editions of books. These can be incredibly cool, and it’s always nice to win free stuff. It’s also beneficial to follow author newsletters because closer to the holidays, they might offer neat treats to their fans. One author I follow gave away Halloween themed goodies, designed by an artist friend of theirs since their novel took place in a haunted mansion!

Author Kami Garcia recently did a giveaway on Instagram for bundles of her novels, and the DC graphic novel series she’s been writing based on the Teen Titan’s characters.

Publisher giveaways tend to be hosted on a variety of social media platforms. Sometimes they’re done in collaboration with specific booksellers, or authors. Other times, it’s just a fun campaign for bookish peeps to check out. Some publishers will also give away tote bags with book related goodies, and exclusive content. I usually see these giveaways on Instagram, but have stumbled across a handful on Goodreads and Twitter over the years. I recently saw a very cool giveaway for Heartstopper to celebrate the film adaptation!

You can also type in #giveaways or #freebooks in the search bars of your favourite social media apps to find some neat stuff, however always be sure to read the details and guidelines of these contests carefully, and make sure that the host isn’t asking for anything sketchy in return. You should never be asked to pay a fee to enter a giveaway (unless it’s a raffle to raise money), or provide information such as your credit card.

One of the best ways to constantly find giveaway’s for books is Goodreads. I’ve entered lots of giveaways through the site, and recently hosted one for Vermin. It’s very easy for people to enter, and it’s also fun to scroll through and see what books are available. All that is required is a Goodread’s account, and Goodreads will of course send you a reminder to leave a review of the book once you’ve finished it.

Book Fairies and Free Mini Libraries

Earlier in this post I mentioned book fairies. Book fairies are very special, magical beings, who leave books around in public places for people to keep and take home. They are more common in the UK, and I’ve yet to catch a book fairy in action, however when I was little one often frequented my local Starbucks. Sometimes a book fairy will leave little notes or wrap the books to keep the contents inside a surprise for the reader! I heard a rumour that Emma Watson is actually a book fairy! Shh…it’s a secret though. The main goal of a book fairy is to provide books to those who may not have access to new books, but to also spread joy and the love of ones beloved stories to others. Perhaps one day I’ll meet one? Or…maybe I’ll find out I was one all along?

Lastly, free mini libraries. There are so many of these in my neighbourhood, and they’re absolutely adorable! The purpose of these is similar to that of the book fairies. Neighbours can take a book to borrow or keep, and can also leave books inside to share with others. It always makes me happy to see what books are in these tiny libraries, and it’s a lovely way to give back to your community. For those like myself, who are avid readers and constantly running out of space, it is also a wonderful place to donate gently used books to those who might not have access. I highly recommend visiting one if you get the chance, and if you have the means to do so, perhaps donate some children’s, middle grade and teen books to mini libraries located near under funded school districts. Some new parents, and young families may also appreciate seeing baby board books, and books for early readers as well! In my neighbourhood, people always donate children’s books, and the free mini libraries are close to the park. This is great because not everyone has access to transportation, but these are within walking distance of their house.

Another thing to keep in mind is that with book fairies, and free mini libraries, reviews are not a requirement. The goal is to merely share books with fellow bibliophiles, and to spread joy. I think that once I have a place of my own, I would love to set up a free mini library…perhaps book fairies will visit me? I’d love it if they did.

How to Get Free Books – Book Talk Episode 21

I hope that through my reviews you find stories that you absolutely adore, and that this post will also lead you to other ways to not only get your hands on a free book for yourself, but also introduced you to new ways to share books with your community as well.


More Book Talk Episodes

YA Faves

As YA week comes to a close, I’ve found myself reminiscing over some of my old favourite books that I read during my teenage years. […]

We Have Our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Vermin giveaway contest on Goodreads! We’re thrilled to announce that we have our four winners, and I personally can’t wait to mail out their books.

Hosting a giveaway always seemed a bit scary to me, but I’m glad I did. I will definitely host another closer to the release of book two, so be on the lookout of that, if you’re interested.

Again, congratulations! I hope you enjoy reading Vermin, and thank you for entering the contest.

You and Me

Lyrics

I know you and me
Could be
More than two
I know you and me
Could be
I don't want to say goodbye
To you
I know you and me 
Could be

Ah (Could be)

I know you and I
Could be 
More than two
I know you and I
Could be (be, be)
I just want to be 
With you
I know you and I
Should be

I know you and I
Could be 
More than two
And I think you and I
Would make a good team
I don't want to say goodbye
To you
I want us 
To be
Don't you want to
Stay with me?

Ah, ah, ah (You and me)

You and Me

I think you and me
Should be
More than two


I wrote this song back in university. It’s one of those songs that I never wrote the lyrics out for, and recorded on my phone while alone in my room. I rerecorded it in my studio after it was built, and although I intended to release it when I released Heart and Juliet, I waited.

I initially wrote this song about someone I had been close to, while we were drifting apart. Maybe one of these days I’ll share the original rough version of the song that I recorded with my phone, although the lyrics are different and much sadder, whereas this version is a little more hopeful.

It’s my Birthday!

It’s my BIRTHDAY!

Hooray!

Sometimes I don’t feel very old…and then I feel SUPER OLD. Obviously, I’m still a youngish person, seeing as how my mom calls people my age “kids” but I pay taxes, and have life insurance and…like those were things I never had to think or care about when I was a teenager. I kind of miss not caring about my dental coverage.

Being an adult isn’t terrible. It’s not easy, but I know for a fact that I would never choose to be like 13 again. I absolutely hated being 13.

In other news, but still somewhat birthday related, today I got some really cute Vermin themed merch in the mail that I am so excited about. They’re adorable! I love them. I don’t know if my excitement is coming across as I type, but for the record my face hurts from smiling.

Speaking of books, I got another free ARC on Thursday that came with a letter from the author! I was like “WHAT? A LETTER? FOR ME?” and I read it aloud. It made me want to read the book even more. The cover is also beautiful. I’m already in love with the story, and can’t wait to share my review. I’m only on the 2nd chapter, but I already love this one character to pieces, and if anything happens to them I will cry and hug Mr. Buckwheat who, if you’ve ever seen my instagram is featured fairly often.

This is what he looks like! He’s from the show Goblin, which had a name change or something but it’s a K-Drama my sister and I were obsessed with. We have 3 of the plushies from the show. I added a bow his hair that I got from my Nana. He’s my nieces fave plushie to borrow and snuggle with when she visits me.

This month I’ve gotten a lot of great ARCs through work, so I’m totally set reading wise…although I always welcome book recommendations.

I was recently recommended the new Star Wars book series by my co-worker, and I am so excited to check them out. I haven’t read a Star Wars book since…I think it must’ve been 8th grade? I read it around the same time I was reading the Halo series books. All my buddies were super into Halo at the time, and I read the books because I didn’t have an Xbox. That…sounds so sad.

I’d like to get some work done on my manuscript before any festivities start, so I think I’ll stop my post here and get to work.