Life in progress


#tuesdayuseitinasentence – Opening a 4 star review!

I’m so glad Stephanie decided to use the word “opening” for the word of the week in the Tuesday Use It In A Sentence prompt, because it gives me an opening to write a post about my novelette, All Good Stories, again. I hope she won’t mind that I’m writing more than a sentence.  You should check out the prompt on her blog, here: It’s fun!

You’re wondering why I’m itching to write about my novelette? Let me share my exciting news with you.

I received a 4 star review on Amazon and Goodreads! The reviewer got the name of one of my main characters wrong, (his name is Xavier) but it doesn’t matter: it’s obvious she read it. And hey, she got the “X” right. 😀

Here it is, as it reads on Amazon:

All Good StoriesFun, short read for any fan of romantic comedy
by K.J. Avila

“All Good Stories is a novelette that follows the relationship between Xander and Jupiter, mostly from Xander’s point of view, but occasionally jumping to Bob – Jupiter’s new friend. Jupiter becomes friends with Bob online and this sends Xander head-first into jealousy. We get peeks at the many characters around them, too, all big personalities that stand out in the short tale. As a result of the colorful cast, shenanigans ensue.

“This is a fun, short read for any fan of romantic comedy. Xander and Jupiter have a really fun dynamic, and are by no means perfect – he’s a bit possessive and paranoid, while she’s too trusting and a little air-headed. Their flaws help flesh out the characters in a way that makes them very real despite the story’s brevity. Since it’s so short, the author doesn’t dedicate a ton of time to setting or descriptions, but that doesn’t take away from the overall story. It’s a character-driven tale that leaves you warm and fuzzy at the end.

“Overall, it’s a nice story sprinkled with humor that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy once you’re done. I’d love to see it fleshed out into a longer piece, with possibly a little more plot, but that’s just because I’d like to see these characters more. If you’re a rom-com fan, give it a try!”

I was so excited when I read this – my very first review ever!

If you’d like to give All Good Stories a read for yourself, you can pick it up by clicking the following links:
Amazon U.S.
Amazon U.K.
Amazon Canada and many other countries as well. Just ask and I’ll give you the links.
You can also pick it up on Kobo, here:

If you’ve already bought it, thank you so much. And thanks once again to Stephanie for the prompt!


Bad Reviews

About a month ago I was approached on Goodreads, completely at random, by a man (I think it’s a man – the name s/he uses is genderless) who was looking for people to give his novel away to in exchange for an honest review. I thought about it for a while. I looked up the book on Amazon and saw it already had a few good reviews, and then I accepted on the condition he wasn’t in too much of a rush. He said fine.

A couple of days ago I started reading it, but I was struggling. The story itself is so-so, but the writing is horrible. At least by my standards. Yes, I know, I’ve been at this editing thing for so long that I’ve started mentally editing every single thing I read. I’m critical to a fault. But really… the writing is bad. So I did what any decent author who doesn’t want trashy reviews of her own work would do, and I emailed the author, telling him he needed an editor. Because he said he’d just received a bad review, I suggested he pull his novel, fix it, and put it back up for sale. Along with a few examples I gave him on what he could improve, I gave him the choice that I, a) keep reading and give the best review I can, b) stop reading and forget about it, or, c) put it down and start again after he altered it.

He chose to leave it as is, and said thanks, but no thanks. Just delete it from my files.

Now here’s my dilemma: to write bad reviews for novels written by independent authors or not? I’m not talking necessarily about the aforementioned one, though it has crossed my mind that maybe I owe it to the public to let them know what they’re potentially spending $5.99 on, (yes, $5.99 for a first time author’s unedited novel) but in general. How does one author crush another author’s dream? And it really is crushing. Bad reviews for an unknown, independent author can, and probably will, mean no sales.

You may say that there’s always something positive to comment on, but if I only mention the good stuff, it’s my own reputation on the line. Say, for instance, I write in my review, “A fast-paced, thrilling ride full of twists and turns! I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out what was going to happen!” but on the way to the end, the reader who took my review to heart comes across a line that should have read, “She turned to look out the windshield,” but that actually reads, “She threw her face at the windshield,” (an actual line from the book I was reading). Is that reader going to think I missed such a painfully painful detail? And if so, is the reader going to avoid my novels like the proverbial plague?

It’s been bothering me all day, this dilemma. It’s a question of morals, compassion, and self-preservation in regards to my career. I won’t review this particular book, but the situation is bound to arise again, unless I decide to just stop writing reviews, or only write them for good books.

What would you do? Or, as a reader, what do you wish I’d do?



One-Liner Wednesday – My New BFF



Best. News. Ever.


Anyone who would like to try it out, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a ping back, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday, if you see a ping back from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Make it either funny or inspirational.

Have fun!


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill – A Review

NOS4A2NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was impressed with the depth of the story told within the story of this novel. At its core it is, of course, a horror novel. But it’s the tale of how Vic, the main character, grows up and becomes caught in the dark, life-sucking trap of NOS4A2 and its owner that gives the novel its humanity. I felt myself relating to many of the characters and this is what kept me reading fast and furious to reach the end.

Mr. Hill’s rich descriptiveness added to rather than weighed down the flow, and I was able to find myself right there in the story many times – whether I wanted to be or not.

It’s sick, it’s twisted, it’s frightening, and it’s touching, and it was a lot of fun to read. I would recommend this book to lovers of horror.

View all my reviews


I Found My Willy! (and other randomness)

If you’ve been following me for a while you might remember this post: It’s about a $20 bill I received and signed up online, before I spent him, to see where he goes. Yesterday he resurfaced!

I got an email last night to let me know my Willy is still in good condition and is about 7-8 hours away, north of Sudbury, Ontario. He came out of an ATM! I was afraid that since he was old (2004) he might have been taken out of circulation by the bank, especially since we now have plastic money here in Canada. But it turns out my Willy is still making his rounds.

Also, this morning, I was greeted with an email to say that a user of Goodreads with the handle “Coffee Talk” wanted to be added as my friend.


I accepted, of course. Although I’m surprised – coffee has been my friend for years already.

What’s your randomness for today?