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406 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
If you're really desperate for a review, feel free to email me. Just don't expect a very quick turnaround. NB: I'm happy to review novels. I tend to review from the point of view of a reader rather than an editor. I 'nitpick' on anything that interrupts my reading flow. If you want me to go all out with nitpicking in general, ask me to do a line-by-line. Quite happy to do so - as a copied static or email.
I'm good at...
Getting into the story from the reader's perspective.
Favorite Genres
M/M, romance, horror, western
Public Reviews
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51
51
Review of Companionship  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Untucoi


I've just read "Companionship, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions

This didn't seem to be so much a 'story' rather than a 'scene' but I really enjoyed it. The title fit the theme perfectly - companionship between a wizard and his dragon. Their to- and fro-ing was really, really great. Nit-picking and bickering, but also getting the job done (while still nit-picking and bickering!) Raneor and Thanor are perfectly suited to each other, and I want to read more about them. I can see a whole novel coming out of this pair!

Your descriptions at the beginning - describing the colours of Raneor's robe and Thanor's wings were outstanding. Perfect examples of show not tell.

Totally amusing how they went about the destruction of the weird and gross creature in a less-than-panicked way. I almost get the feeling it wasn't as dangerous as the lead-up made it sound. Of course, Raneor and Thanor could have outstanding faith in their own abilities. It was Raneor who exploded the creature's arm, right? That made it interesting that he did this all but instantaneously and yet the actual complete destruction seemed to take a bit of time. I also get the feeling that Thanor isn't actually in any danger from the creature itself, especially since the creature isn't fighting back. In fact, it's not making any sound at all which seemed a little bit odd.

Again, your description of how Raneor calls up his power was just as great as the description of his robes. It meant I could really sense and see the magic building. Loved Thanor's As if you could harm me with that comment. Telling, I think, of their friendship and of Thanor's own power.

The closing line is a hoot. Thanor didn't want to eat his vegies, and now a cooked monster has been delivered up to him! I kind of think he won't eat it though *Smile*. I can imagine Raneor chuckling to himself a long while as they get back on the road to wherever they were going.


*Crown* Suggestions

There were a couple of lines that felt a bit awkward but they're not catastrophic. Mentioning them here just so you don't go 'well, what are they?'

He slowly folded back his blue wings from over his head. - this makes it sound like Thanor had his wings covering his eyes, which I'm not sure you did mean. Perhaps cutting out 'from over his head' might help the sense?

The section about the races and the hundred and fifty years really puzzled me. I read and read it but I couldn't really get the sense of what Thanor was saying here. It was Raneor's rather wry comment that helped explain.

.. that they finally smelled its awful odor... |... "Do you smell that?".... | ... caught a whiff of its pungent odor. - in triplicate we read about the smell. I think the 'caught a whiff' could replace the first instance, and then have that followed by the question just to cut out some of the repetition.

With a snort, Thanor hopped off... - I'd put this on its own line, otherwise it reads a little as if he's just said the speech, which he hasn't.

when-ever - no need for a hyphen here, since 'whenever' is a proper word.


*Crown* Closing Comments

Really enjoyed this. You have a knack for making a great companionship, and showing how deep that companionship is. I want to read more!



Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
52
52
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi River

I've just read "The Used Book Sale, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
The perfect title to draw in a reader! Who hasn't been to a used book sale, hungering to find the final book of that series, or something new to read, or a rare gem? And who hasn't had to deal with a right pain in the butt too? There's always one person with their eye on you, trying to steal your prized find.

I love how this story turned out, with a good slice of tit-for-tat, sarcasm and vengeance! I would have gotten a great deal of pleasure out of giving her the book too, and the narrator's comment about the clues being much easier to follow was just priceless. I want to be a fly on the wall when that woman gets home and reads. I bet she wouldn't pick up the clues until half way through!

On the other hand, I'm just like the narrator - who defaces a book???? Though I do write notes to myself in my study books, but that is a slightly different thing. What would possess someone to highlight the clues? That's not very amusing, at all!

The ending's perfect. Everyone's happy *Smile*, and isn't it somewhat amazing that pain can pale in the face of a win?


*Crown* Suggestions
There were a few errors about, funnily enough it almost felt like your concentration had been hindered by too much rib-smacking and shoving!! But even so, don't forget to proof-read, even for the 'short' contests.

my back and, I could feel - the comma should be after 'back' rather than 'and' here, and a wee bit later in this sentence you want 'on' rather than 'oh'. And oh, the horror of feeling someone's breath on your back. Ordinarily that would be in a horror/scary/ick scene (which felt a bit ironic given the favourite genres the narrator was heading for), but here it simply showed the woman's determination and how she really didn't care about personal space. Obviously the narrator was IN HER WAY.

Irritated that..... | had me fuming - this belongs to the one sentence and doesn't make sense. If you remove the clause between the commas you end up with Irritated that someone had done this... had me fuming. I think you could remove 'Irritated' and start with 'That someone had...' because that lets the ending work logically.

meant it was it was a good one - remove one of the 'it was' moments.

Query - why is the crazy woman giving the narrator a sly glance? It didn't seem to go with the 'gushing'. I'd imagine her giving one of those 'oh poor me, I just have to have the book' kind of looks.


*Crown* Closing Comments
Don't forget that even for contest entries, you can use three genres! Humour would be a perfect one for this story, and even Experience (since most of us could relate!). Did the contest have a prompt? I always like to know, because that does help how I read a piece. In any case.... this was a great little story, made me chuckle myself and back the narrator all the way!


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Os


House Stark image for G.o.T.
53
53
for entry "Do You Speak English?
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi iKïyå§ama

I've just read "Do You Speak English? from "Kiya's Big Book of Writing Guidelines, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
As someone who has often been told in reviews that I've misspelled something, I found this article vindicating!

Being in New Zealand our spelling tends to follow British spelling in most cases, so I'm all about -ise, -our, -re. But... in terms of phrases we don't always. For example, you'd never hear 'watercloset' in New Zealand meaning the bathroom. It's the bathroom, or the toilet. I understand that 'restroom' is more used in the US (so I was told by an external reviewer shocked by my use of 'bathroom' and/or 'loo' *Smile*. Simply proves that though we all speak English, we don't speak the same English. Wardrobe/closet/cupboard - rather all interchangeable for us to hang our clothes!

When I was an exchange student in the US I came across the differences in NZ and US English quite often, and sometimes it was honestly hard to make myself understood. Chips and fries were just one such thing. Chips in New Zealand can be hot fries or potato chips. We understand which one we're meaning by the sentence's context. But I've learned in my writing to generally say 'fries' if I'm meaning 'hot' chips. And concerning the cookie/biscuit differences, we like to cover all angles by using both to mean the same things!! Same with coffin and casket. For us, a casket is the classy kind of coffin with the metal trim etc. Boy, we're odd!

Oh heck, I could go on but that's not really a review is it? Anyway, this is one of those articles that should be part of a check-list for reviewers. We must understand that not everyone here speaks/writes in English, as a first, second or even third language. If the spelling is consistently 'wrong' then it's probably not wrong at all. I had one the other day that mentioned I'd possibly spelled 'dialled' wrong. I hadn't - we used the double 'll'. All it takes is a little research - look at the person's biography; their location might give a clue as to language, or even their blog. I thought it was wonderful adding the link to "English as the Second Language to this article, but sadly, the group hasn't been active for a while. I'm sure those who don't know English well benefit from finding others in the same boat, and I'd like to think that English speakers could help answer questions or queries.

Finally, because I just have to.... New Zealand slang can be just insane (half of us can't actually understand it) but Australian slang is as great. Being neighbours we're probably as close sounding to each other as any (aside from our 'e' and 'i' sounds, which are a constant source of amusement) but even we would need notes to understand their slang when they get on form. This link is to one of the funniest interviews given, in true Australian language: http://www.gq.com/story/australian-heroes-today-sh... - it was as funny to the interview crew, and I was glad for this particular page giving a glossary.


*Crown* Suggestions
No real suggestions other than recommending that the article is constantly plugged, and also updated. I'm sure there are lots of us who could add to your lists that would be of great benefit to writers - especially those with stories set outside their home country and therefore their 'home' language.

Some of the list alignment was out but it didn't exactly hinder comprehension.


*Crown* Closing Comments
I never visit your port enough so I miss all these awesome and interesting things you've provided for the community. This article is a simple yet important item, and I think people taking more notice of the differences in English would limit some of the 'you're doing this wrong' review comments. Besides that, it's just a fascinating look at how different English is around the world and how it's evolved. No wonder they say it's one of the hardest to learn.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Os


House Stark image for G.o.T.
54
54
Review of Kip  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Wings

I've just read "Kip, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions

You definitely have the action/adventure and drama genres down pat here! This story is full of both as a young thief takes matters into his own hands to provide for his family. Unfortunately he comes a bit of a cropper and is forced to fight for his life. Funnily enough, all the way through the first part I was very aware that you never gave the gender of the thief and I was going to mention it because it was oddly lacking. The ending, of course, tells why that's so and I was suitably 'What? When?' Nicely kept in the dark!!!

I guess gender doesn't really matter anyway, does it? We have a teenager desperate to save their family and is willing to resort to thievery to achieve this. Who cares if the thief is a girl or boy? I don't know that the reader would have felt any different toward the young thief even if they'd known 'who' they were dealing with. This young thief is risking their life to bring hope to their family, and yet still feels a certain conscience about it. I liked that; it made me feel for the thief rather than think their capture was deserved.

Intriguing that the guards sort of almost have a conscience too - to a point. Since, how is being thrown to two mongrels better than being flogged? Except, I guess they would put around the rumour that the dogs were just doing their job and no one would really turn a hair. I felt very uncomfortable on Kip's behalf at the situation. The guards seem to be spoiling for a fight, and I think being thrown to the dogs was a lesser evil.

The fight scene was realistic but I almost thought it wasn't long enough. No... not that but almost not described enough. Perhaps Kip has totally forgotten about the guards but they must have been shouting and yelling, yet we don't hear anything from them. We don't hear Kip's panting, we don't really feel his pain. Show what it felt like to have the dog's teeth sink into flesh - was it a tearing sound, did bones grind etc? Ie, make it even more frenetic than it is. Really make it a battle for survival.

I liked the reveal of the thief, and Lord de Braes' reaction. He really could have gone to the other extreme - a thief is a thief, after all, even if she reminded him of his late daughter. Perhaps she also acted a bit like that daughter. Kip's explanation for why she dressed as a boy is totally acceptable, and it made me finally realise why she'd focused on the hat on her head at the beginning of her capture!!

Well done, too, on making the story come to a full circle. We started with a key that Kip's stomach couldn't agree with, we ended with one (a very different one!) that changed her stomach's mind. Of course, there's a whole 'what happens next' that we don't know but we've a hint and it's a nice one. Things are going to pick up for Kira and her family. Hmm, the story does beg for a sequel, or even an epilogue!


*Crown* Suggestions

Found a few spots of missing punctuation - mostly between speech and dialogue tag, where you need a comma. The occasional ending full-stop was also missing so I'd recommend just re-reading with an eye for that. There was little to no punctuation within speech either - specifically within the guards' speech. On one hand there probably should be, on the other speech is weird at the best of times and sometimes punctuation doesn't act accordingly. Also, with the wonderful lingo you used, I think the lack of punctuation kind of fits in!


Strong arms cradled the bloody form of Kip from the yard. - I think it's probably me but the way this is worded sounds a bit off. Perhaps change to Kit's bloody form to make it less passive?

"Kira What happ-" - one of the examples of missing punctuation. Needs either a full stop after 'Kira' or a comma and then the 'What' being de-capitalised.


*Crown* Closing Comments

A great dramatic story of adventure. The other genre, entertainment, is rather an odd one here but it does fit - Kip provides unpleasant entertainment for the guards!! The ending is rather short, but still satisfying and we can imagine ourselves what happens next.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Os


House Stark image for G.o.T.
55
55
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Doremi

I've just read "And the Green Grass Grew All Around, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
What a freaky story!! The title, to me, even helps portray the horror/scary factor because it sounds like something out of control and not entirely pleasant.

I loved how this story started - right at the present and with immediate conflict. Why are there no more pens? How can there be no more paper? (As a writer, this is an unbelievably distressing thought!) And we get even more tense when the first person narrator makes the statement that the lack of these items isn't really going to matter. We are still slightly in the dark but the remainder of this opening paragraph provides enough detail for us to know this story isn't likely to end well. The grass eats the bodies along with everything else. is quite the terrifying image! And makes the title all the more uncomfortable.

It was pretty sad to read that it was a good intention that rather brought about the doom of the world, and at the hands of a young boy. The narrator treats Kit with a sympathetic voice and so I think most readers wouldn't blame him either. (I did like the comment about the chemistry set probably changing properties.)

The narrator makes sense when she tells her cousin to test his 'juice' on the weeds. If they die, then it's not a problem. But since the 'juice' works wonders it might come as something of a relief that climbing beans weren't the guinea-pigs. Imagine what they'd have done!!!

You did a great job of describing the colonisation of the grass - the way it took over pretty much everything, even the things we wouldn't expect, like the powerpoles. It is quite freaky to think how one mutated thing could in fact compromise everything that we need to live. I would like to have seen a little more of the panic of the people but I guess we do get a sense of that just in the description of the grass taking over. And we also get the sense of the heartache that went with it, the deaths of people (mostly through starvation, I presume). Uncle Elmer's actions on his 'deathbed' were dramatic and tragic, and I can imagine the angst within the narrator. I also understand a bit of why we get the I don't think that's going to matter very much from the beginning. Our narrator doesn't have long.

Only near the end do we get a few more inner thoughts of the narrator, when we're back to the present time. We understand the hardship she has been living under, realise that her own body is shutting down. We flick between dreams and reality, flick between focus on the grass (the green light brings an eerie, eerie image, by the way!) and the fact the pen is running out but it really doesn't matter any more.

Bringing about a death of a first person narrator is always a tough thing to do, but I liked how you did it here. Or rather, how you make us presume it is about to happen, because the fact is not actually official. Mentioning the dark (presumably night, or perhaps simply because the weeds are cutting out all light) brings its own terrors and own end, but it also brings images of death, of eyes closing. And I got the sense that this narrator welcomed the end, seemed almost to be hoping it would hurry up! It's a great ending to the story, because what if the dark did come and then morning came again and the narrator was still there.... That's almost a horror story on its own! Encouraging the reader to do a bit of story-telling on their own is a great way of keeping them engaged, and I appreciated it.


*Crown* Suggestions
Watch your punctuation, because the lack of it made for some difficult reading as it wasn't always clear where one sentence stopped and another started. I've pointed out a few of the instances below.

dispirited sprouts and weeds - just needs a full stop after 'weeds'. Otherwise, loved the wording. 'Dispirited' is such a visual word!

grow in a drought thing - comma required after 'drought'

be clean very clean - comma after the first 'clean'. Full stop after the second one.


In the third paragraph you have Aunt Katr, where she is 'Kate' everywhere else.

I said try it on some weeds first... - the tense of this makes me think it should actually be real speech: I said, 'Try it on some...'

The bad thing is that one of the bad things was... - one of these 'bad things' needs to go.


*Crown* Closing Comments
A really freaky story, and probably more so because we continue to fiddle with the make-up of plants and animals, and heaven knows what horrors we're not far from (mistakenly) creating. I think the first person narrator gave the story more horror, and the entire premise of revealing the horror as a 'I write this so there's a record of it' is just as scary. Actually, it made me think that a sequel would be great - if somehow something stopped the grass and the letter was found.

Anyway, liked the story a lot, and it's a great reminder that chemicals can be dangerous if they're exposed to extreme temperatures!!


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
56
56
Review of NOT ABOUT YOU  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi sorrez

I've just read "NOT ABOUT YOU, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions

Neglected, dejected and rejected. Cripes, tragic alright. And real too - about those with lost love, those without any love, those who are afraid of love and live in dreams instead. And, finally, it's about those with broken/unrequited love; those who feel it but can go nowhere with it, when love hurts so much the heart seems to be defective. I thought the situation in the final stanza, in a roundabout way, leads to all the other situations too. Love is powerful, and can be so fragile.

I thought it quite intriguing that the poem claims to be not about someone (the 'you') or even the writer ('me') but about 'us' and 'we'. Everyone is singled out, which is quite realistic. I'd like to hope that no one has suffered every one of the situations within the poem but it's good to remember that we're not alone. The poem isn't what I'd call comforting since it forces you to accept your situation or remember it, to feel the pain of neglect, dejection and rejection. But it is a poem of solidarity - it's a poem for everyone who has felt these things (or still does). It doesn't offer remedies and cures, but just a simply acknowledgement that you're not alone. It's a sort of 'yeah, that's how I feel' sort of poem, almost like the opening speech at a 'broken heart anonymous' meeting, like a pledge.

It hurts to read but is also a bit uplifting, which I guess sounds very, very odd. But I get that from the whole 'we're not alone' feeling.


*Crown* Suggestions

Only have one suggestion and that's more because it's more of a 'known' phrase, and might help the line read a little more smoothly. Add another 'face' in Than come to face so that it is Than come face to face. If you do keep just the one 'face' then I think you need to remove 'With' on the next line because you face the rather than face with.


*Crown* Closing Comments

I liked this poem, and enjoyed the title. It felt like a spin on the classic 'it's not you, it's me' break-up line except it wasn't about 'me' either.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Os


House Stark image for G.o.T.
57
57
for entry "Let's celebrate
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi drifter

I was prowling in your port for something to review and came across "Let's celebrate from your blog "Let's Take Time to Celebrate Life!!!!. This is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
I chose this particular blog entry because it's rather relevant. You may or may not have noticed, but there is a huge reviewing competition going on at the moment - "Game of Thrones - and this review I'm writing is for that competition. I looked at the query that you wrote to and consider it very interesting. I am sure that if you asked 100 people those questions, you'd get 100 different answers. Why do we enjoy competing? Plenty of reasons. For me, it's because I like to push myself, challenge myself - and then it becomes about keeping face. Once I've agreed to do something, I do it (even if I've only agreed with myself). Quit is not a word I like to use (though I'm not adverse to 'failure'!). I try my best. Though I might fail at something, I didn't quit. I guess that could be a fine line though!

I liked that you were all about celebrating what makes life worthwhile, though I didn't quite get how that fitted in with why we like competitions so much or what it had to do with narcissism. Narcissism and competing - that really is quite a combination, I think. I think all of us like to come out on top at some point and revel in the few minutes of fame that gives us. I guess it is a form of narcissism to a point - though the fame is more people celebrating us rather than us being so self-involved. Ah, my take on that anyway.

I wish you'd gone into more detail about the female/male split; that was really interesting and I'd like to have known how you came to those 'clashes'.


*Crown* Suggestions

I admit I was rather puzzled by Then we enter other competitions that are better than the competitions shallow people adhere to. What do you mean by this? I wasn't entirely sure it fitted with the rest of the paragraph.


*Crown* Closing Comments

I love the title of your blog, and I think that competing does help us do that. We strive to be good, better, best, and to enjoy what we have. Narcissism probably does play a part in competing though I'd have put pride ahead of it on the 'need to compete' scale. Competing is about proving yourself and trying to beat your fellows. I like your idea of simply enjoying who you are, and being okay with it. A little competition doesn't hurt, but a lot can, and so we need to take a moment and be okay.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
58
58
Review of Arsonist  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi T.L.Finch

I've just read your poem "Arsonist, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions

I'm really not sure why I'm attracted to dark writing, but I am, and this poem is no different. The title itself is quite the signpost in its own right, but when accompanied by a log line such as through the eyes it's not something I can pass up. I was definitely not disappointment. This is a poem about an arsonist and yet it's more than just that. It's in the mind of the arsonist; we get to see what has captured them.

And you make the flame seductive. Watching flames is mesmerising, I can imagine that's one of the reasons why arsonists do their thing. luring those who choose to watch, taunting the voyeur gives the flame that sort of 'come hither' feeling and I can definitely imagine it writhing like the exotic dancer you mention. It pulls you in, just like it does this arsonist.

I liked that the first couple of lines were straight out physical - the striking of the match. As much as the flame is lyrical and mystical and exotic, it's got a very basic start - a flick of a fingernail and a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction, itself, filters through to the arsonist's feelings no doubt. The flame and the arsonist do their dance, and the arsonist is hooked: unextinguished!


*Crown* Suggestions

You use punctuation throughout, except for the very last line. Unextinguished is left open. Now, I originally thought this lack of a full stop might be just in error, hence mentioning it here. But it also works as an un-closed sentence. The arsonist is not going to stop, the burning need within him to set fire to things is 'unextinguished' as much as the physical fire itself is. So... a lack of a full stop highlights that.


*Crown* Closing Comments

An old poem, but a really good one! You've caught exactly how a flame moves and made watching it almost erotic and, oddly, one nearly forgets that we're watching a criminal in action!! And I liked the ending without its punctuation!


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
59
59
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi Diane

I've just read "Bob Dempty AKA Humpty Dumpty, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions

What a fabulous idea, writing 'where are they now' for fairy tales and rhymes! That could spawn several books, I'm sure.

Humpty Dumpty was always a bit of a suspicious character, and now I know why; no surprises he fell off the wall (literally and figuratively)! Alcohol and weed..... tsk tsk tsk. Except, you've given him a pretty good reason for doing both the drugs and alcohol - stress over whether or not he can pay his bills. Though it seems as if drinking was what got him in this situation to begin with so there's a little bit of 'serves you right, Dumpty' here.

On the other side of the Jim Beam bottle, Bob Dempty is going straight. Ten years now but that famous incident that we know if him for is still very clear in his mind. I loved the explanation for how he came to be on the wall and I cackled at his feelings about the 'story'. He's quite right too - horses and guardsmen.... I feel Dumpty's ire and it's quite funny how we just read a rhyme or fairy tale and accept it without much thought, because that's not something I've questioned before!!! Now that he's mentioned it, it's definitely a Well duh! moment.

I appreciate that he's turned his life around for the better, and become an insurance salesman. I'm sure he's quite popular. You've made him more than the nursery rhyme, turned him very human with very human positives and failures, and it's well done.


*Crown* Suggestions & Technical Things

Is that opening sentence supposed to be dialogue? I read it as such but there're no speech marks to indicate it. It just means the "Hi, Bob." comes over just a bit odd. Especially since, for the rest of the story it's kind hard to tell if he's relating the tale of his wall fall to an audience or we're just getting the story.


*Crown* Closing Comments

Loved this little story. Always intriguing to see how people come up with explanations and back-story for well-known figures. I'll probably never look at Humpty Dumpty Bob Dempty the same ever again. Glad I found this piece, Diane, it was fun to read.


Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
60
60
Review of Getting By  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)

Hi Mara ♣ McBain

Wow, your port is accomplished!!! I feel a tad underqualified to review, but I’m going to do it anyway *Smile*. This is a House Stark review of "Getting By for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
Having seen that you’ve published several novels I’m totally not surprised that this story read like a dream. Complete characters, good action, strong emotion, and a gritty premise…

Everyone has had money problems at one time or other, and how they react certainly seems to give the measure of a person. Elle has more issues that most in that she also has a young daughter to look after and that young daughter has a birthday coming up. Children don’t understand that things don’t grow on trees and I’m not sure any explanation would suffice for not getting something on their birthday. I thought that you portrayed Elle’s feelings and attitude realistically – her pride, her stubbornness, her courage. And she also has an unwillingness to bend, hidden behind both a façade of needing to be independent and that pride. She thinks having Cat help her will be charity, I presume because Cat and her husband sound like they’ve money to burn. If there was sympathy or pity in Cat’s tone when she questions the non-acceptance of help, then I’d back Elle all the way. But Cat is frustrated – she isn’t offering charity – and I felt her frustration, but… I also understood Elle’s position. She’s come so far in her new life that it’s probably hard to really let others in to help.

My brow went up with the decidedly sexy male voice because it kind of came out of the blue but it was a nice little break from the earlier stressful situations. I momentarily thought that Elle was the ex-girlfriend but I presume she’d have recognised his voice, and he probably her number. And because of that I was puzzled over the caution moment Elle feels as she’s writing down the address. It didn’t quite seem to add up, bar she was obviously going to a place where money ran freely!

While the end of the conversation with Cat left me a little annoyed like Cat, this discussion between the two women did help reveal a bigger picture and cemented why Elle is so fiercely doing things for herself. And the final few paragraphs as Elle is watching Kennedy try out her new bike do the same thing, especially when we learn that she actually grew up in much the same situation as she is now – in a home without a lot of money, and a bunch of ruses to keep children from spouting awkward questions.

As for the prompt that you wrote to – highlighting strengths and weaknesses of a character in an uncomfortable situation – I think you did that quite perfectly. Elle seems to be on rather shaky ground but she is holding her own, thinking on her feet to keep herself and Kennedy afloat and to keep Kennedy mostly unaware that there are troubles. It does seem to me, though, that Elle is the type of character who will, in the end, snap. She’s trying so hard and not giving herself space to draw breath. And I sure as heck hope it doesn’t happen when she has the interview for the boutique that she’d never actually ever shop in! (I didn’t investigate your port to see if you’d ever written a sequel to this story but it would be an interesting read – has she surmounted her troubles or has she found another asshole man on a bike?)


*Crown* Suggestions
It looked like there were a few missing commas but since I’m not exactly a star with my own commas I’m not going to point them out.

I did spot one typo: Her and her brothers had only fell for that… – ‘fallen’ rather than ‘fell’.


*Crown* Closing Comments
Elle is a marvellously well-drawn character; I could see and feel her and I appreciated that. She’s no smoky, whispy thing I’m reading about. I care about her and the stress she’s under. It does help in part that I’ve been there with that financial burden too, and know how damn difficult it is to ask for help or to accept help. (Partly why I was so frustrated with her about not accepting Cat’s help.)

If I’d been judging What a Character, Elle would have ranked highly on my list of winners!


Cheers,
O


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Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)

Hi FrostyDuf ⛄❄

I've just read "Breaching the Containment Door, and this is a House Stark battle review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
I love writing dialogue and I even like to think I’m pretty good at it, but there’s no way I could carry a story with just dialogue. So my hat’s off to you! And what a fascinating prompt; it definitely allowed for a good old argument. Though we couldn’t have any of the foot stomping, frowning, scowling, hand-on-hipping of such a thing, I think we could pretty much ‘see’ it through the words you used. A prime example are the two lines starting I can’t believe…

The anger and frustration of being cooped up is nicely clear, and I expect that both Bob and Susan have reached boiling point. Found it a tad odd they’re not counting their lucky stars for their survival, though that novelty may have worn off after being stuck together so closely.

Nice ending, by the way, reminding us that outside of the bunker the world is in a bit of a state. When Susan first mentions the friends who have come knocking I envisaged, truly, friends. You know, just normal folk. But, of course, that’s probably a tad unlikely and we rather get the message when Bob suddenly changes his tune about going outside. Thought it rather interesting that Susan doesn’t really question why; instead she just badgers him for a promise that it’s out of his system.

In any case, a story nicely told through dialogue alone – we have a plot, a setting (though not much is ‘said’ about it), and two characters who come across quite clearly from their manner of speaking and the words they say. (Out of sheer curiosity I’d love to see this story told with the usual action/dialogue tags etc. I wonder if you’d change any of the dialogue simply because you could turn it into action.)


*Crown* Suggestions
When you can’t have action or dialogue tags you pretty much have to stick with character 1, character 2, character 1 line-by-line so you and the reader keep updated with who’s saying what. I’m quite aware that there are several moments when Susan speaks two or more times in a row. In most cases, just the wording helped out with the identity but I also noted that you left off the ending ” whenever the very next line was the same speaker. The first time it cropped up I just thought you’d left it off! But of course once you’d done it a couple more times I understood, I just wondered if there was a clearer way of indicating a pause. Not that it’s something you need to chase up.

One typo… I just had to what was going on out there. – ‘know’ needed after ‘to’.

And I wondered about the quadruplicate out there in four of the last five lines. I know there’s not exactly many ways to indicate ‘out there’ but it was sort of jarring. Perhaps ‘outside’ for one or two of them?


*Crown* Closing Comments
Don’t sell this contest entry short – make use of the other two genre tags to draw in readers. Horror/scary could be one but also Relationship, since we definitely get a sense of that (an on the rocks one at the beginning!).

I think it takes tremendous skill to craft a story using on dialogue, and you did a great job of it!


Many cheers,
Os


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Review of What A NIGHT  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.0)

Hi Mary Ann MCPhedran

I've just read "What A NIGHT, and this is a House Stark battle review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
If I was the person in this story, What a night! wouldn’t be my reaction. She’s a lot braver than me!! I’m very impressed that she kept her head and walked. I’d have been running, even if I couldn’t see the road properly. And no doubt I’d have spent the night in a ditch nursing broken bones *Blush*

Even if one is not afraid of the dark, being alone in it in an unfamiliar place can start the heart thudding in anyone. When you started having the cars go by with their lights shining momentarily I was thinking this was going to end with a whole lot of scare going on. It meant I was sort of prepared for the light shone on to a dark figure. My hairs would have been standing on end all over if I’d seen that, with nails running up and down my spine.

I’m not surprised the narrator didn’t want to pass the figure, but was also not surprised that the only way to her destination was to do so. At this moment I’d like to have seen more of the narrator’s inner thoughts. Is she trying to project courage, confidence? Is she sidling along as if she hopes she won’t be noticed?

I love what the figure turned out to be – scary in its own right but not a headless ghost aiming to pick up a juicy soul or something. I bet the narrator was giggling in her relief, amongst her chiding the farmer!

I get the feeling that at the end she felt rather childish over her fears, and annoyed too, but I suspect that when she finally got home she had a real laugh about it.


*Crown* Suggestions
My main suggestion is to update your formatting a bit so that the story takes up the whole page rather than half of it. The layout at the moment makes it oddly disconcerting to read (which, funnily enough, kind of ties in with the theme of the story!). This formatting also makings the cattle mooing sentence completely skewed around, cut in half onto two different lines. (Of course, you may have intended that!!)

Also, take another look at the genres for this. I don’t really see ‘Fantasy’ or ‘Family’ here. I definitely see ‘Horror/Scary’ and ‘Dark’. I think changing to those would get you more readers (ha, me included since I’m a ‘Horror/Scary’ fan).

I walked at a quick pace I could only… – full stop is needed after ‘pace’ or a joiner word (like ‘though’).

Because this does read as ‘Horror/Scary’ even if you didn’t intend it, you could play that up a bit. For example, don’t tell I could hear my heart… but show us it in a more active manner. Something like My heart thudded in time with my pounding steps. Basically, make the reader start to get as creeped out as the narrator. which gave me a shock is another example where you’ve sort of just told us. But frankly, if I saw a figure suddenly lit up out of nowhere I’d be doing some shrieking and freaking and generally trying to keep my heart from crawling out my throat.


*Crown* Closing Comments
I did wonder why the woman was out wandering the streets on her own in the dark, but that sort of faded as we got into the story. It’s a very simple story but has the right elements for a good horror – combined with humour – though I think you need to decide just what this story is about in terms of the genres. I admit I’m not that big a fan of scarecrows either!!

One final thing I'd suggest is creating some folders within your port, so you can house your items in order - poetry in a poetry folder, novels all together etc. That way readers will be able to find items of their interest much more easily.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Os


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Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)

Hi Crow

I've just read "WOULD YOU HAUNT ME?, and this is a House Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
Wow.

This is a powerful little piece of poetry. It’s not a man in fear of being haunted, it’s a man begging to be haunted and that is so heart-breaking.

I rather think that no one really wants to be haunted – thinking along the lines of terrifying ghosts and all sorts of paranormal freak-outs going on – but, we also don’t want to give up that someone we have lost. We want them to still be around somewhere, somehow because we can’t function without them.

I really liked how you worked through the phases of the man’s mind – starting off with the quite simple: when you die will you haunt me? Then we move through places the couple went to and to actions/reactions/expressions. When those things seem to not cause a response, we get ‘bigger’ in the ideas – looking beyond ‘reality’, blaming it somehow – and then fade into typical human nature – anger, grief. And finally, we run that end-game: if you won’t come, then I will try to make you. It’s very heart-breaking, and I was almost surprised that you didn’t end with something like ‘if you won’t haunt me, I’ll come to you’.

A powerful piece of writing. Though I’ve not been in this situation I’ve a couple of characters who bear close resemblance to your heart-broken man, and they would definitely empathise here.


*Crown* Suggestions
My only suggestion is a matter of formatting. Now I know that poetry doesn’t have to be truckloads of single lines but I think this poem would benefit from it. Mostly because then you’d make Would you haunt me? stand out, and I reckon it needs to. It’s powerful and painful and deserves to stand on its own.

A query too – the description says that the man has lost his love, and yet the first sentence says If you came to your end and I remained… which sounds like his love hasn’t actually died. Think your description needs a bit of a change there.


*Crown* Closing Comments
Really lovely and sad all in one. Simple in writing, simple in the ‘plot’, and I’m glad to have found it among your items.

One final thing I'd suggest - create some folders in your port so your items can easily be found. Having to scroll through an extensive list might put people off trying to find something to read.


Best wishes,
Osirantinous


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Review of Termination  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)

Hi Chris24

I’m competing in the writing/reviewing contest "Game of Thrones, and so I’ve been dipping into your port to find something to review. Lots of items there but "Termination caught my eye the most, and so here’s the review.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
First up, I’ll admit that I don’t read a lot of science fiction, and I definitely don’t write it. I don’t know how to! But I know a good tale when I see one and this is a good tale, providing a lot of tension and conflict and a thwack of mystery right at the end, that popped my eyes open good and wide! I even felt momentarily sorry for CN-23 (yeah, soft touch here!)

Love how bounty hunters cross genres, and I appreciated that this one was somewhat cocky in his abilities (actually, aren’t they all?). He’s been hunting for a long time in this role and yet he has managed to be pretty unsuccessful in his attempt to get this one android. And actually he fails pretty spectacularly even when he’s finally cornered the rogue.

Interestingly the final moments of this tiny story hint at why. Our bounty hunter is not what he seems! I get the feeling he’s been ‘fixed’ several times across the years but always ends up in this manner. Though he thinks like a human, acts like a human, there’s something in him somewhere (not actually displayed in this story) that doesn’t let him go the whole hog on the android termination tasks. (You may not have intended it, but ‘lamented’ does make it look like he doesn’t want a fight.) In the end I felt as sorry for him as I did for the android about to be terminated!!

Your triple I was a robot. is brilliant. I could feel his ‘what the?’ and I also understand that this revelation brought about his ‘end’ – almost like he’d failed a test. Kind of felt like it happened a lot!

The ending threw me completely out of sync, and I liked it. Turned what I knew totally on its head and made me re-read the story again to see if I’d missed anything. No, you just wrote a wonderfully intriguing and puzzling little piece! I almost feel like a sci-fi convert!


*Crown* Suggestions
Since you wrote this for a contest – and we could tell that from the bolded words even if you didn’t have Contest Entry as one of your genres – it would be handy to list that contest within the item. It helps us understand how/why you wrote, including what word limits you were up against. That latter at least stops us from going ‘you coulda made this longer by doing X, Y and Z’ when clearly you actually couldn’t at the time. And though readers and reviewers aren’t judging the contest, it’s still nice to be able to read a piece and consider it in relation to the contest prompts/elements.

… just enough for it to land solidly… – since the last object we meet is the hat, it felt like the ‘it’ here was that hat and I had to read the sentence twice to realise you really meant the android. I’d definitely recommend changing ‘it’ out.

… suffered in the rain, eager to survey… – ‘suffered’ and ‘eager’ seem completely opposite emotions here and I wasn’t sure they worked. I expect you mean he suffered from the injury but as it is written it sounds like he was more eager than suffering.

The entire last line puzzled me. I thought throughout the earlier part of the story the bounty hunter was feeling human (at least, nothing gave him away!) and he definitely has emotions, so He needs to feel human threw me. I thought he had. But also – if he’s to feel human he will need self-awareness. I presume the first part of the sentence is really saying he needs to be programmed not to notice that he is not human and then emphasises that he has to feel completely human. I just wonder if they both could be reworded a bit to clarify meaning here?

And one more thing about this final section – more a query from me out of curiosity – how is it that Dr Carlin knows what has happened? It almost felt like he was right there, but can’t have been, so I presume there’s some sort of visual tracker or something on the bounty hunter able to pinpoint where their ‘servants’ are and can enable/disable them at will? In a roundabout way I’m saying – it would be awesome if you made this short story longer!!! It’s really neat.


*Crown* Closing Comments
Really liked this tiny story, and the reader gets more than they bargained for as much as the bounty hunter does. Definitely think it could be made longer and I know I’d enjoy reading it.

One final thing, you have an extensive portfolio, but it’s a bit crazy scrolling through the list. I’d recommend you create a few folders to house your works – such as a folder for Sci-fi stories, one for contest entries (with or without the sci-fi). That just helps people find your items a little more easily.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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65
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)

Hi Brenpoet 20 years WDC!

Being a romantic, I've just read "Guitar Strings And Heartstrings, and this is a House Stark battle review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
Sigh…. I love romance items, and those ones that relate to memories are extra special. A little heart-tugging in this case as we see remembrance of a long-ago love. And I always wonder how much of that memory is real and how much is what we think we remember (or what we’d prefer to remember).

Writing this poem in pairs of rhyming lines simply added to the musicality of the piece. In my reading rhythm I could almost hear the guitar being played and beyond that the hubbub of the bar, the castanets. I could even feel the warmth of the night, sense the dreams being woven at the time. And, of course, I can hear your longing to be back there. What this means is that even though this poem isn’t huge, it carries huge description and I can see the scenes in my head. Items like this are a pleasure to read.

I got the feeling that it wasn’t the music itself that initially took you back all those years, but rather the actual act of watching the guitar playing and having memories triggered by that. Though by the end of the poem you’re as mesmerised by the music as much as by the playing, and I understand that longing of wanting the memory to continue. I wonder if you ever had those memories come to you without the music or if they only ever come with the music, sort of like a magic occurrence.

However it happens doesn’t really matter, I guess, as long as the memories come back and envelope you in their warmth and comfort again. And, oh, for a time machine!


*Crown* Suggestions
I found the wording in the first line of the first stanza a little awkward initially. When I re-read with a pause between ‘heart’ and ‘are’ I managed to get into the rhyming mood but I still almost found that there was too much of a distance between ‘Strings’ and ‘are plucked by your guitar’.

Other than this comment (which probably has more to do with how I read poetry than anything), I’ve no further comments/suggestions to make. You use great rhyming and great description, and your title speaks of the different kind of strings in this poem in a perfect manner. Heart strings are definitely plucked as much as guitar strings!


*Crown* Closing Comments
I’m sure we have all been taken back to a time that seemed to be the most perfect time on the planet, simply by a sound or smell or vision. This lovely poem is full of warmth and desire, showing the power of a memory, and heartstrings twang as we get to the last line. I nodded and sighed, and wished you could go back as much as you probably did.

Enjoyed reading this one!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


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Review of Season's Spell  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)

Hi Sweethonesty

I've just read "Season's Spell, and this is a House Stark review for the somewhat crazy "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
I quite like the title you have for this poem. With June ripping up the sky I imagined a magical spell whip-cracking out from a magician’s fingers – lightning and sparkling and crazy stuff happening. And that other use – being under a spell. I can see quite clearly that New England and her weather have a hold on you *Smile* Weather is fascinating; must be why we talk about it so much!

The double rhyming you have in the first two sentences of each stanza made a lovely reading meter – almost lullaby-ish. And you spring rhymes at other times too, the third stanza especially with ‘drenched/quenched’ and then with ‘season/reason’ just two words apart.

Funnily enough, while you’re describing Spring here this same weather pattern applies to my June, except it’s Autumn. Flash storms followed by stunning days that make you think it’s summer and while we may fear a storm we also realise what it brings – life to plants! In fact our trees here are already starting to bud because we’ve had such a bizarre autumn/winter, and a great many of them still carry summer leaves! You’re right about the seasons being Mother Nature’s game. I’m sure she delights in confusing every one of her subjects.

I love how you describe New England as a ‘fair’; there’s always something going on each season and as you mention in the line above this one everything is brief, rare. No two things are the same. I travel a stretch of coastline each day on my way to/from work – so I see it very early in the morning (bar high winter when it’s too dark to see either way!) and early evening and the view is different every day. I heard a commuter behind me one day on the train bemoaning they don’t get to see beyond a certain train stop and I realised that I was very lucky indeed, because I could see what they couldn’t and I instantly stopped taking it for granted. The view is beautiful and deserves to be gazed at, and so I fully understand your feelings about New England’s constant metamorphous nature, and how much it means to you.


*Crown* Suggestions
As I read, I got very used to the split sentences of each first line (they help with the reading flow) so the first line of the third stanza brought me to a scratchy halt. Without a comma I didn’t know where to pause and so I read it just like a standard prose sentence. That, of course, then threw away the ‘scurries/ease’ rhyme you’ve got between the first/second lines, which I didn’t actually notice existed until I read the lines a couple more times.

pedals point to the sky – I think you mean ‘petals’ here, rather than ‘pedals’?


*Crown* Closing Comments
This is a prime example of how to turn talk of weather into something wonderful and interesting! Your descriptions of the changeable weather are really nice and you manage to keep all that rhyming going on without sacrificing the description. You’ve got magic spells of your own, writing such lovely poetry.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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67
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)

Hi Kenzie

I found "Tumbled Towers, Humbled Hearts, unsurprisingly, in your folder of awarded items, and was moved to read it. This review is on behalf of House Stark for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
I remember the day this happened, like I’m pretty sure everyone does, even though I’m not American and I’m half a world away. I remember turning on my radio as I got breakfast before work and hearing a comment about what if the two towers were hit. I didn’t hear much of the conversation but thought at the time it was simply a question. When I got to work someone mentioned it and we hurried to turn the TV on and I was like ‘holy heaven, it’s true’. For most of that day I don’t recall us doing a lot of work, but it seems slightly ironic that we worked in the War Pension unit.

Even now, almost fifteen years later, my brain struggles to comprehend those images we saw on TV, and I know that it must have been hundreds and thousands times worse for any American citizen. This line says it all: Lives changed in an instant. And that was for everyone, not just for those who were actually involved. Because it was, of course, not just the Two Towers affected that day.

I must admit that your second stanza really felt like it was putting to the sword the first one, those people chasing the American Dream as if they weren’t allowed it. However… the rest of the poem highlighted that the nation was rallying to the second stanza, and that was really nice. But isn’t it so tragic that it seems only tragedy can bring people together?

I was particularly taken with the fifth and sixth stanzas – how one has to look forward now and how one has to open one’s eyes. The world is a nasty place sometimes and to forget history is to repeat it. Sadly, in the fifteen years since I’m not sure a whole lot has changed. A world without war is a pipe dream that will never come, no matter what we do. And that includes war with ourselves. The past couple of months illustrate that. It is a pity that your final stanza can’t be screamed out over the world, a reminder that people can come together. That it’s happened once and can happen again, and that if and when it does, we might finally have a world we can be proud of, that we can live in without fear. And, you know, by song is something America does so well. Hearing the national anthem sung a capella is so powerful; it’s such a rallying cry!


*Crown* Suggestions
My token suggestion would be to highlight this in your port – and certainly as we get closer to the anniversary. It deserves to be read.


*Crown* Closing Comments
A deep poem, Kenzie, and one that is really as valid today as it was when you wrote it! I can still feel your grief, and pride. I’m glad to have found it.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your poetry.

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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68
Review of Just One Chance  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)

Hi Beyond the Cloud9

Hunting through your port for something to review for the latest House Stark review battle for "Game of Thrones, I found "Just One Chance. It caught my eye because only a few hours earlier I’d been working with academics to find a better timetable for one of their students who had tetraplegia, and I was intrigued how your story would deal with disability.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
This is one of those stories that reminds us all not to judge a book by its cover. And… if you don’t give someone or something a chance, how can you know what they’re capable of or not? It also makes us uncomfortable, seeing someone left out because of how they look or how they act. We humans haven’t changed much in our existence, still thinking that ‘perfect’ is the only way to be.

So I was pleased to see that you followed your description to a tee – Todd was given a chance. We had no way of knowing, however, whether he’d run with that chance or fail at it and so that made the story hook us all the way through; had to read to find out what happened.

I’m a bit of a baseball fan, which is tough since I live in New Zealand and we don’t really have it here! Rugby is our thing and that’s what kids will be doing down at the local park. Or cricket. In any case, what that means is that this story hooked me from the sport perspective too!

So, anyway, the story… as mentioned just above, the final outcome was not a given. We know that someone will give Todd a chance but we don’t know how it’ll end. I liked that it ended happily, of course, but even if Todd had ‘failed’ that wouldn’t have taken away from the story itself, because it’s not so much about ‘winning’ but about being included. The tiny speck of backstory that introduces Sammy was great, and it also made his slight rejection of Todd at the game more heartfelt. (Though, in all honesty, Sammy was stating fact – there’s only so many members one should have on the field!) Sammy’s reaction to Todd turning away was totally realistic – I’d probably have ‘seen’ him squinting at the sun as he considered what to do even without you saying it!

Classically, just because one person accepts someone it doesn’t mean everyone else does and once Todd’s in the outfield he goes back to ‘invisible’. Part of that might be the game itself – hard to be involved if the ball doesn’t actually come your way but I’m sure Todd felt it even more keenly – as if the others were deliberately not hitting his way. A bit of serendipity that his self-entertainment took him to the spot that would allow his full participation. I almost worried that counting dandelions would get him beaned by the ball!!

My heart was in my mouth in a ‘no, no, no, no’ moment when Todd stumbled. He was almost there! And then you carried on with his depressed thoughts so that we all but knew he’d failed in the catch attempt. It really let us feel what Todd was feeling here.

I appreciated that Sammy’s confidence had let him give Todd the chance, and I liked that he kept encouraging his friend, even after the momentous catch. It was, of course, nice that Todd acknowledged the help he’d received, but, you know, I’d love to have seen more of the responses of his team mates. I doubt they’d be about to say ‘Hey, I always knew you could do it’ but their responses – maybe even apologies? – would have been interesting.

Overall, I like the tone of this story – there’s doubt (always going to be present) but as I said earlier – how do you know what someone can do until you give them a chance. Ruling them out just because of how they look is simply sad. The other theme to this story is friendship, and I think you display the depth of a good friendship here quite nicely. Sammy’s got a fine line to walk between his friend and his teammates. He backs himself and Todd when he lets Todd play, and if the outcome had been different I felt that he’d still have backed Todd.

It seemed like forever before Todd escaped the boy’s giant shadow. – lovely description that manages to combine both the boy’s physical size and his ‘mental’ size/reputation. And of course when Todd makes the catch it’s just perfect that it’s this boy’s fly-ball.


*Crown* Suggestions
Just a few things to consider fixing or updating. Nothing of the show-stopper nature though.

obvious birth defect, – remove the comma here as it’s not required.

seemed none of them wanted him there. Todd knew their opinions. – nothing grammatically wrong here but this felt a bit odd. If he knows their opinions, then why does it only seem that none of them wanted him. That, to me, should have been a known too.

… team,” a sandy-haired boy scowled. – ‘scowled’ isn’t really a dialogue tag so I think this needs to have a full stop after team. (Yeah, nitpicking!)

… slapping his hand in his glove, “Fine!...” – use a full stop rather than the comma after ‘glove’.

The heat of the sun was as hot as his embarrassment. – my reason for mentioning this sentence is I think you’ve got it the wrong way around. I think his embarrassment should be as hot as the sun, because that qualifies how severe the embarrassment is.


*Crown* Closing Comments
It’s really only just come to me that, aside from the opening part of the story, you don’t really focus on the disability itself. It comes and goes, and we have an idea of what it is but we sort of forget about it a bit. I liked that – you don’t gloss over it but nor do you make it such a horrendous thing that the reader simply can’t look passed. This story is about Todd and baseball and his friends. The disability drives the plot but by the end it’s all about a friend helping out a friend, and who cares if he has a disability. It’s kind of that ‘don’t stare’ mentality we try to instil in people. Whoa, sorry, kind of a babble there. Nice story, nice theme, and above all yay for a happy ending.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Os


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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69
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)

Hi Lovina 🐕‍🦺

I've just read the quirky "Don't Wake Them Up!, and this is a House Stark battle review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
Well, I’m sure I fell into the same trap as all readers of this story – that there was something dark going on, like a sneaky little horror. As I read further though my brow was arching up in puzzlement. Who were these ladies? What had they to do with anything? And what the heck was the man doing with string? (Hmm, never found out what the string actually was – a streamer? Holding up balloons or a banner?)

I got it by the end, of course, and grinned. A funny little tale and impressive that you built so much into it with so few words, keeping the reader (well, this one anyway!) in the dark for much of it! Loved how you used ‘THEY’ and ‘They’; though it added to the initial mysteriousness.

Found it very lovely how he was so tired but so tied to his kids; there is no doubt he’s in love! I’d love to see a ‘future’ story when he’s got to deal with teenage twins!

tiny kisses peppered his cheeks – nicely descriptive of a multitude of kisses, but also oddly ‘dangerous’ since I’ve usually seen ‘peppered’ relating to bullets!


*Crown* Suggestions
Spotted a number of missing-punctuation moments, such as the full-stop after … attempting to enter but overall, they didn’t really interrupt my flow. I notice them mostly because I’m usually told about my missing punctuation as well *Smile*.

Quickly he covered himself… – there’s no indication of what he covered himself in, so I wonder if you meant ‘recovered’ here? And at the end of this sentence, I’d suggest that instead of the full stop you have , but in the meantime… because that’s how it looks like the two sentences read – as in he tried to do something BUT he wasn’t quick enough.

… he glanced at the twins… – just felt that using the past tense of ‘glanced’ made this read a bit awkwardly. Or maybe it was that along with the commas. You could remove ‘he’ and change ‘glanced’ to ‘glancing’ for sense, or change the commas after ‘but’ and ‘twins’ to hyphens – which would put the action in as a separator for his thoughts. Either way would help the flow of this sentence.


*Crown* Closing Comments
A cute story, Lovina, and heart-warming, and probably every parent who has read this was nodding along to the father’s feelings!


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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70
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: ASR | N/A (Review only item.)

Hi Princess Megan Rose

I was working my way through your impressive port when "Day 60 Give It A 100 Home Is Where Your Teddy Bear Is (from your book "A Journal With Everything) caught my eye. I’m rather partial to teddy bears and so I had a read, and now I’m reviewing it on behalf of House Stark for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
I’m a girl after your own heart, I love my teddy bears too! ‘Home is where your teddy bear is’ is a wonderful motto. How many secrets do our teddy bears hold? How many tears have they been washed with? Kids invest a lot of emotion in teddy bears (or another toy) and it’s quite amazing to see so many images of animals cuddling up to a teddy bear! I loved this story of the orphaned monkey and I think he would have been secure with it even it if didn’t have the beating heart. Just something soft and warm and solid to hang onto brings pleasure and comfort.

I’m 41 and I still have a teddy bear that was given to me when I was about three. In truth, he no longer sits on my bed but that’s more because he’s kind of falling apart from being loved so much as a child. He’s only little -a black and white panda – and his body is in perfect condition (still with fur) because he wears clothes. His paws and face are something of a travesty though and stuffing is falling out. I could get him fixed up, I know, but then he wouldn’t be my bear. I don’t know that I really told him a lot of secrets – didn’t have anything to hide much! – but I know he’s dealt with emotion. I named him Beatle – but not after The Beatles. Nope, named him after our cat, who was white with black ears. I’ve got many more soft toys around my house – I can’t seem to stop buying them – but they don’t hold my feelings as much as Beatle does. I really should get him out of the closet where he has been safely sitting, but even though he’s mostly hidden from view he’s always there and, like yours, he is in my room and my room is special to me.

Anyway… I agree with you – home is where the teddy bear is. I used to take mine on travels with me, for much that same reason, but he’s too fragile now and at least he stays safe.

I loved the stories behind your three bears, and I presume it’s Prince who is in the photo in the entry? He is super duper cute! We adults tend to be less sentimental these days it feels so it’s nice to find I’m not the only one who has attachments to inanimate objects!


*Crown* Suggestions
The only thing I’d really suggest is adding the link to the video, if you had it.


*Crown* Closing Comments
A tiny little entry but heart-warming – with the monkey and your own tale! It made me think about my own teddy bear and how much I’ve loved him over the years. Even if he became just a body (his head is a little less attached now!) I’d still keep him. Some things you should never throw out.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Kindest regards,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
71
71
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

Hi Arakun the Twisted Raccoon

I've just read "The Witch's Diary Part I, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
I’ve a thing for the supernatural ghosty type of stories these days, which is a bit odd since I can really freak myself out with them. Your title drew me in and I liked the fact you had more than one chapter going on (I will be back at some point to keep reading/reviewing).

A diary of a witch sounds like an interesting read and I enjoyed how the story started out all reasonably straight forward, apart from being out in a storm. I did feel that it took a bit of time to get to the diary, but you were right in setting the scene – how Melissa had trouble with the storm and then the car kind of did some weird things. Some readers might have been thinking it was a bit clichéd – storm, corn, stuck car – so I liked how you brought real fiction into your fiction, having Melissa muse about Children of the Corn (I feel grateful to have not seen that movie). I really enjoy when writing does that – makes what’s being read more real!

Descriptions of the house were nicely done, and Melissa is a darn sight braver than I am! I’d not have gone near the place though she seems to be sort of tugged there, and maybe later we’ll find out if she has a connection of sorts to the house. (What is it that makes a broken swings so blinken eerie????)

A dirty mouse-chewed carpet... – such simple words but very visual, and I’m sure Melissa was glad to have kept her shoes!

I’m impressed that Melissa’s first thoughts upon seeing the ghost are to apologise! I expect that’s because she doesn’t quite realise what she is facing. Still, I thought the good manners were nicely done here. Melissa is a strong, polite girl, and one that you’d expect to be getting along with people.

The ghost doesn’t have a very long part, but her presence is vital as she provides the diary of the title (therefore presuming she is also the witch!), but also adds to the suspense. She knows the house is dangerous (though one can’t help but wonder if she is what makes it so). And what she says is the pivot in the story, because the second half of the story is when Melissa hears a bit of the background, and a little bit about her. Having been at the house already, hearing the tale of it afterward is a bit chilling. And I can sympathise with Mrs Miller. There’s a particular old house on a hill in the region where I live that is the spookiest thing ever. It’s an empty house but it’s just… Here’s a link and let’s just say I understand what Mrs Miller is saying!!! http://www.library.mstn.govt.nz/Ahiaruhe.php (this one doesn’t make it look too horrible, but I just couldn’t bare to look for a ‘better’ shot).

We’ve already seen that Melissa isn’t the kind of girl to back down from something so it’s no surprise she doesn’t drop the diary somewhere. Of course… if she did then you’d have no book but I do wonder what is in store for her, and what is in the diary. Your last lines provide the perfect hook to keep a reader reading.


*Crown* Suggestions
Very minimal stuff here! I’d be inclined to suggest putting the thoughts into italics, mostly because they’re currently speech-marked and I read them all as speech until I got to the dialogue tag. Though the thoughts do give insight into how Melissa is feeling, they felt kind of stilted… no, formal. I just thought that in italics you don’t need the dialogue tag and you could be less formal, instead be more colloquial as thoughts tend to be. Tiny example: If I was in my own horror novel I’d so regret this. (taking out the heroine because what else would she be?)

I noticed a couple of punctuation errors around the dialogue – a missing comma, space between word and “ for example but it’s just cosmetic stuff.


*Crown* Closing Comments
I liked this opening chapter, Arakun. It introduces two main characters (since I presume we’ll be meeting Rebecca again, even if not in body) and a good amount of setting. We’ve got something of a double plot going on - the present with Melissa and the past with Rebecca (which isn’t really that far from the present – 60 years or so?) – so I look forward to seeing how they tie in, and how Melissa was seemingly chosen to help reveal this ‘secret’.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
72
72
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)

Hi Showering Dutchessbarbie.

Hunting in your port for items to review on behalf of House Stark for "Game of Thrones, I came across your poetry folder. I’m not a great poet at all but I do love reading it so I delved in, and found "ENCOURAGEMENT POEM.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
This little acrostic poem is almost six years old now, but the message it imparts still stands strong. Will forever stand strong! We writers seem to have huge self-doubt issues, and a poem like this would be a lovely thing for everyone to have – at least to read every day for inspiration as well as encouragement.

I like that it wasn’t all about general encouragement, but gave ideas for things that might encourage you to write: Contests and Activities being two of these things. If we’re in a rut, entering a new contest or taking part in an activity can help us out of that rut.

I was amused that you listed Nano as only once a year. That in itself is an encouragement – there’s only one month when you have to go totally bonkers on word count. You can rest for the other eleven. I attempted Nano once, back in… hmm, long time ago. For me the thing is only once a decade and I can just about manage that *Smile*

Two of the encouragements really stand out to me:

Original – all around us we’re influenced by trends and fads and people’s opinions, so many of us try to fit in. We shouldn’t be trying to do that at all. We shouldn’t be trying to write like X or Y, because we’re not X or Y. We need to be okay with who we are and what we write and how we write. And, this encouragement has a second piece to it – understanding that others are original too and accepting that fact. After all, if we all wrote the same wouldn’t that be boring?

Understanding – aside from writing for a contest (*Smile*) we can’t expect that our first scribbles are going to be perfect. Heck, third and fourth edits and I’m still unhappy with some of my stuff. And it’s okay to be non-perfect. Just as we have self-doubt, we’re also our own worst critic. This encouragement leads us to enjoy the act of writing and getting to know the characters etc. We can make it grammatically perfect another day.

Finally, you’re right – we’re not alone. How many of us are there on this site? And we’re all (well, maybe some of us aren’t) going through the same doubts and conflicts. I love the reminder that we’re not alone, just gotta keep remembering it!


*Crown* Suggestions
One teensy weensy punctuation error – you have a double comma after Editing,, being able…. It doesn’t stop reading flow but it was oddly distracting.


*Crown* Closing Comments
A very nice acrostic with such positive comments and thoughts. It’s the kind of item we should all print out and have somewhere close by to read when we’re feeling down!


I’m glad I found it!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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Review of Treat or Trick?  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

Hi Mumsy Spins

I've just read "Treat or Trick?, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
This was a great read! A totally new way of telling a vampire conversion and I loved that you started off the story quite un-horror like. In fact, I first though the whole cookie thing related to some diet Lisa was forcing herself on!

Moving back and forth between the present | dream | memories |present was really well done, and you added a nice little kick with the memories. Lisa faints at the sight of blood and now she has to deal with it rather a lot more often than desired! That must be tough for a vampire. I also appreciated how you wove the ‘normal’ in – fears, Chester, hiding in a pantry (well, maybe that’s not quite normal, but still quite believable); I think it heightened the conflict within the character (though interestingly she doesn’t seem to have any vampiric urges).

You played quite nicely into how vampires seem to be perceived – handsome, melodic, magnetic – so although Lisa does have some alarm bells starting to ring, she’s pretty much hooked. Really liked how you made his magnetism fade once she was also a vampire. It was intriguing, and I found myself wondering if Kate would have this reaction to her when she visited. This magnetism also raised the question – why isn’t Kate hooked? Or is she, and she’s just managing to hide it? I think she could slide either way here.

Of course, Kate’s reaction on the phone makes us all then decide she’s an innocent pawn in this game, and Lisa’s little freak-out at the end makes us hope that Kate will be able to help her, support her at least.

And then you hit us with the most perfect ending ever!! Lisa is a vampire, we know exactly what’s on her mind with her question! It was a great about-change to the previous decision that she would warn Kate!


*Crown* Suggestions
I was puzzled over two things:

It was at that moment that I discovered…. – I wasn’t sure how she’d discovered what triggered this Hunger of hers. Partly because I was still in the cookie/diet frame of mind. I presume it’s the rising anger and frustration that is actually the trigger? If so, I’d recommend making that a little bit clearer if possible.

The puncture marks on my neck… – this is the only mention of puncture marks. Earlier, Lisa has drunk a glass of blood and perhaps Kyle bit her while she was passed out. But if that’s so, then you need to make that part of the reaction in the dream because the wounds stick out here with a ‘where did they come from’ sort of thought.

Tiny typo – …It wasn’t…“ the room begins to spin… – capital letter for The and the closing speechmark’s oriented the wrong way.


*Crown* Closing Comments
I do love vampire stories (mine tend to come over as romances!) and I really enjoyed this one. It’s not often I’ve read of the ‘conversion’ of a vampire so that was interesting, and I liked how the tale was told with a combination of present and dream/memory. It enabled you to give lots of detail without a classic info dumping. And putting the dream/memories into present tense made them stand out extra clear from the main part of the story.


Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your writing!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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74
Review of Accused  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

Hi Write-fully Loti

I've just read "Accused, and this is a House of Stark review for "Game of Thrones.


*Crown* Reader Impressions
You might have in fact forgotten you even had this gem in your port since it was written over ten years ago, but, sadly, the story it tells is not something that ever passes from our society. Every day we hear about random violence on innocent people, usually at the hands of gangs (or gang prospects).

I’m not sure that anyone who reads this could not feel some sympathy for Tomas. We instantly get that he’s on a deep road of regret and pain. I started off wondering, actually, if he’d been accused wrongfully and when I read ‘innocent man’ I had an immediate thought it was Tomas himself before I completed the reading of that sentence. And yet when I knew for sure he’d been involved I was still feeling sympathy for him, because of his regret and his feelings of sickness at his actions. That doesn’t condone what he did, of course, but it allows a certain amount of empathy for him. That, and the fact that he was caught up in the mob mentality – he had to do what his leader said but also if others around you are beating up on someone you’re likely to join in on reflex. Horrible horrible situation.

The allusion to being in a fog is great – thick, clammy, finding no exit. Life is going on outside of Tomas but he’s not really taking part in it. He can’t break free from his memories, can’t really even seen the future. In the latter part of the story the fog gives way to an allusion of a sleeping volcano waiting for the moment to wake. It’s just as powerful. People keep quiet about all sorts of things, needing a trigger to act upon them before they can speak. For Tomas it’s a mother. It seems only when he sees her grief and anger and applies it to his own mother, how she might react to the same situation, that he can let loose his feelings. The way you describe his emotions churning and blowing that vent open is wonderful. I could imagine the burn in his throat as he screamed his apologies, the flood of relief as he did so, and probably a flood of grief.

And because of this venting the fog’s lifting. I doubt he’s forgiven by a long shot and he’s probably off to jail, but Tomas appears to have made some sort of peace with himself. And that allows him to start again, as he says at the end.

Using a first person narrator and present tense heightens the emotions of this story, really puts the reader right there with Tomas in his fog. Good choice!


*Crown* Suggestions
Only a couple of exceedingly minor suggestions here, with the first being to remove the indenting. Because most of the story lives in the indent, the few lines that don’t look a bit odd. It didn’t really throw my reading off line but it was still a little distracting.

The jail guards bring… – I’d recommend this go on its own line to make it stand apart from the dialogue that precedes it. Not vital that you do, just feels like it would make both bits more powerful on their own. If you don’t move it, then at least put a space between the dialogue and this sentence.

laying – I expected to read ‘lying’ here so this stopped me. And then I had to look it up because I’m pretty sure ‘laying’ isn’t the right word but I had to know why! Yay for Google revealing something I probably should know anyway. It’s all about whether something is the subject of the word or the direct object of it. Since you’ve got ‘my body’ here it seems to me that you could use either word! Anyway, I looked up this article: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/lay-vs-...


*Crown* Closing Comments
How does one say they love a story that involves violence? It always sounds weird, but I did very much like this. The story exposes the dark side of life but also gives hope that there is a brighter end. It’s emotional and tender, and still very current in 2016 as it was back in 2003. I would love to see the next stage in Tomas’ life, whether he was able to cope with the fog lifting.


In any case, glad I found this little gem!

Best wishes,
Osirantinous


House Stark image for G.o.T.
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Review of Punchdown  
Review by Osirantinous
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi Fivesixer

Back again with another House Stark anniversary review for "Game of Thrones. This time for "Punchdown. I must presume, since this item hasn’t had a review, that you’ve had it private all the time it’s been around? Shame, because it’s a good read!


*Crown* Reader Impressions
You’ve labelled a lot of your items as ‘personal’ and these lyrics are no different. I often wonder if ‘personal’ also means ‘real’, but even if it doesn’t this item feels that way and so the emotional side came across very strong.

Feels like it’s all about a betrayal that spirals into something worse – or the something worse has always been around and comes to the fore because of the betrayal. I don’t say ‘heartbreak’ here because even though the narrator’s girl has rather cut ties with him, his reaction seems beyond that. Really like turning around to hear my heart stop – it’s audio and visual in one and I liked how the reaction rather belonged to the heart (if that makes sense). The narrator’s anger/rage is apparent too and it seems like he’s somewhat stuck in a cage himself, like he has all these emotions but can’t fight his way out of the walls blocking him in and so they just get worse but he’s totally impotent to do anything about it. (I thought the two final lines were telling. Or at least from my own reading – as if he knows how he’s going to react and doesn’t want to, but has to just to get passed stuff. Like he wants to break free but can’t, he’s stuck in a vicious circle.)

With lyrics, I started out expecting to hear a chorus/refrain early on and often and so I was – at first- startled that this didn’t come out so strongly (guess I haven’t been listening to ‘real’ music lately!) However, you do have a chorus of sorts (sorry that’s probably the wrong term), and it grows each time it appears so it became a strong element of the lyrics and told a little story in its own right. I equated ‘general store’ with the narrator’s own mind – as if he’s got a battle going on in there and, quite rightly, wants to quit. The last refrain of this ‘chorus’ openly shows the deterioration in the narrator, the inability for others to understand him, the loss at which he finds himself. Changing ‘think’ to ‘know’ in this final refrain is a great way of showing the growth (or perhaps the acceptance of his situation).


*Crown* Suggestions
Poetry, lyrics – it always feels somewhat wrong when offering a suggestion because, to me at least, these items are so personal and can be written in any which way possible. However, there were a few things that stopped my flow a bit so I mention them here. May just have been the way I was reading so ignore at your will *Smile*.

wondering not too innocently or quietly | cheapened falsified the self-induced proprietary – You don’t use punctuation and that’s all fine but I found ‘cheapened falsified’ puzzling and couldn’t figure out if they should be read together (in which case it felt like one of the words was wrong) or if they should be split (ie ‘cheapened’ belonging to ‘quietly’ in the line prior). Seems like they can be read either way (which I actually like about your items – the multiple ‘views’ you give us) and on my second reading I easily attached ‘cheapened’ to ‘quietly’ because I also read the previous lines as hearing woes wondering not too innocently rather than starting a fresh line with ‘wondering’. Sorry, quite a babble there!

overcompensating with thought my day | no way what to say nothing’s in the way – it’s the ‘what to say’ bit that I stumbled on here, or rather ‘what’. I decided to read using ‘how’ and that flows bit better though, of course, probably changes what you actually mean. I also read it without ‘what’ which kind of worked but it made the double ‘way’ in that line really stand out. So, I was just puzzled how to read this particular line.

still noone knew what I meant by what I said – when reading this slowly it’s fully understandable what you mean here but the ‘what I meant by what I’ was another bit of a stumble first up and I had to do over a couple of times before I got the flow right. Not saying you should change it but just pointing out a reader stumble.

One typo *Smile*to scary for even myself… – ‘too’ rather than ‘to’.


*Crown* Closing Comments
I’m really glad I found this item of yours. It’s a great read and definitely deserves more views. It’s a powerful piece of writing – in the writing itself (so descriptive) and the emotion. I have a question to close out – when you write lyrics, do you have music in mind? Or do you ever put music to the lyrics afterward?

Once again, happy anniversary!

Best wishes,
Os


House Stark image for G.o.T.


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