Covid – Parosmia – and Anorexia

Trigger Warning – this will contain weight numbers.

I kind of really haven’t blogged in so so long.

But I feel there are a few things that are coming up that I think some people might want to hear about, and as I’ve never hidden who I am, where I came from, and here I am again.

2019 was a great year, I gave up my day job to become a full-time writer, and it was awesome. The beginning of 2020 started off just as it should. And on that side of things. I’m so very happy still.

Then Covid hit. I risked a short trip to London just as the UK was to go into official Lockdown to meet my publisher and my friends, and we had a wonderful time, even with the hammer over our heads.

The UK went into lockdown over that following weekend.

Listening to and watching my friends leave the UK to get to their various homes around the world was pretty scary. I admit some were touch and go, had to go through hoops to get home.

I was home, and we went into lockdown that week. 16th March.

My husband, as some know is a public service provider, he drives a bus for a local company. We did as we should; we hunkered down and got on with life.

It was April the 5th he felt unwell and called in sick for work.

We could not get Covid tests anywhere.

I started to feel ill a couple of days later, and by wed I had a cough, by Friday the 10th April I had no smell/taste and a high fever. The cough was the worst; the pain was the worst, everything ached.

I posted to my Facebook page as much as I could to let people know, to track my sick.

Some of Paul’s work colleagues were also sick at that time, and eventually when we started to get a bit better, we finally got tested, 29th April. Both Negative.

My smell kinda came back a bit through the summer, then we hit some very stressful times, and I had no idea it could happen. But it turned to parosmia around 16 weeks ago.

This became a terrible fight over food and eating. For a few weeks all I could manage were carbs, and it was breaking me. Weight wise and emotional wise. My coffee smelled disgusting, tasted worse than anything in my life, and I was sick often.

I had no idea it was parosmia and asked for some blood tests.

All that showed was low Irion and Vit D. I was at the time weighed by my nurse but I asked not to be told what it was I was utterly depressed about it.

On October the first to save my own sanity I returned to something I knew was safe that I have blogged about here in 2015. Litpotrim.

At first the shakes were the worst, the headaches still as bad as they were back then, but it settled and I could actually get on with my days.

I learned from a friend that there was this after effect of covid, parosmia, and I found the facebook group Absent run –

Finding people suffering like me was a godsend. But this isn’t over.

I tried to ask my doctor for antibody tests, not something they do, I warned them I was heading downwards with this, and it wasn’t going to be so good. But I felt very let down.

My 12 week check with my nurse revealed the how much weight I’d lost 11kg. That was

I’m now just weeks into lipotrim and the weight as it would fell off. But I’m getting to the point where I’ve also not much to left to lose.

I took part in absent’s disorder eating meeting over –

It was enlightening. But tough.

I have a long way to go, scared to eat, scared to even be around food. My husband comes in and cooks and I want to be sick 😦

I’ve made an appointment with my doctor (phone) again to try to see what support I can get, what I can do.

I’m going to try to reintroduce food, I’ve got to.

This is me, raw and honest.

Covid sucks, the after effects sucks.

I’ll post and blog some more as I can.


New jobs, New Regime.

So today I am starting a new thing up.
I have so many AudioBooks I haven’t gotten around to reviewing, and in fact actually listening to at all. 
And I am trying to walk, an hour each day. My working day job, is at 1 day per week… for a while, and I can take that. So, need to keep fit and do something fun too.  This is it. 
Sitting at a computer is not good for ones health all day long… even as much as I do love writing… and audio proofing. It just isn’t easy on the back, or the weight. 
My goal will be to review once more and to actually get through some of this backlog. haha I know I’ve been saying it for months. But, watch this space. 
But here’s the thing. I will also be reviewing openings… daily. 
The opening of an audiobook just like everything else is very important.
Now, you’ve got an hour.
Impress me.

New Regime/More Audiobooks!

With moving to part-time work, more writing! I need great books to listen to. This one’s been in my queue for a while, and I’m an hour in today 🙂 Really enjoying the humour and the narrator’s not bad so far either. Kept me on a good pace, and will listen to more tomorrow.



An Epic Series from the pen of Vasilyev winner of the Best Book of the Year!

Welcome to the Land of Fayroll where full immersion virtual reality gaming doesn’t just exist, it thrives!

Tasked with a new assignment, journalist Harriton is given explicit orders to write a series of articles on the Virtual Gaming World of Fayroll and its developers. Harriton grudgingly accepts the assignment but soon finds himself enthralled by the virtual fantasy world and its amazing quests, unpredictable challenges and nearly endless possibilities.

As ‘Hagen the Warrior’, he skeptically enters the fantasy world where the thirst for success and vanity of high-level players in pursuit of legendary objects spills into the real world. Here, high-stakes bets are made on the success of the virtual characters. Events and decisions that Harriton makes in the virtual space as Hagen now start to affect his own reality.

Check out the book here –
Audiobook is also here –

My Writing/Edit Process



There are a fair few people who have asked me about my editing process because my books have very few errors. (This post may well have errors, fair warning)

So, I’m going to post it here.

Everyone has a different way of doing things, and you will get used to your own. Just practice and test things out. See what you have fun with, what works and what doesn’t.

I am a screenwriter by trade. Yeah, you can look me up. That means I write really lean and mean. Fast action and really hard-hitting pace. I don’t screw around. This does sometimes mean my prose suffers. My style thus comes from a lot of hard work and in using the best people around me to work with me to beat the crap out of me… (err my writing, lol)

This is how I do it.

1 – Writing – 

For the most part I have that ‘movie’ in my head. I see everything in script form, so this means either a 3-act structure or a 5-act. Totally depends on my mood and thus easy to spot in my novels.

I’ve had coaches from all over the world, spoke with and learned a lot from them. I have relished every time someone selling for a living has made the time to reach out and let me know what they loved, and what they think I needed to work on.

Dialogue for me comes naturally. All the fluff description, nope.

I sit down. My choice of venue is because of the people I have met there over the last 3 years. It works. It pushes me beyond any other writing app. Usually, I write out 800-1500 words in 25 mins, with a break. Then start again. Because I work full time 30-40 hours a week, my daily goal is 3-6k it really just depends on the mood. I push for the higher end and most times I do it. But, work… drains me, so I’m happy with the 1 chapter. My days off or when doing a short shift, I aim for 6-10k

2 – First pass – Typos and Punctuation

This is without a doubt the hardest pass for me, because it’s literally just the typo, punctuation pass. I am no grammar guru, I’ve learned a lot in the last few years. I also know I suck at it. When I sprint, I also tend to miss out ‘speech marks’ so I have to insert a whole lotta them. Sometimes I miss a good few, I hope I catch them all, but I know I don’t too.

3 – Dedicated Alfa team

Yes, I do have some really amazing people. They will look over this if I ask them. I don’t usually, but it’s there if I need them. This is only if I’m unsure about where something is going, I’m usually pretty good with direction though.

4 – My Second Pass

This is where I pick apart the arc in each chapter, that means I look at how it begins, where it goes and where it ends. Get in late, get out early. This all means I look at each overall length and decide if it works.

5 – Character depth/word use

Two hits here, if it is in third POV and I am using a multicast, (like for The Secret King) this is a check on their screen time. If it’s in First Person POV then I make use of this time by doing a quick over word usage check. I have my crutch words and so do many other people.

6 – Dev editing

For some of my smaller pieces, I’ve not used paid Dev Editing. This is because my Alfa and Beta readers are fantastic and I’ve been able to work with them to fix any smaller holes. This works for me because of my scripting. I do love shorter pieces, they were the most fun in film school and beyond. Using all the tricks to get those hooks into readers in the least possible time.

7 – Fixing

This means I have to read the dev edit notes. Step away. It takes me a day or so to let any feedback settle. No matter my time schedule. I don’t rush this. I trust my muse, but sometimes it’s the tiniest way of wording something that makes the story or my meaning of it come out better, easier. This process usually takes the longest, and is one I cherish, because, without the notes from those readers, my worlds would never be as polished. I value my ‘editors like gold’ because they are. If you find someone who you love to work with. DON’T ABUSE THEM.

8 – Letting the whole thing sit

This is also a pretty important part of editing for me. To take a break from something. There’s not always time for me to step away from a project for long. This year’s schedule has been intense as all hell. 1 million words! I think I was crazy, but I am almost there! One book left to write… just one!

So for me, it might not be ‘walking away’ and coming back to it a few weeks later. The dev edit stage is a good time for me to do something else. To let the muse wander to another world and to see and play over there for a while. This is my way of breaking.

For some I know it’s to play a game they’ve been waiting on for a week, to take a reading holiday, or binge-watch the shows they’ve missed out on.

For me, it’s also cleaning house… making sure I spend extra time with family or Bobby J

9 – My final Read through and Pass

Scrivener is brilliant. Working with Editors is also brilliant, but they work in word. So the passing to and from Scrivener gives me a headache. For this stage, it’s mostly in Word now… so I make sure it’s in my format template for the story world, and I sit and read through – backwards…. Scrivener is great because the Mac version will read to you. There are lots of programs out there that you can convert to, that will also do this. I highly recommend it.

10 – Copy Edits

I have used a few people over the years, but trust RMJ Editing the most, and the edits for the books she’s worked on get high praise indeed. There are many reasons as to why I love this editing service, Rogena has never let me down. She’s pulled out all the stops with serious attention to detail and her extra comments on my story have helped me even beyond dev editing. You can find her website details and services here –

Other than RMJ Editing, I have used Chimera Editing Services, this was a last-minute jump due to time constraints. I found no fault with their work at all either. I would use them again in a heartbeat. Very professional and affordable.

11 – Working through copy edits and final notes

Sometimes there’s still the odd thing that needs a little building on. Although Copy edits are supposed to be just that. It’s great to get a note to say if something isn’t quite working so I can still fix it. This comes with trust, and in building working relationships with the editors you use. I choose to use different people along the way because I get the most value and differences of opinion throughout.

I take my time here also, go through each page. Mostly I agree with things, sometimes I don’t. And a change here and there’s not accepted.

12 – Final Proofing

I can ask a couple of amazing people to help here, and I treasure them just as much as anyone else, having these people around you, means the most. They can focus on anything, missing/wrong on the ‘reader’ level.

Do not skip this part either!

For paid proofers I’ve used some from Fiver, who were pretty darned good for the prices, and most recently Jerome Kroger who is in the process of setting up his editing websites and services. All found and spotted just a few things that I’d missed.


Hitting that button is the scariest thing you might ever do! We all worry about it… we wait with anticipation and refresh amazon… all day long…

Think about how you word things to us… J reviews help! Kind words and helpful spots also help… choose how you do so with the integrity you’d like someone to reciprocate.

However, that is never the end! Always just a little tweak or ten!

There will be a couple of pesky typos or missing words that get through.

14  – Audiobook Pass

I hadn’t considered this one before I started Audiobook’s. But it is…. And this one embarrasses me because sometimes no matter the huge effort I put in above, the narrator will always spot the odd inconsistency that we missed. Sigh.


I adore them all, they have picked out a few typos and wrong word choices. But, yes, this is a really final pass over… although usually, it’s also way after the publishing phase.

So, there you have it. My process.

How do you do it?


The Starving Artists – Howard Casner – $.99c!

A great new review for my book The Starving Artists… To celebrate, I am offering the collection for $.99, one penny under a dollar, until Tuesday, 9/18. AND DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A REVIEW


The review: This is a very good read. Each story is creepy or unsettling and just long enough to get your attention. The one about the artists was a little too close to home! The last story could have been a screenplay. It’s so vivid and satisfying. All together an enjoyable experience-Thanks CD


For those who like the weird, the odd, the out there, here are nine stories with supernatural and sci-fi themes, from a DJ who might or might not be the last person on earth, to a visit from aliens about our nuclear capability, to a young boy whose life changes when “he” came out of the desert. Expect the unexpected in THE STARVING ARTISTS and other stories ( –


The reviews are glowing:


Howard Casner…has a unique imagination and a strong voice. Each of these finely-crafted tales creates its own little universe of surprises and satisfaction…predicated on suspense and sleight of hand…It should be noted – and this is an especially valuable quality for short stories – that we understand these characters immediately: Casner does a lot with spare writing. He says what he means, gets off the page and lets the reader’s imagination take care of the rest. 5 stars without reservation. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.


Casner’s stories will knock you out with his brilliant style, quirky characters, darkly comedic dilemmas, and savage wit. A few of them are so exquisitely twisted and downright uncomfortable that you’ll put your hands over your eyes, but peek between your fingers because they’re so wickedly juicy. High recommend!


So help me make this month’s rent…okay, my next meal. The Starving Artists and other stories, now available at Amazon for $.99. Also, check out the second edition of my screenwriting book, More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, also on Amazon