Friday, 18 August 2017

Interview With Melle Amade and review of Sanctuary

I am delighted to be welcoming Melle Amade to the blog today for both an interview and a review of her book - Sanctuary. Here's a little bit about Melle:

I'm a Marketing Director who dictates novels on my 2-hour commute to work and manages 2 small children and a husband when I'm home. I have 2 novels and a novella published, with 3 more coming out this summer. 

And now onto the interview!

What made you want to be a writer?
I think I was a born storyteller, which doesn't necessarily mean I'm good just means it has always been the way I expressed myself. I began writing, producing and directing plays when I was eight and then over the years produced my work at the Sydney Opera House before I received my MFA in Film. Now I'm focused on telling stories in novel format.

What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
I go both ways. Sometimes I just have a story in my head and start telling it. Usually, those are the stories I have to go back and heavily edit. The smoothest experience is when I come up with a character and a situation, let that play out in my head for a month or so, then write it down in outline format before I write the full manuscript.

If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
I write all over the world. From beaches in Greece to private jets to huts in Indonesia to my couch at home to suites overlooking Big Ben in London. For me, writing isn't a matter of location it's a matter of having time and space in my schedule.

What attracted you to your chosen genre?
I like kick ass heroes and the world not being what we think we are seeing but something more. There is excitement in discovering unexpected experiences and magic.

Do you prefer to type or hand write?
I actually dictate the first draft of everything. I have so little time in my day to write, dictating during my drive-time is the fastest way for me to get a story onto the page. Then I edit on the computer.

Do you have any hobbies?
I'm a marketing director by day and have a family with two small kids, so it's hard to squeeze hobbies in there with my publishing career. But travelling fits in with all of it really nicely and I also like run, meditate and do yoga. =)

What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
Emotional angst, I'd have to say. Usually when someone is deep in their feelings or hashing out their feelings on someone else. It's probably core to the reason that I became an author.

It’s survival of the fittest, but first you have to fit in.

Shae is sure the icy rage that claws at her is driving away her friends and pulling her closer to the wrong boy. After all, it’s Aiden she has always secretly wanted, not Callum, who has barely spoken to her in the last year.

But, as her protected life unravels, she discovers the violent supernatural world that lurks in her quiet hometown and the ancient feuds that threaten to destroy both her friends and her family.

To save those she loves, Shae must succumb to her own fury and take on the Ravensgaard, the renegade warriors of the Order, but as the battle approaches her deepest fears are coming true, she’s becoming just like them. Shae's not sure she can afford the price she'll have to pay—her own humanity.

Sanctuary is a teen paranormal romance for fans of shifters and Gothic romance. Fans of Flightless Bird and White Raven will be enchanted by this strong female seeking truth in a world of secrets and mystery.

My Review: 5 stars
This book was delightful! I was drawn in from the first page and was desperate to learn more about where her friends had been, why they were pulling away and what the story was with her mom and her temper. Desperate to find answers about her own feelings, she tries very hard to stay close to her friends. The book is exciting with so many twists and turns that I was hooked from the first page until the end. I read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!

You can follow Melle on Facebook or her website.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Questions From Readers - August 2017 [CC]


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

After a day of work time to cuddle with Miss Penne and a good book! #beingawriter #joeyreads #indieauthor #readersofinstagram #reading #pastacats #snuggles #catsofinstagram #kitty #cuddles #misspenne

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#TEASERTUESDAY Will Harriet be able to save Dot and her family? Find out here: #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #mysterybooks #paranormalbooks #readersofinstagram #reading #writesofig #authosofig #bookstagram #bookboost #readersofig

Monday, 14 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

It's a great day for writing with Dobby to cheer me on! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress #harrypotter

12 Years Published - The Creative Process


Thursday was my 12th Authorversary and I thought that I would take the time today to do a little piece about everything that has changed since then. Looking back on 2005 and the route I took into publishing and where I am now is a massive task. I was 23, and desperate to have one book, if nothing else, on other people's bookshelves. Now at 35, I have 11 books published and another six finished and sitting on my "cooking shelf" ready to be edited and released in the coming years. I'm also working on two more and steaming through them both. But let's turn back the clock to the 10th August 2005 and that day when I could officially call myself a published author. I have learned so much since then and I'm gonna share that with you.

Blackout was published in 2005 and the way it worked, I got my own copies of the paperback in the post on August 10th. I can't possibly describe the feeling that came with holding my work in a proper published book. I made so many mistakes, but that wasn't one of the things I did wrong. My first mistake was going with a vanity press. I won't name them, but it wasn't the best option for me. To give you an idea of why I went the direction I did, I was, still am, very sick. My chronic conditions were hitting me left and right and centre and there was a possibility that given the state I was in, things would go downhill and I wouldn't be around for much longer. Things changed since then in some ways, in others they are still the same, but that was my frame of mind. One thing I knew I wanted to do was be published and so when I was approached by a vanity press I was more than happy to go that route.

Back in those days ebooks weren't really a thing and sites like KDP, Smashwords and Draft2Digital weren't around. I saw them as my only chance to be published. I had approached numerous agents and while I always got a personal reply saying they saw great promise in my work, they were also always rejections. I wanted to hold my book and knowing that there was no way I could afford to do this more than once, I went with Blackout which was, at the time, my best work in my eyes. At that point I hadn't finished Lynne & Hope so only had four books written. I would go on to write more later, but at that moment I did what I thought was best for me and my dreams.

Those mistakes I mentioned? Oh there were plenty, one being the whole decision to go with a vanity publisher. I tried my best to build a platform, to get the word out, but I didn't have the first clue what I was doing, and nor did they. Without more money changing hands they weren't going to sink into promotion and I didn't have anything to do it with. Although that dream was accomplished that day, I didn't ever think I would publish anything more. When the 12 month contract was up, I didn't renew. Yet to this day I still get calls from them promising me movie deals and ebooks of a book I have since published again, and have since sold more copies than I ever did with them. They promise me the world for a chunk of cash. So that was a big mistake. But at the same time, not one that I can really say I regret. It got me started and it gave me a very real view of what the publishing world was like.

Fast forward about ten months and I was approached by a publishing house, an actual legit publisher. It wasn't one of the big five, and again, I'm not naming names, but they were interested in signing me as an author. I was, again, very sick, and in and out of hospital pretty much like clockwork once every six weeks. I could barely keep my day-to-day life in schedule, let alone doing more than that. I was in college and planning to go to uni. It became clear very quickly that any additional stress was only going to make me sicker. I worked hard and I wrote when I could, and I now had four completed books that hadn't been published, but given the deadlines and the additional work that would have been on me, that deal didn't work out. I don't see that as a mistake either. It was the right decision for me, for my health and ultimately it was the best decision I could've made at that point in my life.

Fast forward to 2011 and KDP made it possible for me to not only re-publish Blackout, but to add the first Dying Thoughts book to my efforts. Since then I've published another nine books and as I said above, written eighteen in total. I am very happy as an indie author. I'm my own boss and while I am not the big fish, and probably will never be the big fish, it works for me. I write full time. I finished my degree in 2014 and have no plans to go back to uni for a Masters or anything. On top of that, I am building my platform, something that is taking a long time because it takes time. And that's okay. I have learned a few things in that time which I'll share with you.

Even if it's the very bottom of the food chain, everyone has to start somewhere. There's no shame in being new and there's no shame in taking your time.

I skipped this step once or twice and I'm still paying for that now. Don't be me, do it right the first time and remember that you'll thank yourself for it later down the road.

I was always worried about spamming people and in that regard yes, that is too much, but planning things and cross-posting and allowing all platforms to have the details is not a bad thing. Make sure people know where to pre-order/buy your book, when it's out and what it's about. You will create so many tweets and instagram and tumblr posts that you'll have the synopsis nailed to a few sentences.

I didn't do ARCs for the first few books, I wasn't sure how I'd manage it and I wasn't all that together once I did get the idea to do it. But I did it this year and while I didn't have a huge number of reviews, I did have some and because of that I also now have an ARC team for future releases. It's worth it to have reviews there on release day or the coming days afterwards.

Author friends are a life saver when it comes to both promo and cross-promoting and also just when you wanna talk about writing stuff. I have a huge circle of people I can call on who write both in my genre and outside of it. I have other YA friends as well as Adult and NA friends. It's good to be in that circle because so many indie authors know each other and it helps you build connections that can really help you.

One thing I never did do, but have seen in the author community, both indie, traditional and hybrid, is that some people feel like they're competing with other authors in their genre and that's just...not true. Think about it, a reader doesn't buy one book by one author and that's it! Readers, by definition, read! There are more than enough for everyone to share. And allowing yourself to celebrate other people's successes makes for a less toxic community for everyone and it'll be a good thing for you too.

I did a piece a couple of weeks ago (found here) about social media and how it works for you as an author. It's is a life line and a great way to connect with both authors and readers. I know it can seem like a lot of work, and it is a lot of work, but it is so worth it! I'm talking twitter and Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube and all of the rest. Find a way to connect with your readers because that helps build your visibility.

I know this feels like it's more for people who, like me, are also chronically ill and/or disabled, but it's a good one to take away for many other writers as well. If you're indie or traditional or a hybrid of the two, find your own limits and work within them. Don't spread yourself too thin and don't set yourself up to fail. You find something that works for you and everybody is their own boss in that respect. But don't forget to take breaks, pushing your body to breaking point just hurts you and nobody wants that.

As I said above, success doesn't just instantly happen and while at twelve years published I'm still a small fish, I am further along than I was this time last year or the year before that. It takes time, more for some, less for others, but along with not competing against other authors, don't compare. Your journey is not theirs and it will take you as long as it takes.

Everyone starts somewhere and part of starting somewhere means that sometimes things will happen and you'll not know what the normal thing to do is. You learn by asking and there is no shame in being able to ask for help.

#11. - SET GOALS.

This is something I wish someone had told me. Setting a monthly list of goals has been one of the major reasons that my writing is regularly happening and that I get things done. It doesn't have to be monthly, some people do two-weekly, some do two-monthly, some do quarterly goals, but whatever works for you. I find the sticky notes and the monthly post work for me and it makes me so much more productive!


Or the second time. Part of writing a novel is just getting the words on the page and then you can start to chop it up and rewrite bits before it goes to an editor. There's a reason people say the first draft of anything is shit. It's not you, it's just how it works!

And finally, #13. - ENJOY YOURSELF.
There's nothing, for me at least, that compares to release day. To holding my stories in paperback and seeing them on my shelves and on stranger's shelves too. I love the community I have built and I love every pitfall and every success. Not everyone can say they've been published or even finished a book, that's a hell of an achievement, so celebrate that and enjoy yourself along the way. Yes, you will have bad days and yes it is bloody hard, but it's your passion and you earned it.

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. You can also sign up to her newsletter here.

Friday, 11 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

And my day off is over! Another four days of work starting today with a #LightsOff chapter. And Professor McGonagall is keeping watch on me while I work! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress #harrypotter

Interview with May Freighter and review of Russian Roulette

I am pleased to welcome May Freighter to the blog today for an interview and review of her book - Russian Roulette. Here's a little about May.

May Freighter is an internationally bestselling author from Dublin, Ireland. She writes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Sci-Fi mysteries that will keep you entertained, mystified, and hopefully craving more. Her only pets are cacti. They're the sole things that survived. It may be too dangerous to entrust her with an animal while she's engrossed in writing. ​ On sunny, rainy, and overcast days, she spends her time with her fictional friends, putting them through dangerous adventures while wishing them the best of luck. Her hobbies are photography, drawing, and plotting different ways of a characters' demise.

And onto the interview!

What made you want to be a writer?
I had a lot of stories brewing in my head when I was on a bus or bored in class. I never paid much attention to them until one day I started writing one down. Over time, a page became ten, a chapter turned into more. After a couple of months, I was looking at a book of 120,000 words. I guess from that point on, I started to consider writing as a possible career path. It was something I enjoyed and the feedback I got from my beta readers urged me to continue on.

What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure, I tend to read Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Mystery.

What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
I used to plan all the time. Being a bit of a control freak, it was hard for me to start a book without knowing exactly what will happen in it. But, as the years went by, I noticed that I began trusting my characters more. If they are developed enough, they take the reins and guide the plot to its conclusion.
How does your average writing time go?
I try to start writing after sorting through my emails and messages. So, I could end up writing from 10 a.m. until 3-5 p.m. If I can do more after such a long session, I tend to continue on until late into the evening. Remembering to take breaks is important. It’s easy to get lost in the story you’re writing and forget that there are dishes that need washing or laundry that needs doing.
What book/character of yours is your favourite?
If I had to pick one, I would say Lucious Ellwood—a vampire from Helena Hawthorn Series. He is complex on many levels, and it was hard getting into his shoes in the beginning. Initially, he was not a character who easily shared what was in his heart. He distrusted people and other supernatural beings easily as that was how life had shaped him. But, even though he has done a lot of terrible things in his past, he tries to redeem himself by doing his best to change for Helena. I believe his willingness to change and adapt for love makes him my favourite character.
If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
Somewhere with a great view like in the countryside or at a mountain lodge. Busy cities are distracting and noisy. I like to work in peace. It helps me think.
What attracted you to your chosen genre?
Mystery, whether in paranormal or in sci-fi series that I write, is a genre that I love and always will. I think a story must have a good mystery embedded in the plot. So, I try to entertain my readers by putting my characters into situations where many people tell lies, change facts, use others—much like in real life.
How have other writers influenced your own writing?
There are many authors I am thankful to for their guidance, support, friendship, or simply for being the reason why I write in the genres that I do. I’ve spent my childhood and teenage years enjoying paranormal stories, murder mysteries, horror, and they had all influenced my style. To name a few who have influenced my writing or helped me with advice: Darren Shan, L. J. Smith, Christopher Pike, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, C. J. Laurence, R. K. Close, Anna Santos, and Juliet Lyons.
Do you prefer to type or hand write?
I prefer to type. When I first started writing, I wrote in the notebook and it took forever to transfer everything onto the computer. I still remember long evenings after college where I sat on the bed and looked back and forth between my scribbles and the laptop screen. It took twice as long, so I stuck with putting everything straight into the computer unless it’s the plot outline, maps, backstories, or character descriptions. Those I prefer to write out in the notebooks.
Do you have a writing playlist? Or do you prefer silence?
Silence works best for me. I only prefer listening to music when I am designing a book cover for someone or drawing.
Do you have any hobbies?
My hobbies are binge-watching TV series, drawing, walking in the park, and photography. I would love to add travelling to that one day.
What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
I would have to pick action sequences. They tend to go by so fast that I don’t notice the time flying by.
Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
Of course. I love playing with different genres. As an experiment and to push my own boundaries, I try out new genres now and again to see if I am comfortable with them and if they are something I would like to improve and work on more.
What does your writing space look like?
It consists of a laptop, a mouse because I prefer it to the touchpad and it’s easier to edit things, a cup of tea, and that’s about it. I do prefer working behind a desk, but if it’s taken then I often end up typing on the sofa.

Who could guess that one brush of a fingertip over a shimmering soul-string could flip your world upside down and inside out?

Nineteen-year-old Helena’s life changes when her spirit enters the Angel Realm in search of her father. But, things don’t go as planned. Against her guardian angel’s warnings, she binds her soul to a vampire—a creature she thought only existed in horror movies.

Lucious has spent his immortality looking for the monsters who killed his sire. The last thing he needs is to be vulnerable because of a bond with a reckless girl. Yet, he sees how he can turn this to his advantage. Believing that Helena possesses great power, he plans to use her against the Council as a bargaining chip.

When Helena meets the gorgeous and also terrifying vampire with whom she’s now stuck sharing an emotional bond, she realises that her life will never be the same. Despite fighting against Lucious’s manipulative ways, she can’t deny their attraction.

As their desire for each other intensifies, she needs to know if she can trust him. After all, her life and soul are on the line.

My review: 4 stars
I loved the synopsis of this book and so picked it up hoping for a good read, and it was very much a good read. Helena's life changes when she ends up joining her soul to a vampire. From there she finds her life changing rapidly from that of a normal teenager at college to someone mixed up in the supernatural world of vampires, and demons. The story is engaging and well written. I loved the way it was told and my only criticism is sometimes Helena came off as more annoying than likeable. Having said that she was going through hell so that's understandable. The story moves rapidly from point to point and ends on a note that will leave you desperate for the next in the series. I'm not a vampire book lover, but I know i'll be reading book two. Recommended.

You can follow May on Twitter, Facebook or her website.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

Happy 12th Authorversary Joey! Twelve years ago today Blackout was first published! How far I have come since! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #authosofig #writesofig #writersofinstagram #ilovewriting #authorversay #12years #11books

From Joey's Instagram

And hair is did! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #hairdid