Tuesday, 22 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#teasertuesday Love is love right? Buy here: http://amzn.to/2qVQqDG #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #bookstagram #bookboost #authosofig #ilovewriting #readersofig #readersofinstagram #reading #INAR #amreading

Monday, 21 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

Kicking ass and taking names book wise! Black Widow would approve! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress #blackwidow

Writing Different Characters - The Creative Process


One thing you pick up quickly as a writer is that you'll be writing many many different characters. Whatever your genre, you're going to need to vary the characters, their descriptions and their back-stories. I'm gonna give you my tips on how to create and diversify your cast of characters. Diversify is a big thing too because we're not just talking about their physical looks, but also their culture, their ethnicity, their religion, their sexuality and their disabled status. It all sounds pretty simple and it really is, but it's something that I've learned along the way and wanted to pass that on to you guys. So here we go.

I mean look outside your window and watch people walk by. No two people are generally the same. That can also apply to characters in your novel. While there might be a default you go to when thinking up a new person, but you need to remember that there should always be some diversity. I don't just mean in skin colour and all the rest, but while you may have one character with long black hair and brown eyes, another character with long black hair and brown eyes is still going to have some marked differences. Whether that's in their build or the shape of their faces, there are always going to be differences. And that's a good thing.

I know that it's a pretty hot button topic right now in the writing world. There's those who fall into the camp of they'll write what they want and that's final and then there's those, like me, who agree that white, cis, abled and straight are not the default. In my first few novels, it wasn't something I thought about too much. That's down to my own white privilege. While I did have some disabled characters, I didn't have many LGBTQ, or characters of colour. A lot of the argument is that why should it matter? Those in the no camp think that because the story isn't about being gay/black/disabled/trans etc, that it doesn't matter. They're wrong. Go back to the first point. Look out of your window and you will see so many different people walk past. Go further than that and look around at your friend group and beyond. There are so many different people in that out of the seven billion in the world, no two are exactly the same. Your story doesn't have to be about being gay/trans/black/disabled etc. for it to be possible for your characters to be any of those things. It's something I'm learning to do myself, but I think it's something every author should be aware of.


I don't know about you, but I find it easier to start with the name. Once I know what my character is going to be called then I can go from there and work out what they look like, how they act, what their end goal is. It all starts with a name. I know some writers look down on using name sites and all the rest, and if you don't need to that's great, but that doesn't mean that if you do use them, that you're less of a writer. I've been inspired for names in many different ways. I've called people and things various weird names and some of them were simply because that was what was in my eye-line at the time. But when it comes to choosing the name, you want it to fit the character. So don't be ashamed or afraid of having to research or look into what name means what.

Now I don't generally write down what kind of personality a character has. I'm very much a hybrid in planning and that goes for creating characters too. I did a video (here) and a blog post (here) on being a hybrid. That said, I do know that it's not just about that initial creation and moving further into writing these characters. You don't want to have several characters who all have the same personality. While it's a good thing if they have stuff in common, they're going to approach things differently. I'm not a big personality person in that I don't know the Myers-Briggs type for every character (or even myself!) but when you're writing you'll find that it becomes clear what kind of personality your character will have. Same goes for likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and so on.

And finally, #5 - THEY NEED A END GOAL
Again this can be something you plan, or it can be something you don't work out until you're writing. I've done both and it's really just about what works for you. Whichever path you choose you need to know how it's going to play out at some point. If you want them to be a bad guy, then you need to know that. If you want them to be kinda bad, but turn away from it, again, you need to know that. I had one character who started out good but the more I wrote them, the clearer it became that they weren't. So when writing and creating characters, be aware that at some point, they're gonna need a purpose, otherwise what are they there for?

Building characters is something that every writer will do, and you'll do it a lot. It's not just the people that make up your writing, but it's the little things as well. While I'm more of a bare bones writer, that doesn't mean that you need to be as well. If you find that writing out a character profile works for you, then go ahead and do it. You have to find what helps you best and enables you to be the best writer you can be.

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.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

From Joey's Instagram

And its late but I'm still not done writing! Almost finished chapter 16 of the month so onwards! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress

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]

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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: http://amzn.to/1TxqXo1 #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.