Tuesday, 10 December 2019

#TeaserTuesday

With everything going on around her, this news feels like it'll break her...



[ID: A blueish background with the header of: Dying Thoughts - Seventh Death, and a smaller heading of: Out now in ebook & paperback. The excerpt reads:

I watched as she nodded a few times and then hung up.
“Is everything okay? Is something wrong at home?” I asked, my brain still not clicking that it was *my* phone.
“Tara, it’s your dad,” she said and I felt my heart jump up and lodge in my throat. As impossible as that sounds, I swear I could feel it pumping away just below my vocal cords. “There’s been an accident.” 


END ID]

Monday, 9 December 2019

Spoonie Writer: Dealing With Holidays


SPOONIE WRITER: DEALING WITH HOLIDAYS

It's that time of year again, when everything seems to pile up at once and all the spoonies in the world are struggling to get through a stressful, flare-filled time of year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or any other holiday towards the end of the year, you're having to deal with pain, writing, and relatives all in one foul swoop. We're not there yet, but I thought that I would start us off right and give you some of my tips for both keeping on schedule and also not working yourself into a flare.

I celebrate Christmas and usually spend this time of year going between parents, and getting all the bits and pieces together for both the holiday and the stuff that happens afterwards. I'm pretty lucky to have parents who get that I need to do things on a schedule and that things can change at any time. The new oxygen concentrator I have now is a smaller one, but it has a limited battery so that means making sure I can charge it up when needed. But that's just me, how are you going to balance both writing and getting through the holiday season? Glad you asked, because I have some tips for you!

#1 PLAN AHEAD

As you all know by now, I am a super planner when it comes to my time. I've talked about how I use Sticky Notes to plan my month and slot things in when needed. (Piece found here) You don't have to go to that level, or even use the same idea, but planning your time, and when you're seeing who and all of that will help you schedule things like rest days and days for writing. It doesn't work for everyone, but it's been a massive help for me.

It means that I can make sure my writing days are blocked off, but that the days when I'm seeing family or doing something strenuous can be surrounded with low impact days, or days off completely so that I can recharge and make sure that I'm not going to be pushing myself into a flare.

#2 HAVE DAYS TO DO NOTHING
Along with point one, there should, always, but especially around the holidays, be days when you do nothing. As a spoonie, you know that your energy levels can change and can have an impact on what you're doing. So filling your time with high-impact stuff is just going to make you miserable, and possibly sick. I try to make sure that I have at least two days a month where I'm doing nothing, but I also have a lot of low-impact days to counter the days when I'm working long hours. It's important to rest!

#3 COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE

There are gonna be some instances where you have to cancel, or you need to alter how things are done. I know it sucks, I know it's hard to advocate for yourself and that for some people, their families aren't supportive. But if you can, let people know what you're able to do, and how long you can stay. Allow them to plan for times when you might not make it. This goes into planning your time, but make sure those important to you know what you're planning to do any one day. Have some flexibility in your schedule so that you're not having to squeeze things in when you really don't have time.

#4 ACCEPT THAT SOME PEOPLE WON'T GET IT
I really wish this wasn't something I had to say, but it is. There are always going to be some people who demand your time, or just don't get that you can't do everything, and they won't listen to you when you try to explain. I've been there, I've done that, and it's hard as hell. My only advice is to try and not take it personally, which is a big ask when this is something that you have no control over. I get it, I do. My parents are divorced, Dad lives an hours drive from me, and sometimes he and my step-mum don't get that I can't stay for hours and hours and still be okay to get home. I've tried explaining it, but it seems to go over their heads. So I just accept that they're not going to get it, and move on.

AND FINALLY, #5 TRY AND HAVE A GOOD TIME
I say try, because some times there's nothing to do but call the day a loss and move past it. You might have all the plans in the world and half of them have to be cancelled or fall through because of health stuff. You might have plans to write all through the holidays and find that actually, you can't, but try not to let this have an impact on your enjoyment. It's supposed to be a good time, and I say that knowing that things get really stressful over the holidays. The money aspect, the time suck, and the fact that for some of us, we just want to write and get through the month in one piece. But try to make sure that you schedule something in there that you know you will enjoy, something that maybe relaxes you and doesn't take as many spoons, but just take care of yourself.

The holidays are a stressful time for most people, but for spoonies, there's the added risk of falling ill, or having a flare in the middle of them. It's a game I play with my body every year since my birthday falls at the end of the holiday season. If I can make it through Christmas, New Year and then my birthday, I'm pretty happy, and then it's all over and done for a year, and I breathe a big sigh of relief.

Happy writing, and I hope you're able to enjoy this holiday season! Lemme know your tips and tricks for fellow spoonie writers in the comments below.


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

Friday, 6 December 2019

Interview with Emily Bourne & Review of In A Mirror


I am delighted to welcome Emily Bourne to the blog for both an interview and my review of her d├ębut novel, In A Mirror. Here's a little about Emily.


Emily Bourne is a laidback Aussie lass, until she becomes too hyperactive on her YouTube channel. Emily vlogs her writing experience and uses the platform to engage with other writers about the daunting process. She also engages readers with juicy tidbits about her beautifully flawed characters and emotional scenes from her novels.

Emily writes gushy romance, heart wrenching character growth, and anxiety driven scenes to make the coolest cat sweat. When she’s not writing, she’s on social media as her alias, @queenemilicious, or hanging out with IRL friends with too much coffee… or wine… or both.


And onto the interview!

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
Oh, that’s such a tough one. Obviously my main characters, the twins, Brittany and Charli are so much a part of me. I am a Gemini, so I have this kind of split personality and in a way I gave the twins each a part of me. Charli has my reclusive side, and Brittany has my wild, excitable side.

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?

I really love young adult contemporaries (which my book In A Mirror is) but I started writing in the genre because I always felt the books I read were lacking in ‘something’. I wanted more out of them, so I created my own stories.

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Chaotic, Fun, Over-achieving.

What was the first story you ever told?

I told this story in my Authortube Newbie Tag video on my YouTube channel. I was about six or seven years and wrote and illustrated a book about ‘Torty the Tortoise’. Torty was a baby Tortoise who had lost her mother and she explored the ocean trying to find her. It’s a reverse ‘Finding Nemo’ and yes, I’m still waiting for Pixar to send me my cheque. Ha ha!

Was writing always your dream choice of career?

Yes, I always wanted to be a writer but I was convinced I couldn’t make any money as an author. I did all these jobs I didn’t love because I thought it was what I “had to do”. I later found out about the world of self-publishing and all the work you can do with advertising and marketing to increase your reach to your target audience. The possibilities are endless if you are willing to out in the work. I am learning more and more each day and so excited about where this career can take me.

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!
 Yes, I’ve just moved and am still setting up my space, but finally have a room all to myself. I have my lovely desk and a wall of bookcases where my cat Norman likes to play.


Playlists? Yes or no? And why?
I do have certain music I listen to for each book. For example, Lana Del Rey’s music was fundamental is writing In A Mirror. I love her lyrics. In my book, Charli writes a lot of poetry, so Lana’s poetry was very inspirational to keep me going. Her music revolves around passionate love and tragic heartbreak which fits In A Mirror very nicely.

For other writing projects I’ve listened to Sia, Britney Spears, Billie Ellish, Hallsy, and Katy Perry. For me it’s all about ‘mood’.

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
It really depends. I always thought twitter, but now as I’ve started using Instagram again (which I thought I would never do) I think it depends on what the individual person finds fun. I enjoy making YouTube videos but so many people tell me they are terrified to get in front of the camera. If you’re terrified, I would say, don’t do it. I think people put too much pressure on themselves with social media. For me I say, block out all the people telling you to ‘build your author platform’. Have fun and be authentic, and the followers will come (eventually).

Where do you hang out most online?

YouTube. That’s where I produce the most content. I use Instagram to connect with other writers through DMs.

Do you have a favourite app for writing?

SCRIVENER! Did my love come through in the all caps? I adore Scrivener. I love it for outlining, drafting, and even formatting ebooks! I also use google dos and word, but scrivener feels like the inside of my brain on a computer screen. I love it. I bought it only two days onto my free trial.

Organised or not?
Define organised, ha ha ha. I just made a merch store to celebrate the release of In A Mirror, and one of my catchphrases on the clothing and other items is ‘organised chaos’. Does that tell you enough? I am organised from my perspective, but others might see it as a mess. (One of my other catchphrases is ‘it’s a mess but it works’.)

What's your favourite book you've read?

Just one? Toss up between ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls or ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden. They are the two books on my shelf I’d re-read in a heartbeat.

Morning or evening writer?
I am not a morning person so I naturally write more in the evenings, BUT, if I get up at 5am I find I am actually more productive in the mornings. So I am more productive as a morning writer, but I prefer to sleep in. It’s a struggle!

If you had a hashtag for your books, what would it be?

Well, In A Mirror currently has a hastag #IAMRelease and I have a hashtag #lunaticwritingabook - so I use these as somewhat “branding”. (I use the term branding quite loosely ha ha.)


  There’s more than lies in a reflection… Amid secrets and rumours, follow twins Brittany and Charli Matthews as they fight inner demons, dividing them, in the hell that is high school.

At a party, Brittany gets her first taste of popularity, but when another girl eyes the boy she likes, things take a few wrong turns. Whilst branding herself a loser, Brittany tries to keep her cool and joins the cheer squad and befriends the queen bees. Her obsession with her dream boy intensifies, but as they get closer, he seems to be holding secrets of his own. Brittany must decide whether popularity or the chance at love is what she really wants. But will she ever stop calling herself a loser and be happy in her own skin?

When Charli is at a party, uninvited guests shake up the dynamics with her friends and cause her to doubt the boyfriend she trusted. Attempting to avoid the morons at school, Charli focuses on her studies, hoping to bring her dad home. But she overdoes it and loses who she is. Charli must drop her single-minded approach if she wants to keep her loved ones close. But that means deciding who to trust and who to push away. If Charli puts herself first, will she find where her true happiness lies?


My Review: 5 stars
I picked this up as pre-order and have been dying to read it. The story was engaging from page one and I adored all the characters, though I did love Charli more than Brittany, both girls were so different from each other, and it was the kind of book you pick up and then never want to put it down. I was desperate to know what happened, and overall it was a definite 5 star read. Highly recommended and can't wait for the sequel and more books from this author!

You can follow Emily on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and 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.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

#TeaserTuesday

Tara is not having the best morning, everything is changing, but her dad forgetting her birthday? Not cool!



[ID: A graphic with a background of blurred lights. The heading is Dying Thoughts - Sixth Change with the smaller heading of: Out now in ebook & paperback. The excerpt reads:
I sat there and tried to process what he’d just said to me. He’d *forgotten* my birthday? What the hell? This was not like my dad to forget my birthday. Then again, it was the first birthday since he’d re-launched his career.
“You forgot? For real? You’re not just trying to set up a surprise?” I asked, trying to keep my anger in check. Maybe it was all an act? Dad usually has a tell, but I wasn’t seeing it.


END ID]

Monday, 2 December 2019

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Sometimes it's fun


THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: SOMETIMES IT'S FUN

For the start of December, I decided it would be a good idea to talk about the fun side of being a crime writer. I've done this before, more tongue-in-cheek posts than advice, and I've gotten mixed results. I had a few comments that seemed to imply that by writing crime novels for young adults, I'm trying to get them all into a good murder or two. Which made me laugh, but it also made me question how people see the act of writing about crime.

I've talked before about the darker sides of fiction, but I've never really discussed the side effect of writing which is, it's fun sometimes. I don't mean that I wake up every morning and am delighted to be a writer for my job, there are hard parts as I've also talked about. There are parts of the process I adore, and other parts I loathe, and even with the parts I love, there are always some days when that's not fun either. But that's not every day, and it's not all the time. It happens from time to time, and I don't mean that writing is all fun and games, it's a hard job to do and you have to go into it knowing that there will be times that you hate what you're doing, but pushing through will bring you out the other side.

But what does that have to do with crime writing, and what I said above about some of it actually being fun? Quite a lot actually. I've always been a big believer that the darker side of humanity, of fiction, shouldn't be shied away from. There will always be some people who it appeals to for a number of reasons, and some that may even surprise you. The idea that people reading crime fiction are doing it because they want to be super serious is absurd to me. I read it, a lot of it, and I enjoy every moment of it, even when it gets dark and disturbing.

That doesn't mean that there's something wrong with me, nor does it mean that someone who doesn't enjoy reading and/or writing about crime has something wrong with them either. It's just different strokes for different folks. I love trying to put the pieces together and solve the crime before the characters do, and as a writer, I love being the one who knows all those puzzle pieces and slots them into place so that the reader can try and gather them up to see the bigger picture. It's something that has always appealed to me and I can't see that changing any time soon.

My point for this piece is that sometimes, solving a crime that is completely fictional, is a lot of fun. Anyone who's played Cluedo or watched mystery shows on TV can attest that sometimes, it can be a gripping time to spend trying to work out what everything means and why. It's something I very much enjoy and as a crime writer, being told that my job as a young adult author is to turn people away from committing crimes, is a little worrying to me. I don't completely disagree, I don't include violent scenes for the sake of it, and I try to minimise any kind of gore that isn't necessary. I've done this throughout my writing life and will continue to do so.

But surely the point of fiction is that you're supposed to enjoy it, you're supposed to love the time you spend in those pages, and crime fiction isn't any different, no matter what age you are. So for those wondering what the fuss is about, go pick up a book and read for yourself. As always, your mileage may vary, and that's completely okay!


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

Friday, 29 November 2019

Review of Daughter Of Kronos by Tamar Solan

She has the power to stop time. Will she lose him if she restarts it?
There’s only one thing Kadence has ever wanted—to leave the painful life she’s been forced to endure, and join her father in Olympus. When Kronos comes to her with a mission, Kadence seizes the opportunity to use her demigod powers to earn the right to go to him. 

All she has to do is figure out who’s messing with people’s timelines. Good people are dying before they should, others are living beyond their allocated minutes. But as fates are irrevocably changed and darkness appears at every turn, Kadence finds herself wondering—is the world even worth saving?

Her only ray of hope is Micah, a guy with no past or family. Mysterious, philosophical, and confidently optimistic, Micah shows Kadence that for any light to be seen, darkness must be present. For the first time, love has Kadence doing something she’d never imagined…believing.
It’s when her world of demigod responsibilities collides with the darkness she’s fighting that Kadence must make a choice. Does she still want to go to Olympus if it means leaving Micah behind?  

And when the unthinkable happens—how will she use her powers? 

Because Kadence has the ability to stop time. It’s whether she wants to restart it that will become the question. 

My Review: 5 stars
I picked this up thinking it would be an amazing read and it was, I was hooked from the first page and read it all in one sitting, no matter how late it got, I had to know more! Kadence is a demigod and all she sees around her is the bad stuff growing bigger and bigger, tasked with helping out just a little, she moves on her mission and finds herself finding a little light in the form of Micah. The characters are well written, I adored Kadence and the way she grew and changed but also stayed somewhat the same. The ending killed me and I have to know more! I will be eagerly awaiting the second book! Highly recommended!

You can follow Tamar on Facebook.

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.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

#TeaserTuesday

Tara knows she should tell him, but she keeps thinking everything will resolve itself by the time it matters...



[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A faded blurry blue background with the small title of: Out now in paperback & ebook and below that a bigger title of: Dying Thoughts - Fifth Secret. The excerpt reads: 

Ippydippy98: My thoughts exactly. I thought that Dad was going to have a heart attack when he read it.
Kkat: Woah, your dad saw it?
Ippydippy98: Yeah, it was hand delivered through our door, waiting for me when we got home from school.
Kkat: So this creep knows where you live?
Ippydippy98: I guess so.
Kkat: Tara, you *have* to tell your dad! I’m assuming that since you’re not under armed guard that you lied to him?


END ID]

Monday, 25 November 2019

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Promotion Helps


THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: PROMOTION HELPS

It's been a long while since I did a piece on promotion. I mean I did one recently on social media, but that was more about the dos and don'ts, and not the ins and outs of actual promotion. I will make it clear here that I don't intend to give you tips on which sites to use because I find it widely varies depending on author, genre and age range. Even where you yourself are located can be another variable to consider. So this is not one of those listicals that will tell you where and how to promote your book. I simply don't have that information for every individual and to pretend otherwise would be ridiculous.

So what is this going to be about? I'm going to be talking about the small ways that you can help yourself, and help your promotion whether that's ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like, or simple word of mouth. I will however, give you a site to look up that has been extremely useful to me, and that is The Book Robin Hoods. On there you will find a load of bloggers from all over the world listed and you have their contact details ready to reach out. I've done it a number of times with different results, but I'm not here to talk about that, so let's move onto what you can do, in a small way, to help your promotion succeed.

#1 - PLAN, PLAN, AND PLAN SOME MORE.
I can't stress this enough because I've done this the wrong way and I've done it the right way. And the right way is to make sure that you plan your promotion well. You want to make sure that it hits the mark, and to do that you have to know what that mark is. Whether it's a release day, or a sale going on for a short period, you need to be looking into some of this stuff weeks, if not, months in advance. So you need to make sure that you plan ahead, and keep the hype going while the promotion is ongoing, and once it ends.

#2 - START SMALL AND BUILD UP
Along with many things, nothing much happens overnight. I know the thought generally is that you should go all out, to make sure you maximise your profit and interaction. My advice though? Start small, you don't know if this promotion is going to hit the right audience, even if you've done a ton of research (which I always recommend you do!) you don't know yet if it'll work for you. There's a lot of ways to go about promotion, and sometimes what works for one author in your genre, classification, location, just won't for another. It's not as simple as copying what someone else does and away you go. You need to be sure that this is the right thing for you, and so I would seriously recommend starting small and seeing how it goes. If you get the positive reaction, then start building up.

#3 - ASK OTHER AUTHORS
This might seem like it goes against what I just said above, but asking other authors not just for advice on what worked for them, but also for them to help you with your promotion is always a good idea. This can be something from newsletter swaps, to sharing in their reader group, to shouting you out in Twitter or doing a post about it on their blog. Any number of things can help with promotions, and it's always good to have the people who write alongside you in your corner. However, one thing that shouldn't need to be said, but does, always reciprocate if you can. If they let you share, you do the same. It's only fair and given that you're writing similar genres etc, your readers could very well being theirs and vice versa.

And finally, #4 - UTILISE YOUR OWN PLATFORM
Now I know that a lot of writers are introverts, and on top of that, there's the whole cultural idea that you shouldn't be selling yourself, or anything, or bragging about what you've achieved. And while some of that is true, it's also true that you have this platform of people following you. They either do that because they like you, or they're interested in your work. So make sure that you actively tell them when you have promotion going on. They do want to know, but just don't be blasting it at them every tweet or post. Generally I'll do a post every few days, and always make sure I'm adding something new rather than just a copy of the post itself. Overall, these people do want to know things about you and your work, so use that!

So there we have it, my four points about how you can help yourself when running a promotion. I know that it's not always easy to put yourself out there, but it's part and parcel of being an author. It's not always fun, but sometimes it can really make a difference.


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