Thursday 30 August 2012

New "Bug Books" Logo

Some of you may have spotted the new logo for "Bug Books" on the header and if you've "liked" Joey's FaceBook page, you'll have spotted the new cover photo there too. So, this is just to say THANK YOU to a friend's husband - Anders - who took the time to resdesign the logo. 

What do you all think?

Questions From Readers - Part Two

Once again, Joey is answering questions sent to her by readers. You still have a chance to ask Joey a question, as the end date for this batch is the 31st August 2012. If you have a question, send it to before the date and she'll try to answer in a new post!

-> Describe an average working day for you
I don't work a conventional day. I don't do nine to five, five days a week and then take the weekend off. Due to my health being up and down, I'll work when I can. Sometimes that's every day with a day off or two scattered through the week and sometimes it's an hour or so every few days. I've never been able to do a solid "write for two hours; break; write for three hours; break; write for two hours; end of work day" pattern for my days. It really does depend on how I feel, how the books are flowing and a lot of variables like that. I do try to manage two chapters of each book a week, but sometimes that doesn't happen either. Take this week, I've not managed a whole chapter yet and it's a Thursday! Other weeks I'd be onto my third or fourth chapter by now, it really does vary!

-> Will your books ever be available from other ebook stores? Or in paperback?
Right now, the answer is no, but I am working hard to do what I need to get the books in the iBookStore and that's my next goal. As far as getting them into paperback, that may happen in the future, but for now, it's just Kindle. They may start to appear in other ebook stores soon, but because of the agreement I have with Amazon, I have to sell them exclusively with them for at least six months, which will obviously delay their arrival in other book stores, no matter what format they're in.

-> How did you know your books were good enough to publish?
I'm very critical of my own work, so to be honest I didn't know they were good enough to publish. I started out by printing my own copies and binding them and selling those. The people who read them gave very good feedback and told me that I should pursue publication. I'd also approached some main stream publishers and didn't always get the standard "Your work is great but..." rejection letter. I had a few hand written notes saying that if they could, they would take my work but because of my lack of an agent, they were unable to. That made me more determined to actually publish my work.

-> I'm an aspiring writer, and wondered how easy it is to get your work noticed?
I would say that the first thing you need is a good first reader. Someone who you trust enough that they will give you an honest opinion about your work and any edits that need to be made. From there, you'll probably do better finding an agent. There is a Writer's Handbook published every year, available from places like Amazon, that details EVERY agent there is world wide. Among other information, it'll list the genre they specialise in. An agent should be able to tell you whether they feel your work has merit and then it will be their job to find you a publisher on your behalf. They will take a percentage of the profits and will also help you make sure you pay the right level of tax.

-> How do you make sure that your continuity is correct in a series like "Dying Thoughts"?
I'm a planner, always have been and when it comes to my books, I plan methodically. I have chapter lists, character notes, notes of what day it is in each chapter. My advice to anyone writing ANY kind of book - series or standalone, is to plan, A LOT! It's easy enough to note down something the first time you write it, and then you don't have to worry later on about it when you mention that small piece of info again and get it wrong.

And that's all the questions from the first batch. There are more to answer and if you wish to ask a question, email Joey and she'll try to answer it in the next post. Remember the deadline is August 31st 2012! 

Thursday 16 August 2012

Something Fun!


It seems to be the case that some writers have what they call 'muses'. Sometimes they are things - objects, places, music etc. Sometimes they are a person - lover, friend, child etc. It's not just writers who claim to have them, but artists too, of all kinds! People in the creative world seem to have something that works for them, helps them produce their art - be that painting, sketching, building, writer, creating, anything. 

As a writer I've always had something "real" that I call my muse - for a while it was a stuffed monkey, called "Matt" that was a gift to me by a dear friend. However, Matt never reappeared when we moved house and so I am unsure if he ever made the move. As it so happens, up until now I've never had the need to replace him with anything. For a while it was because I was only writing in the summers and therefore didn't have the want or need for something physical to talk to when I got blocked.

However, my god daughter managed to get her 100m & 200m in swimming the other week and as a reward I said I would buy her something. We walked up and down the toy aisle in Tescos and I spotted the HexBug Nano's for sale and thought "Hmm, as I am known online as "JoeyBug" wouldn't it be appropriate for me to have a muse that was also a "Bug"?". I offered to buy my god daughter one, but she chose something else. The next day, however, I went back and brought myself one. They advertised that they had a purple one and as you all know, purple is my favourite colour! I couldn't find a purple one - they only seemed to have blue, green and black, so I settled for a black one.

It's a great little bug, it whizzes around in circles and has fallen off my desk and tried to escape more than once! I like it, and it seems to be working as the past week has been filled with chapters being written and one of my finished books almost has a front cover! My artist, and best friend, B now only has one front cover to draw and all the finished books are done. She plans to then go back and "update" the other front covers to have them all look more recent and "professional" as she puts it. So, keep you eyes pealed for new covers - you'll hear about them here first! Also you can "like" me on Facebook for all updates there too!

Anyway, back to writing some chapters - do any of you have "muses"? Are they a person, place or object?

Another "Questions from 'Fans' Opportunity :D


Since the last round of questions from 'fans' went so well, Joey has decided to do a second one. There were still some questions that went unanswered in the first post, but Joey is appealing to anyone interested in asking her a question to email them to her inbox.

They can be about anything. From how she chooses her characters, to how she plans a book. From a specific question about one of her books or characters to one about how she decided which storyline to go with. There are only a few limits. Joey is willing to answer any question, but if she deems it to be too personal, she may not feel comfortable answering, also inflammatory questions will be ignored.

So, if you'd like to take part in round two, please email Joey before the 31st August 2012. If she receives a lot of questions, she may answer some before that date, but the deadline is set to then.

Have fun :D

Sunday 5 August 2012

Interview: Questions from Readers

Joey recently asked on her Facebook page for people to send in questions they would like her to answer. This is the first batch received. If you missed your chance, don't worry, Joey will do this again!

-> What's your favourite part of writing a book?
I'd have to say the part after you've set the story and you've started to get knee deep in plot. I do like the beginnings where you're setting everything up and I love the final chapters where you tie up all the loose ends, but I'd have to choose the middle part as my absolute favourite part.

-> Who do you call your "favourite author"?
I do a lot of reading, I like to find authors, who like me, are generally unknown and give their work a try. Having a kindle allows me to do that and sometimes I find a gem that I'd previously not known about and sometimes I don't. If I had to choose from my favourite short list of authors, it would be down to Harlan Coben and Sue Grafton. Both are great writers, both tell great stories. I love them both for different reasons, Harlan Coben for the way he keeps you guessing and draws you into the story and Sue Grafton for her character Kinsey Millhone who is a strong, female private eye, solving crimes and sometimes getting herself into sticky situations. I don't think I can pick between the two of them.

-> What do you prefer writing, your standalones or the Dying Thoughts Series?
I love both, which is why I've chosen to split my books between the two. I love writing the standalones, such as Blackout because it's a whole new bunch of characters to fall in love with and go through their story with. I do find it hard sometimes to say goodbye to those characters after the story is through though. That's also one of the reasons why I love the Dying Thoughts Series, it's a bunch of characters that I know and love, and yet they still continue to surprise me as I take them on their adventures, I'm still learning to know things about them and it's also one of the reasons I write two books at once, I like to have the best of both worlds. On one hand, the characters I will take through one story and on the other, characters that are like old friends.

-> Why don't Kaolin and Tara have Facebook and other social media?
The problem with writing a series and writing so far in advance is that although time moves forward for you, it doesn't once the book is done. I started writing the Dying Thoughts Series when I was about 20, I'm now 30, so ten years have passed since then and when I first put pen to paper, there was no Facebook or Twitter. There were other types of what we now call "social media", but I never saw the need for them to have that. Due to the fact that the books themselves happen over a period of (at the moment) eighteen months, Tara and Kaolin are still stuck in the past. They're still in 2003 and Facebook has yet to hit the internet. I can't bring them this far forward in time without losing some of the book content, so for now, they will stay in 2003/2004. Maybe towards the end, they'll finally get Facebook!

->What's the worst part of writing?
Writer's Block! No, I mean that's one part of it I don't like, but it comes hand in hand with the job really, the thing I really don't like are those chapters that just exist to move the story along with everyday things - like for a teenager going to school and having a normal day, before a piece of plot happens. Those kind of things. I call them "filler chapters", but I've been told that they don't always exist, they seem to in my books.

->What made you start writing?
I had just been retired from my job on medical grounds and the thought of being 19 and never being able to hold down a 9 to 5 job or having to watch daytime TV from then until the end of time just depressed me. I'd tried my hand at writing before and decided that I would finish what I had started a few years previously which was taking apart The Friendship Triangle and turn it into a proper book. I was well and truly "bitten" by the bug after that and although sometimes things like university have gotten in the way, I haven't stopped writing since.

->Where do you get your character names? 
From a lot of places, I brought a baby name book at one point and used to just look through it for inspiration. Other names are inspired by people I know or knew, and sometimes places and things. It's amazing to me how many names you need to come up with for just a standalone book, never mind a series!

->What inspires your stories?
A lot of things do, I'd had the idea for Blackout in my head from about the age of 14, it took until I was 19 to write it down. I got the idea for the Dying Thoughts Series whilst shopping in ASDA! Other books have been inspired by events in my life, such as internet romances, and other times it's places I've been or people I've met. I can't pin it down to just one thing - Life inspires me!

-> How long does a book take - from idea, to start, to finish?
It depends really. Take Blackout for example, the idea formed at 14, I began writing it when I was 19 and ten days later it was finished. It's the only book I've ever written that fast. I generally keep a note of the date I start the book and they usually take anywhere from 18 months to a few years to finish. Especially now that I am juggling writing with a part time degree. Thankfully, I have the summer, autumn and half of winter off this year before my next course starts in February 2013 so I plan to spend that writing.

That's all the questions for now! Thanks to those who submitted them and keep an eye on this blog and Joey's Facebook page to take part next time and for any updates!