Saturday, 28 December 2013

Writing Characters - Lynne & Hope

Creative Characters
Lynne & Hope
LYNNE & HOPE is the story of two sisters who are ten years apart in age. Hope is fifteen and Lynne is twenty-five. When Hope was five, she was in a car accident that left her paralysed from the waist down. Lynne was fifteen at the time and felt abandoned by her parents because they spent so much time with Hope. By the time the story takes place, Lynne is working at the local crime lab and Hope is starting year ten. She's home schooled because her parents wanted to protect her from any bullying that may have taken place at school. Despite Hope's pleas that she be allowed to attend the local secondary school, they have stood their ground.

Lynne & Hope do not get on, though not for lack of trying on Hope's part. When Lynne is accused of being involved in a serial murder case, the last person she wants to turn to for help is her sister. She doesn't have much of a choice when she is suspended from her job and the police are sure she's guilty. She goes on the run and finds that she has to place her trust in her little sister to clear her name. If Hope messes up, Lynne could lose her job and never be able to work in the forensic field again. She could even
go to prison. When push comes to shove, will Hope be able to help the sister that hates her? Or will she fail and ruin Lynne's life in the process?

Now that you have some idea what happens in the story, I'll go on to talk about what it was like to write the main characters, namely the two sisters, Lynne and Hope. The story is told from both of their points of view and took me about eighteen months to finish. The story is set in 2005 which is why there is no access to things such as Facebook and Twitter.

Lynne was an easy enough character to write in some ways. She was self centred, acting like the victim in all of this and it's not until I really started to explore her feelings about Hope that I was able to show that a lot of her resentment was directed towards her parents because of the way they treated her after Hope's accident. Her attitude towards Hope was that she had wrapped her parents round her little finger and she could do no wrong. Lynne is twenty-five and saving up to move out of her parents home and into her own apartment. She doesn't involve herself too much with her family, choosing to eat her meals separately and doing as much overtime as she's allowed so that she can get out of the house quicker. She may be twenty-five, but she acts like she's closer to Hope's age at times.

When the tainted evidence comes to light, Lynne's first thought is that Hope did something and messed up the blood samples and it's not until she's arrested that she realises just how much trouble she's in. Without giving away the whole story, I can just say that Lynne doesn't want to accept Hope's help at first because she's angry at her. She sees Hope as a pain in the butt who keeps begging her to have some semblance of a relationship.

As far as character development goes, I enjoyed exploring Lynne's feelings towards her sister and how much she was willing to blame her for when the situations were out of Hope's control. Towards the end of the book, I was finally able to show Lynne that a lot of the decisions she disagreed with in regards to Hope were not her sister's fault. I enjoyed seeing her grow as a character and I like to think that she was finally able to recognise that her anger at the way she was treated after Hope's accident should be redirected.

Hope is a typical fifteen year old... except for the wheelchair and the paralysis. She was the first character I wrote as being in a wheelchair full time and in some respects, she echoed my own life at that point. Hope knew that her sister didn't like her, but she still tried to win her over. When Lynne was accused of murder, she was quick to jump to her defence, even going as far as lying to try and help her. When Lynne goes on the run, it's Hope that keeps digging to find the truth and it's Hope that ultimately pays the price when they do find the killer.

She was a great character to write, learning and exploring disability and how it would have an impact on her as a person. Hope doesn't really remember life before her accident and in some ways feels smothered by her parents. For instance, her father now works from home just in case Hope needs him, but she's desperate to get out into the world and find her own way. She believes in Lynne's innocence and even when Lynne accuses her of contaminating the samples, she's quick to jump to not only her own defence but her sister's as well. She's also desperate to have as much as a normal life as possible. She wants to go to school so that she can do Science, something she couldn't easily do in a home setting because of the experiments she'd need to do. She wants to go into the forensic field like her sister and while she didn't know all the details about what Lynne actually does at work, she's an avid watcher of CSI which comes to bite her in the arse a few times! Overall, out of the two of them, I found it easier to write Hope because she seemed to have her head on straight despite her young age.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with all the news about Joey and her books. You can find links to buy LYNNE & HOPE and her other works here.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Five Reasons To Become A Writer - The Creative Process

5 Reasons to Become a Writer

So, I've done my five reasons to not become a writer (found here) and I said that I would also do five good reasons to become a writer. Writing may not be an easy job and it may not be something that pays the bills every month or even at all, but it attracts a lot of different people from a lot of different walks of life and you may wonder why those people chose to be a writer. Here's my top five reasons.

When you're in school and they have career days and they have people come in and talk about their jobs, the message I took away from those events was that you should like your job. If you love it, even better, but liking it should be a factor in what you choose to be when you grow up. If you like your job, you'll perform better. You'll want to get out of bed in the morning and go to work and you'll end up being a better employee. At the time, I planned to be a doctor, a dream I'd held since a very young age, but I had also dabbled a little in writing and while I didn't know it at the time, it was going to be something fun and wonderful and something I would enjoy getting up to do. Right now it's 6:30am and I've never been an early riser so that should tell you something! Writing is great fun, you get to create from nothing. You get to explore new worlds, go time travelling, solve murders, fall in love and all of those things that you probably wouldn't get to do if you were a nurse or a doctor or worked in an office. The best part is that you hold the key to where you go and you get to decide which characters to take along with you. It's fun!


As an indie author, I can only really speak for myself, but when you finish a book, you get a little rush. It's nothing like the rush you'll get from when you finally have your finished works uploaded and ready to publish. When you finally hit that little button to publish your work, that rush is mind blowing. You get to think about all the people who are going to come across your book, maybe buy your book, possibly read your book and then you get to wait for reviews about whether they liked it or not. Every positive review is another rush, another feeling of "I did that!" and there's little else like it. Writing is very rewarding in that respect. I like both the beginnings of writing and the endings, I like finally typing the last words to a piece I've been working on for months and thinking "I'm done!" and then when it finally goes to print, I like the rush that comes from looking myself up on Amazon and seeing my name there with my book attached. The biggest rush for me was when BLACKOUT was first published, but even though five other books have joined it on my Amazon page, I still get a little thrill every time I see that someone has brought a copy or left a review. There is nothing quite like it, which brings me to my next point.

When you've experienced that "rush" from finishing a book, or pressing publish or any of the other milestones that cause it, you're going to want to feel it again and again. So you'll want to write more and more. Ideas will pop at you from everyday situations and suddenly all you can think about is how you can work that into a story. There are, of course, some things you can't write about, but that's a piece for another day. Whether you're a crime writer and seeing murder scenarios, or you're a romance writer and thinking of new and interesting ways to get the right characters together, you'll be influenced by everyday life and the whole process will become your addiction. It's not a harmful addiction either, it doesn't damage your health or cause you financial ruin, but you will find yourself seeing plots where people who aren't writers just see life. You'll want to write a book about this and another about that and before you know it, you're writing two books at once whilst taking meticulous notes for your next masterpiece. There's nothing wrong with standing up at Writer's Anonymous and saying "Hi, I'm Joey and I'm addicted to killing people!"

Whether you're constructing the rules for a fantasy world, or going into the future and writing a dystopian piece, or even if all you're doing is writing a police procedural novel, the work of a writer can never be classed as boring. It's an interesting line of work and something that you will always find new challenges in. Whether you have a plot point that needs some work before it fits nicely into your story puzzle or you have a sub genre to add, the work is always full of surprises. I know that there have been times when I've been writing that I've thought I knew where the story was going and then BAM, left turn! Suddenly I'm in a place that I hadn't even thought about and I'm working a new angle and suddenly what had become mundane is now interesting, exciting and new! The joy of writing is that you can literally go *anywhere* so long as you can make it believable. If you're a crime writer, you'll be looking for new and interesting ways for people to kill each other and your page bookmarks will raise a few eyebrows should the police ever have need to look at them, but that's the thrill of being a writer, it is anything but boring!

And finally, #1 - IT'S YOUR PASSION
Most people who become writers do so because they want to, because it's something they enjoy and it's something they feel passionate about. At least that's been the case in my experience. When you're passionate about something, it is reflected in your work and the number one reason to become a writer is because it's something you love, something you find joy in and something that makes you smile. I would say that you should never work somewhere you hate, but not many people have the luxury to work only in places or jobs that they love. Sometimes it's just about paying the bills, getting through the day and coming home and spending their spare time doing something they love. You have to do whatever works for you, but try to keep that passion alive.

So, those are my five reasons to become a writer. I'm sure there are a lot more and I'm sure you can all think of your own top five, but for me, those are the reasons I get up in the morning and do what I do.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with all the last news about Joey and her books.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Five Reasons To NOT Become A Writer - The Creative Process

5 Reasons to NOT Become a Writer

I know what you're thinking. Why would I, a writer, write a piece telling other people to not do it? It's simple, writing is hard! There are many reasons to be a writer - I have a piece planned for that too - but there are also many many reasons to decide against it as a career choice. Here's my top five.


When you're at a dinner party or meeting new friends or family, there is always the inevitable question of "what do you do for a living?" and when you answer "I'm a writer", you'll get a lot of blank looks. My favourite a response to this is "yes, but what do you do to pay the bills?" with a look that says "oh bless, she thinks that's a real job!" Of course, you could do what many people do and explain that writing does pay the bills or if you're not able to say that, you can argue that it's your passion, your first love and something that very much resembles work. However you want to argue it though, being a writer or an artist or anything other unstable career, you're going to come across people who look down on you for not having a "real" job. They never really explain what a real job is, just that you should be doing one. They don't take into consideration the hard work that comes from being a writer - published or otherwise - just the fact that for many people writing is not their main source of income. You may have extraordinary amounts of talent and your writing may move people to tears and/or change their lives, but the basic fact is that unless it's something you can live off of, it's not considered socially acceptable to class it as your "job".


Writing is not the type of career that you do with friends. I mean, sure you have people to work with, but generally speaking, the writing part is done with you on your own in a room with no one to disturb you. It's an isolating job because your world is all about writing and although friends and family will ask "how's it going?", when you answer and start talking about words counts and what your characters are up to, they start to get disinterested and stop asking. It's not that they don't care, because they usually do, it's more that unless they've read your work, they don't have a clue what you're talking about. As a writer, you will most likely work alone. You'll create alone and since no one has invented a way for people to see the ideas in your head, you'll plot alone too. It will be just you, your chosen way of writing and your plot bunnies and it does get to the point where you have to find some kind of social interaction or you'll be like those Sims that go crazy and start talking to an invisible bunny.


Generally speaking, unless you're J K Rowling or Stephen King, you're not likely to make enough to pay the bills. You might one month and then the next your sales are low and you'll barely be scraping by. It's not the career that will give you instant riches, despite what some people think. Most likely you will need a second source of income, another job that pays for the rent and everything else, whilst writing is more of a side gig. Some people strike it rich the first book they publish, but they are usually in the minority. When you consider just how many books there are available on somewhere like Amazon, you have to realise that not all of those writers will be making enough to live comfortably. So, unless you already have another job that will allow you time to write, writing should not be something that you do to pay the bills because usually, it won't.


When you're working in a "proper" job, you can't usually be given a piece of work to do and then say "Oh, I had surgeon's block" and be paid. The same applies to writing. If you want it to be your job, you have to continue to churn out books and they have to be of a good standard. You can't just write any old thing and expect it to sell. So, when you're hit with writer's block and you can't finish that chapter and the deadlines are closing in on you, it's stressful and it can impact the return you see on your work. If you are lucky enough to not get writer's block, the plot bunnies for a new project can sometimes be hard to catch. Hell, sometimes they don't exist for a few weeks and then you're hit with them in the middle of another project and you have to decide how you're going to handle that without stretching yourself too thin. Writing is not something you can just muddle through with little idea of where the plot or story is going, you need some direction. It's not as simple as putting two characters together and having a finished product after they walk through a trialling time, solve a murder or fall in love. If it was that easy, we'd all be doing it.

And finally, #1 - IT'S TIME CONSUMING
On average, whilst working on two projects at once, it takes me about 18 months to two years to fully finish a project. I have done things quicker, and I have had things take me much longer. However, it's not about how fast you can write the book down, it's about all the work that goes with it. You have to find an editor and before you send your work to that editor, you have to do a cursory edit. You have to design a front cover, plan marketing, decide where you're going to publish your works. You have to field emails and look for advance reviews and all of that. That's all BEFORE you click the button to publish your work. You'll also have to design a website or blog, start a Facebook page and manage that. Even if you don't plan to do any of that yourself, you still have to find the people who will do it for you. Writing takes time, it takes a LOT of time. Even if you manage to finish a book every six months, you still have to take it through the long arduous editing process and then the publishing process which also takes time. It's very time consuming and if you're having to work a "proper" job, then the time you have to spend on doing these tasks is even less and that adds more time between your book being finished and it actually being published.

Of course, these may be valid points, but people who write don't do it because they want to make millions, or because they don't have anything better to do. Writers generally write because they love it, because it's a passion of theirs, so if you want to be a writer, ignore the above and go do something you love. Keep an eye out for the top five reasons to BE a writer coming to the blog soon.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with all the latest news about Joey and her books.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Perfect Writing Day - The Creative Process

A Perfect Writing Day

We all know it's impossible to have a "perfect" day, but as a writer who creates worlds from words, I know that sometimes you can think the impossible is possible. So, what would a perfect writing day look like to me? I've come pretty close in the past, but I've never quite managed it. Here's what a normal writing day is like for me, just for comparison sake.

I get up at 7am and take Miss D to school for 8:40am. If it's a day that includes uni work, that'll be done and finished around 11am. That's when the fun starts! I read through what I wrote the last time I managed to get something done - usually the last chapter or two - and then I start to flex my writing muscles and get going. I write two books at once, so I have to be sure that I know where I am in whichever story I'm working onto make sure I don't start writing about Tara and her visions in a book that has no Tara in it. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to dedicate a couple of hours to writing before I have to do other book admin stuff like updating Facebook or writing these pieces, answering emails and looking for guest blog spots for both myself and for other writers to come to my blog. At 2:40pm, I have to leave to pick up Miss D from school and then once she's home, I'll try to do some more writing, but usually I only manage an hour or so before I have to do other stuff. I'll eat dinner and then retire to bed to watch something while I wind down and get ready to sleep. I'm usually off to the land of nod by about 8pm and then I start again the next day.

So, going off that you can see that on a good day, I'll manage about three, three and a half hours of solid writing. Not all of it will make it into the final edit, but part of being a writer is knowing what will and will not work in your story. Sometimes it's a case of trial and error, but that's a piece for another time. Now, what about a perfect writing day? Let's set the parameters for this perfect day before I explain what I'd like to get done.

In this perfect world, I won't have uni work to take time away from writing. I also wouldn't have the conditions I do which sometimes mean I have to stop and rest and/or nap for a few hours. Miss D would be old enough to get herself to and from school and she'd also be old enough to heed the warning on my office door that says not to enter when you hear typing for fear of being murdered in print! Let's also assume, whilst we're wishing for the impossible, that I would not be held back by writer's block and I wouldn't have to do all the admin work that takes away from writing time. Hey, let's also assume that I don't have to make my own tea and have someone who brings me one whenever I need it, without me needing to say - we are in a perfect world after all!

So, my day would start around 8am. I would get up and have some breakfast and then I'd do the same as I do now. I'd read through my previous day's work and go from there. I would write a couple of chapters and then I'd read through them to see if they are viable enough to be kept or deleted. I would then take a little break and switch over to the other book I'm working on. I'd read through the last couple of chapters of that and then I'd go ahead and do the same as before - write, read, edit, swap. The day would continue along like that. I'd probably get at least four chapters done - at least two of each - and if it was a really perfect day, I'd get eight done. I would also have time to discuss any plot points with my best friend whilst eating dinner and then could retire to bed knowing that I had done a lot of work and could feel good about that.

Now back to reality where chronic illness, nine year olds and writer's block exist. I would consider a good writing day to end with two chapters written and read through. I personally like to sleep on what I write before I'm too quick with the delete button. I want to be sure that I've had a chance to mull it over as it were and decide if Tara really would think or say or do that. I also want a chance for the next plot point to grow in my mind before I put it down on paper and sometimes that happens when you're napping and/or about to fall asleep. At least it does for me.

We don't live in a perfect world and although if I asked other writer's about their perfect day, they'd probably say something similar, sometimes you just have to accept that a good day is as close to "perfect" as you're ever going to get. I know that being an indie author means that you wear a lot of different hats (piece here) and that has some effect on your writing time, but even writers with agents and traditional publishers don't have perfect days. Nor do they always have the time to write when they want to. It's another case of writing being a juggling act. You have to find a balance between what you have to do and what you want to do whilst making sure you don't drop anything.

So, I wish you all many good days rather than perfect ones, because if I was to live in a perfect world, I think I'd get very bored of just churning out book after book. After all, for me at least, it is the world we live in that inspires me and the trials I face that influence what I write. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Writing Too Much At Once - The Creative Process

Writing Too Much At Once

As a writer who juggles a lot of other things, like uni work and being in a band, I've learnt that there is only so much book stuff I can do before it starts to eat into my relaxing time. Everyone needs down time, even writers, and so there is such a thing as "writing too much at once". I know what you're thinking, writers such as myself, who don't have other day jobs, have all this free time, so what are we complaining about? We get paid to sit in front of a computer and make stuff up for a living, right?

Well, I hate to break it to you, but that is far from the truth. As I wrote a few days ago, the many hats of an indie author (found here) eat up my time, along with school commitments such as the school run and after school clubs, plus the occasional school play. When I'm not doing either the writing or the Aunt duties, then I'm working on uni work. Yes, I am in my last year, but for the past four or five years, I've always had to put uni work first. There have even been occasions in the past when I didn't have enough time to write at all while I was juggling Aunt duties and uni work.

Thankfully, those dark days are behind me and now my week is made up of a little bit of school stuff for Miss D, a lot of uni work and a whole heap of stuff I have to do to keep up with my writing commitments. It is true that I spend most of my time behind a desk working on my computer, but not all of that time is spent surfing the internet and creating stories. Some of it is spent doing things like this, some is spent gnashing my teeth over the latest writer's block and some of it is legitimate down time because too much of a good thing can be bad.

So, although I write two books at once, I still have to be careful to balance the rest of my writing time to make sure that I don't burn out and have to take a long hiatus from the writing world. On average, it takes me about two years to write a book start to finish. Now that I work on two at once, I generally get one book a year done so it all evens out. Even when I finish uni next year, I will probably not be able to increase the amount of book work I do because of my health conditions. That said, what do you do when you're writing at your upper limit already and a new plot bunny comes along and dangles itself in front of you?

That's something that has only recently become an issue for me. I usually find that once I hit the halfway mark on both books, I start to get anxious and worry that I've run out of ideas and will have nothing to write for a while. This is a thought that scares me because I love writing, it is like breathing to me and to be without it for any amount of time makes me feel like I would be drowning. So I get anxious and start to look for anything that will give me inspiration. ANYTHING! Usually around the time I get close to the end of one, or both books, I am struck by inspiration lightning and then I'm off again on a little journey planning my next two books.

However, just last week, I was lying in bed - which is always when the best ideas hit and then you usually forget them once you wake up - and the lightning hit a bit sooner than anticipated. I had an idea. I had a good idea. I had an idea that could possibly be three books long. I was desperate to start, I even started planning the opening chapter when I woke up the following morning. That's when this little thing called reality hit and I realised that I still have two books half started and there was no way that my schedule would allow for me to start a third.

Bugger, I thought. So, I started to make notes, copious amounts of notes. I wanted to set this book in the not too distant future. I thought about it being a dystopian piece, but then threw that idea away. I knew the premise, I knew the plot and then I set to work on the characters. I thought to myself that it's been about eight months since I started the two I'm working on so I had another year at least before I would finish them and be in a place where I could start the next two. Maybe, I thought, if I stick to my four chapters a fortnight goal, I will be able to get them done in six months. Yes, I decided, that was an excellent idea. I would write my little socks off and then, when uni was finished and I had two more books done, I could start writing this fantastic idea and it would be awesome.

Except it didn't work out like that. Of course it didn't, because this is real life, and real life tends to get in the way of my brilliant ideas. It's just turned winter and my lungs have already had two temper tantrums in the space of a month so I am probably in for a difficult time. Add to that the cold weather would irritate my Fibromyalgia and M.E, and it was looking even less likely that I would finish two books in six months.

Still, I wasn't discouraged. I started to have a notepad file open on my computer so that whenever I had a burst of inspiration about the new book, I could type away and all my ideas were in one place. I then decided that I would just try to up my game a little with the two works in progress and work a little harder on them. Do you know what happened? You can probably guess. I spent a whole two days of writing time staring at the last paragraph I'd written before the big idea struck and I could not write anything.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. No matter how much I mused over the plot and the chapter plan, nothing would come out. Before my big idea, I had been brimming with ways to finish the chapter, but when I tried to think about them and actually apply them to the work, they either didn't hold up or I'd forgotten them completely. So, I decided to take a little break and work on something else. I put a TV show on and lost myself in some cross stitching. It helped, but it still didn't get me to move any more forward with my work and I got frustrated beyond belief. I had this GREAT idea and I couldn't write it because I was stuck in this other idea and I couldn't just switch to the other book because the same thing happened with that one. I was pissed at my brain, my muse and myself. What the hell was I supposed to do?

You know what I did? I slept on it, numerous times when I went for a nap or to bed. I would read the last paragraph and I would brainstorm ideas to move the characters and the story forward. Finally, after three days of solid plotting (and back stitching) I got it! I knew what I needed to do and I sat and wrote and wrote. One chapter finished, I moved onto the next. Great, now that book was done for the fortnight, time to switch to the next. Of course the same thing happened and after a couple more days of thinking about it before sleep, I reached the same point.

My point is, that as a writer, it is easy to take on projects or write more than you are able. It's easy to burn the candle at both ends and decide that because this idea is fresh in your mind you can just start that one and come back to the one you were working on. Or you can do it all at once. Ideas are great, plot bunnies are excellent and they are our life blood because without them, we probably wouldn't get very far. However, you have to learn how to stem the flow of them. While it would have been easy for me to shove the projects I am working on now to one side in favour of the new idea, it would have meant that I had three unfinished books to work on. It would have meant that maybe, I didn't finish any of them because the next plot idea came along and took me away from it.

Writing is good, creating new worlds and taking the reader somewhere they may have never been before is also good, but if you want your reader to make it all the way to the end of the journey, you have to go along it first. I will finish these two books. It may take me six months, it may take me six years (though I really hope it doesn't!) but the plot idea that I have is still going to be there when I'm done. Plots don't have a time limit on them and although things such as magazine articles and competitions have deadlines, as do some publishing companies, generally speaking, you can take your time to walk along the path with your characters. Stop and watch as they tell you their story and move along at a pace that you are able to manage. Burning yourself out not only harms you, but it takes away from the stories you could have written, so be mindful of how much you take on and write away.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news on Joey and her books.

The Many Hats Of An Indie Author - The Creative Process

The Many Hats Of An Indie Author

One thing you'll learn if you're an indie author is that you don't just have to wear a hat that says "writer", you have to wear a lot of them. While certain things, like editing and graphics and such may not be within your own abilities, everything else has to be. You can, of course, hire people  to do your editing (which I highly recommend doing because it's hard to edit your own stuff) or designing your covers, but everything else will fall to you.

So, what are the hats that you as an indie author will have to wear? How many can be farmed out to friends or other people? This writing piece will give you an overview of them all.

Hat #1 - WRITER
This one is obvious. You're the writer, which means you have to actually do the writing! It's probably the one you'll feel most comfortable wearing, and the one where you don't even realise that it's an official hat as it were, but still it's the first and most important one in your collection.

Hat #2 - EDITOR

Now, as I said above, I highly recommend using someone else as an editor. I do, and I also know of other freelance editors who focus their work on mostly indie authors. They are all very good, but even when you send your work out to one of them, you're still going to need to keep hold of that hat because there is always some editing that needs to be done BEFORE you entrust your work into the hands of an editor. Not every writer feels that way, but personally, I like to make sure that what I send my editor is the end result. That it's what I want my story to say and although I've technically written the story and declared it finished, there are always tweaks you need to make to your first draft. The last thing you want to do is send off your completed manuscript and find that it had some part in it that you didn't even want in there. That's why I have kept this in as a hat to wear.


Some writers, like me, have no talent when it comes to designing or drawing graphics and/or cover art. For that reason, I personally, have someone who does it for me. I do a lot of the other graphics though. The majority of the graphics in my posts I have to make myself and I know that there are a lot of other writers who do have talent with art and they take on the job of making their covers and any promotional graphics. As with a lot of these hats, you can choose to have someone else do it but when you're just starting out as an indie author, unless you have access to serious funds and/or friends who will work for a pittance, then you need to wear this hat yourself.

Now, when you get signed with a traditional publishing house, one of the things they will take off your hands is promotion and advertising. They'll have a whole department whose job it is to get the word out about your book, get you likes on Facebook and everything to do with that. As an indie author, that falls to you. You need to be the one to tell the people your book is aimed at that it's out there. It's a lot of work and sometimes you don't even know where to start - at least I didn't in the beginning. Once you have got some following online such as through a blog or Facebook, you can start to rely on word of mouth.

Now, there are a lot of great indie author communities on Facebook - groups and pages alike - that will help you get noticed. You need to keep your ear to the ground as it were and make sure that you connect with other writers of your chosen genre as well as general groups who will be of some use when you need help with promotion. BUT it works both ways, you can't expect an author to spend their time promoting you if you're not willing to help them out as well. But you don't want to spend so much time promoting everyone else that you don't get the word out about your own works. So, with a lot of things in the indie author world, it's a balancing act. You need to work with the communities and other authors, do guest blogs, interviews and reciprocate when and where you can. While some of your fans on Facebook will be other writers who are all looking for the same thing, others will be people who have heard of you through these other writers. You need to strike a good balance of advertising yourself AND other writers if you want to keep a good working relationship with them. It's all about give and take and you'll get there in the end.

This is more of a minor hat to wear because with the advent of e-books and places such as Amazon KDP and Smashwords, it's pretty easy for an indie author to publish their books through those platforms and have them feed into other online stores. Even when it's paperbacks, the great resource of CreateSpace allows you to have some control over distribution and selling your work. It takes time and cost will come into it, but as an indie author, it is down to you to get your book in the stores that you want it to be in.

As an indie author who uses Amazon KDP and Smashwords, I have the final say - within reason - as to how much my books cost. If you use the same platforms, you'll find that you have that choice too. As an avid reader, I know that I would not try a book by a new author (or most authors to be honest) if it costs more than a paperback would. I also know that because the cost of producing e-books is minimal, that also has some impact on what I would be willing to pay. This is reflected in the prices I have chosen for all my books. However, you may decide differently.

Alongside choosing prices for your work, you also have to do things like work out income tax that needs paying. And you'll have to do that for other countries than your own if you live outside of the USA and use the Amazon KDP or Smashwords programs. They do have the option to pay 30% tax and will do that automatically, but should you wish to, you can get hold of a tax ID from the USA which will make sure you pay the correct amount of tax. It also applies to your home country too. Whether you hold another job or not, you have to declare what you earn from your books and pay taxes on that. A lot of writers, indie or otherwise, hire outside people who are better skilled at that then they are. I am one of them. If there's one thing you don't want, it's the tax man breathing down your neck because you didn't declare an income.

When you make it as a big name author - a dream of many writers, myself included, you'll probably find that you don't have time to do everything that needs to be done. Your life will revolve around word counts, writer's block and other appearances necessary to keeping your book sales up, which means that you'll probably have an assistant. If you're an indie author, unless you know someone or have the means to pay someone, that job falls to you. Even before you've made it big, you're still going to have some jobs that need doing that interfere with your writing time. That means that another hat you have to wear is being your own personal assistant or general dogsbody. Basically, you're gonna have to do the jobs that no one else will. That includes things like answering emails, making calls, drumming up interest, posting to Facebook, organising promotions and other such things. Some of these jobs overlap with the other hats you will wear as an indie author, but some of them are just basic admin work that has to be done to keep your books selling and your career moving forward.

So, those are the seven big hats that you will have to juggle as an indie author, all of which (except the first) can be assigned to other people if you have the funds and/or the friends willing to work for free or minimal wages. As with a lot of things to do with writing and the creative process, it is a big juggling act. You have to strive to find the balance so that things don't fall by the wayside, so that you don't drop one ball whilst trying to keep the others in the air because if you're not careful, they'll all come crashing down around you. As someone who has been a writer for the past twelve years, and has been an indie author for the past eight, I can tell you that it does get easier. You will learn a pattern, fall into a schedule and things will become second nature. I have been blessed with helpful friends like my cover artist, B and my editor, Kim, who both have worked for me for a number of years.

When you're just starting out, learn to recognise the importance of triage, as I spoke about in another piece (found here). Working yourself to death is not going to help anyone and will only lead to the need for time away from doing what you love - writing. After all, if you don't love writing, or at least have a passion for what you write, then it may seem like you're in the wrong profession. Good Luck, and happy juggling!

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news about Joey and her books.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

300 Likes on Facebook!

We have reached 300 likes on Facebook! That means that I have released the excerpt from WAITING ON YOU of Angelina and Zack's first meeting online! WAITING ON YOU is due out in the Summer of 2014 and is the story of two teenagers from completely different lives who meet online and romance blossoms!

Once we reach 350 likes on Facebook, I'll release another excerpt with slightly more information as well as the chat where they finally admit their feelings for each other. Keep an eye here on the blog or Facebook for more updates :D

Holiday Sale!


If you have a reader in your life that would love the DYING THOUGHTS series, now is the time to buy them their very own copy! From DECEMBER 2ND to DECEMBER 16TH, there will be a sale running on all three DYING THOUGHTS books. The first two have 50% OFF coupons for Smashwords and the third will be FREE on Amazon from December 9th to December 13th! Want to grab a piece of the action? Here's what you need to do!

For DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH - you can use the coupon code: KN67Q on the Smashwords checkout and you will receive 50% OFF the purchase price. This will only work directly through Smashwords and is only available until DECEMBER 16TH 2013!

For DYING THOUGHTS - SECOND SIGHT - you can use the coupon code: TG29H on the Smashwords checkout and you will receive 50% OFF the purchase price. This will only work directly through Smashwords and is only valid until DECEMBER 16TH 2013!

For DYING THOUGHTS - THIRD WISH - you can get a FREE copy from Amazon from MONDAY December 9th to FRIDAY December 13th. This book is only available on Amazon across all their sites.

Enjoy the sale and grab them while you can!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Reviews, Guest Blogging & Other Updates

Since I have recently had a bunch of guest blogging posts, I thought I would do a post to let you all know what they're about and where to read them. I will also post some links to recent reviews that you may not have seen.

My first guest blog post was for Amber Skye Forbes and was entitled: My Writing Path. Amber is a new writer with her first book out now. 

I was also chosen for an Author Spotlight by J Bryden Lloyd who runs The Write Stuff group on Facebook. If anyone who is also an indie writer and wants to join, send me a PM on Facebook and I'll add you to the group.

I was asked for an interview from Carol Ann Kaufffman after she did a review of LYNNE & HOPE (Review can be found here).

There is also a new interview up on my Smashwords page, which you can read here.

And finally, I did a guest blog for Katanna: Fiction for the Masses entitled: Seven things that influence my writing.

As for new reviews, Nerd Girl on Facebook did a review of DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH, DYING THOUGHTS - SECOND SIGHT and LYNNE & HOPE.

I am always looking for Guest Bloggers, so if you feel like you have something you'd like to write for this blog, feel free to contact me at and we can go from there.

Managing Your Writing & Your Life - The Creative Process

Managing Your Writing & Your Life

Like many writers, I have two lives. I have my life as a writer when everything is about editing and writing the next chapter, and I have my other life. The life that involves hospital stays, school runs, bill paying and uni work. Switching between these lives is usually easy, but you have to find a balance otherwise when you've got all those balls up in the air - the uni one, and the child one and other personal ones alongside working ones - if you stop and drop one, then usually the others come tumbling down fairly quickly. So, how do you manage your writing life and your life life?

I've been retired from the conventional working world since I was nineteen, as many of you are aware. Yet writing is still a job for me. It gives me some money and it has other aspects of a conventional job too, like having to pay my editor or do some admin work to keep everything in its place. However, because adult life is never as fun as it seemed when you were a child, I have other responsibilities too. I have a nine year old to get to school. I have uni work, and with that essays and such that need doing. I have bills to pay and being disabled and chronically sick, I also have numerous hospital and doctor appointments scattered in there too. I am an adult and with that comes a wealth of responsibility.

However, as I said at the beginning of this piece, I feel like I have two lives. Sometimes though, the beams cross and I'm suddenly mixing my writing life with my other life and I find myself juggling and running around trying to make sure my world doesn't implode. It's hard, but it's something that pretty much every one does. They may not be writers, they may be doctors or teachers, but they find their working lives intermingling with their professional ones and learning to deal with that is part of what makes up those responsibilities that I was talking about.

So, here's how I manage my two lives. It won't work for everyone because we're all different, but some of these may appeal to you and if they do, feel free to give them a go.

I've learnt from many years as a professional patient that everything in life can be triaged. Basically, you need to work out what has to be done RIGHT NOW and what can wait. I work for myself, so although I set myself four chapters a fortnight, there's no one standing over me and demanding an explanation for why they weren't done. Uni work, on the other hand, fits to a tight schedule and although The Open University are great and work well with disabled people, they can only be so lenient. They can't just tell you to hand in your work whenever you've got it done. So, for me, I do have certain deadlines I have to meet, which puts the uni work above the writing work. I am also in a band, and am in the process of recording songs for an album. That is purely hobby work, all of us have other jobs and lives that mean that the band stuff gets done in our spare time and if I have uni work AND chapters? That means I have little spare time, so that gets put behind book work. Now sometimes, I will have deadlines in my book work, like if I've already announced a date for a give away or a promotion and I'm running behind on the admin work. At that point, book work will share the top space with uni work and I'll be running around like a headless chicken trying to get it all done. Hey, we've all been there, right?


Some people will think that this only applies to those of us who are chronically ill and/or disabled. It doesn't. Everyone has a breaking point, just for some people it's lower than others. I can only speak as a disabled and chronically ill person because I have been that for all of my adult life. It's no good arranging your triaged list and then ignoring it to cram in more work, such as thinking that you can do that essay for uni, and you can also do those four chapters in two days. If you can, more power to you, but if you're like me, and you know that it means you'll be pushing yourself and sacrificing other things such as sleep, or relax time, or time with the kids, then it just seems that you'd be setting yourself up for failure and a lot more stress and that is never fun. I like to spread things out, with the beginning of the week dedicated to the things at the top of my list, and then everything else moved around the rest of the week. I do it because I know that health wise, I can't work for ten hours a day and still function the next day. I know because I've tried and learnt my lesson.

So, you've triaged and you've made sure that you are aware of what you can and can not accomplish in the time frame - say two weeks because that's what I work in. You shouldn't be filling every available time slot with work - be that writing work or life work. You need time to chill, to sit down and read a good book. To watch TV and play with the kids, to spend watching your favourite film or go on a date night with your partner. You need time off basically, and although some people are able to schedule, say thirty minutes a day to do that and stick to it, not everyone can. I know that sometimes I'll plan to watch a TV show and then go back to work, but I'll find that before I get to my scheduled time off my brain and my body go "NOPE" and I have to listen to them because otherwise I find I am unable to do anything for the rest of the day, or perhaps even the rest of the week. So, linked in with number two, know your limits, and also, take some time for yourself.

Sometimes, the key to getting that time to yourself or sticking to your work plan, is that you have to turn down people who want you to do them a favour or who want to chat when you're working. You have to tell yourself that it's okay to tell them that you're busy, or that you can't because you're working/relaxing/don't want to. It's okay to say no and it's okay to lock yourself in your office and shut the door and say "No one disturb me on pain of fictional death!" because sometimes that's just what needs to happen.


I hate to break it to you, but you can't. That means that even if you are someone who can schedule their life down to the last second, you are always gonna end up with something that knocks the schedule off kilter. Like the cat getting sick and you having to go to the vets, or the child having a screaming temper tantrum or just, as I said above, your body having a temper tantrum and telling you that you can't work anymore today. Surprises happen and because you can't predict how the day is going to go, you have to leave some spaces for things that you didn't plan, otherwise when your car breaks down and you're stuck at school waiting for the man from the AA to come and save you, you're going to get stressed out and that's only going to make things worse.

So, those are my five tips for managing your professional and personal lives whilst not driving yourself crazy or making yourself sick because you're trying to do everything at once. One last thing I will say is that you shouldn't compare your schedule with someone else's. Everyone is different (crazy when you consider there are 7 billion of us!) and everyone has different priorities. A writer working on a magazine piece is going to place their work above something like uni work, but someone else may do the opposite. Comparing notes on how to manage is fine - I'm doing it right now - but try not to beat yourself up because you're friends with a writer who does eighteen chapters a day and still does a load of other stuff...and at the same time, don't look down on those who only manage a chapter a week and does little else. Everyone works at different paces and everyone has different things in their lives that may not be obvious to others. Concentrate on your own juggling because if you take your eyes off the balls, you'll drop one.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news about Joey and her books.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Hitting 275 likes on Facebook!

To celebrate reaching 275 likes on Facebook, here is the character profile for Zack from WAITING ON YOU. (Click to enlarge). Once we reach 300 likes - and we're getting closer every day - Joey will release an excerpt from her seventh book, WAITING ON YOU that shows the conversation Zack and Angelina have when they first meet. As a bonus, when we reach 350 likes, Joey will release the conversation they have when they realise they have feelings for each other!

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with all the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Questions From Readers - Part Six


Firstly, I would just like to say that as today is Remembrance Day, thank you to all of those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and also to those who continue to fight for it.

Now, before I went on holiday, I put up one last call for questions from readers on my Facebook page. So this is the last batch for now, but since they prove to get a good response, I will probably do this again in the New Year. So, without further ado, here's the final lot of questions from readers.

Why do you use the label "Bug Books"?
When I was first published by Author House, I was approached by a traditional publisher who wanted to give me a contract, I accepted, and then lost the contract due to health reasons. I was then approached and asked about starting my own independent label. For as long as I can remember I have been known as "JoeyBug" online and the name "Bug Books" became the label that I would use. My plan is to one day start to publish other people's work under the same label and turn it into a small independent publishing house. That may never happen, but for now that's my plan.

How long do you plan to make the Dying Thoughts Series?
Originally, the DYING THOUGHTS series was only supposed to be five books. My original contract was for ten books, five of which would be standalone stories. It was only when I had written the fifth book and left it with a cliffhanger of an ending that I thought about expanding the series. As it stands now, I will write the series until Tara enters the police force and has finished college. I was thinking that would be around seven books, but as I'm writing book six and she's only just started college, it may be a few more. I don't want to overdo it and ruin the series by continuing it for too long, but at the same time, I want to give her the ending she deserves.

Do you ever start a book and then lose inspiration and never finish it?
Since I become a full-time writer, no. I have always finished the books I have started. They haven't always ended up being what they started off as, but I have used the characters and put them in a different story, like with LYNNE & HOPE and one of the books I'm working on now. However, before that, I used to write with a friend at school. We wrote "books" and although one of them has now been taken apart and is unrecognisable as what it was, another one or two will never see the light of day again. I often joke with B, my best friend of many years, that it would be my worst nightmare if one particular story was to come to light. It was so unbelievable bad, but when you're thirteen, these things seem like the best idea ever.

Are you in a relationship?
I am, I am in a complicated relationship with a guy called Scott. It's complicated for a number of reasons, one of which being that we live 4400 miles or so apart. It's a long story as to how we met, short version is that I went to the USA in 2002, met him while I was there, planned to keep in touch, lost touch, then in 2010, he found me through BLACKOUT and came to stay and from there we developed the relationship we have now.

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship?
I have, I'm actually in one now, as mentioned up above. I have also been in a couple in the past that didn't work out for various reasons.

Do you read a lot? If so, do you think it has influenced how you write?
I read a lot of things, like crime novels and chick lit and romance. I also like the odd young adult dystopian fiction and I do think that it has had some effect on how I write. I mostly read adult books, and I write young adult so there is a difference there, but there will be times that I'll read a book that is similar to my own style of writing and find inspiration. I'll read when I'm waiting for hospital appointments, in the mornings when I wait for the school bell to ring, again when I go to pick up Miss D and moments in between. Reading to me is like breathing, it's something I have to do to survive. It's one of the reasons I love my Kindle Fire so much because it means I can carry an array of books with me and dip into one world and then into another without having to move.

What kind of shows do you watch?
I like crime procedural shows, like NCIS or NCIS: LA. I also like to watch Castle but I can also be found watching Grey's Anatomy because I like medical shows too. I watch some sci-fi, like Doctor Who and Fringe, as well as Warehouse 13. I didn't watch as many TV shows before I discovered the joys of Netflix though, so now I can be found curled up with my Kindle Fire or my tablet watching a show from start to finish. Right now, I'm nearing the end of Fringe, Quantum Leap and also watching NCIS and NCIS: LA week by week.

Have you ever finished writing a book and then decided not to publish it?
I have never had that happen yet, but there is always a first time for everything. Due to the fact that I work so far in advance, it could be that between finishing the book and getting it ready for publication, I make a lot of changes and edits and that could mean that what I declared finished all that time ago is vastly different from the published book. Never say never though.

How do you juggle being a student and being a writer whilst being sick?
It is hard, there have been times when I've gone years between writing spurts. That's mostly the extreme though and more to do with lack of inspiration and finding something else to fill the gap of time that I would have spent writing. Since about my third year at university, I have been juggling uni work and book work the majority of the time. There was some talk about me taking a year off to write, but I found I couldn't do that and still complete my degree in the time left. I usually set myself four chapters a fortnight, so two a week. As I write two of one book before switching to the other, it usually means that I spend a week on each book. Recently, I was in hospital for ten days and I found the easiest way to avoid worrying myself into getting sicker is to accept that sometimes, life just gets in the way. Due to the fact that the university I attend is mostly distance learning, I am able to get ahead of the schedule which enables me to take weeks off for sickness and not have to worry too much. I try to apply the same to my writing, I have the next book for publication done, I have no deadline and it's much better to spend energy on getting better again that to waste it by worrying about things that I have no control over.

Describe an average day of being a writer?
My day usually starts at 7am, when I get up, have tablets and tea and read through the internet while eating breakfast. I take Miss D to school for 8:40am and we get back at around 9am. If it's the beginning of the week, I'll spend a couple of hours on uni work, if not, I'll dive right in to book work. I'll update my Facebook page with a plan for the day and say hello to my followers. Depending on what needs to be done, I'll start with a blog post, or emails that need answering. Once that is done, I'll get down to the actual writing part of my day. I'll read through what I've previously written (usually the last two chapters) and get on with some writing. I'll do that on and off until we leave to pick up Miss D for 3pm and then we're usually home for 3:15pm. As I find it harder to work when she's around, I'll go back to doing admin work, whether that's organising promotions, or a give-away or answering more emails. I will then stop working on book stuff around 5pm, have something to eat and head up to bed where I'll read and/or watch Netflix before going to sleep around 8-10pm.

How many murders have your plotted?
It's hard to say really, quite a fair few. It's not just the murders that happen through the books, but also the background ones for things like random cases for Tara to solve. I would probably say close to a hundred, but I guess the good thing is I haven't committed any of them outside of print just yet ;-)

Do you ever get stuck thinking up cases for Tara to solve?
I have had times when I'll ask B if she can think up a new scenario for a case. I don't like to be too repetitive and obviously there needs to be an element that would call for Tara's expertise. If it's obvious who did it then Mike would see no need in calling Tara and asking her to have a vision. Still, as my magnet says: "I'm a Mystery Writer...I know 101 ways to cover up a murder" :-D

What can you see from your office window?
I live in an historic part of town, so right outside my window is the old Railway Works which are, at this precise moment, being turned into a technical college. A main road also runs in front of that so I have the constant noise of cars turning the corner and driving down my street.

Does being disabled and chronically ill have an influence in what you write?
I would be lying if I said that it didn't have some effect on what I write. Hope from LYNNE & HOPE was disabled for a number of reasons, one being that at the time, I had recently become reliant on a wheelchair to get around outside of the house. Another being that I wanted to have a main character with a disability to give some representation to those young people who, like me, live with chronic illness and/or a disability. In my tenth book, the mother is disabled and actually has two of the conditions that I suffer from while another character who bears the brunt of my own illness is Lisa from BLACKOUT. I want to show people, particularly young people, that they are not alone and that a lot of people have disabilities that may not be seen, or may be the only thing people see.

What's the best part to write in a book?
I have to say that for me the best part is both the beginning and the ending. There is no feeling like starting a book and writing those first few words and thinking "yup, it's started now so there's no going back!" But also, there's a rush that comes from typing those last few words and thinking "I did it, it's done!" and knowing that you've come all this way, used all this time, typed all these words and you've told your story. I can't choose between the two as to which is the top choice because for me, they both feel so exhilarating and the adrenaline rush is out of this world.

What's the worst part to write in a book?
The worst part for me is writing what I call filler chapters. They're chapters that are needed because they move the story along, but they don't contain huge amounts of plot. They're usually Tara or whoever going to school and having a lesson or a conversation where things are said or done that help with the overall story or a mini-plot, but they are the most difficult to write. At least that's how I've found them. They are usually the chapters that I get stuck on, or find that the writing doesn't flow and they can be my downfall in getting my four chapters written. I use them less and less these days, but they do still happen and they're usually at the beginning of the book when you're setting the scene. They also appear sometimes in the middle, but generally, as you approach the end, there is little need for them, which might be why I like the ending so much!

How do you avoid losing your flow when you get interrupted?
With a nine year old in the house, you have to accept that you're going to get interrupted. Add to the fact that I can't sit for too long without huge amounts of pain and it's something you learn to work around. Sometimes, I'll shut my office door and it has a sign that says to knock if you hear typing and thankfully, both B and Miss D have learnt that not knocking usually leads to shouting so they do follow that. Other times, I plan my writing hours when Miss D is at school or when I have the house to myself. My advice to anyone who writes and doesn't live alone (or even those that do and have the phone ring or something) is to work through the interruptions if you can and if you can't, try to plan your working hours when they will be kept to a minimum.

Do you have set writing times or do you write when you want?
I do and I don't. Like, today, I've finished my uni work and after this blog post I plan to do a couple of chapters of editing of WAITING ON YOU before moving onto doing some writing for book eleven. If all goes to plan and my muse sings, then I will carry on with this schedule until I hit a snag - be that writer's block or interruptions. However, the beauty of being able to write when I want - within reason - means that sometimes I will do just that. I find inspiration, I open my word program and I just type away and don't worry too much about time.

What's the best part of being an indie author?
The best part is having control over when I publish. Due to my health conditions, I don't do well with deadlines and because of that, being an indie author means I can control when a book is released and when it's "due". I don't have to worry about being harassed by a publisher or editor about getting a certain number of chapters to them by x date. I also don't have to worry too much if editing takes longer than expected. It's my decision to release a book a year, it's under my control if I choose not to release that book until later than previously planned. I guess you could say that I'm a little bit of a control freak.

What's the worst part of being an indie author?
Probably the amount of work it takes. When you are traditionally published, a lot of the work is taken away from you because that's the publishers job, to edit, to promote, to make sure that you have all the time you need to write. I also don't like the attitude held by many people in the writing world that because I'm an indie writer, that means that my books are automatically less worthy of being for sale, that I am not "good enough" to make it professionally. Attitudes are changing as indie publishing becomes more and more popular and accessible, but for now there is a divide between those who believe that being published traditionally is the only way to be a "real author" and those that don't see it that way.

What has been your most embarrassing writing related moment?
I don't really have one, but I can think of a few things that would be very embarrassing, like one of those stories I wrote when I was thirteen seeing the light of day, or worse someone getting hold of them and publishing them...argh! I'm breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it!

Who is your editor?
My editor is a friend of mine called Kim. It's not her day job, but it is something she excels at. She's great at not just picking up on grammar and spelling issues, but also on plot holes. At one point whilst editing DYING THOUGHTS - THIRD WISH she noticed a huge one, but she was able to see that it was a place where I'd obviously started laying the ground work, but had then gotten distracted and forgotten about closing the hole. She is thorough and goes through my work with a fine tooth comb, plus she likes my books which is always a plus.

And finally, do you think you'll ever run out of ways to tell a story?
When I am nearing the end of a book, I find that I start to get a little panicked and anxious about what my next two stories will be. With the DYING THOUGHTS series, I usually have some idea where I'm taking the overall story and can then work out the major case for the book. However, with the standalone stories, sometimes it takes a while for the story seed to grow enough that I can turn it into an actual book. I've always said that I will keep writing until I run out of ideas and *touch wood* it hasn't happened yet.

And those are all the questions Joey received. Don't worry if you didn't manage to send one in, Joey will be doing this again in the New Year. Until then, if you want to be kept up to date with all the news about Joey and her books, you can follow her on Facebook or here on her blog.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Catch-up Post

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the lack of updates. I was in hospital for a couple of weeks and have only really just managed to get on top of all the work that I missed while incapacitated. I am also going on holiday tomorrow and so will be absent for a further five days, but normal service should resume when I return next Saturday.

Secondly, I just wanted to open up the floor for any more questions from readers that people would like to send in. I have a few more that I have yet to answer and would like to have a few more before I do a post. As usual, if you have a question for me, you can email me at and I'll try to do a post with the answers when I return from my time away.

Just before I went into hospital, we managed to reach over 250 likes on Facebook and as promised I released the character profile for Angelina from WAITING ON YOU which is my seventh book and will hit the shelves in July 2014. I was too unwell to manage posting it here too, so am rectifying that mistake now. Below you'll find the graphic with the information about Angelina on it. (Click to enlarge)

The next goal to be reached in 275 likes on Facebook, at which point I will post the profile of Zack from WAITING ON YOU both here and on my Facebook page. I think we're at around 263, so hopefully when I return from holiday I'll be able to share that graphic with you all. Once we reach 300 likes, I will be releasing a snippet from the book. It is a part of the online conversation that Zack and Angelina have when they realise their feelings for each other.

I have a few guest blog posts coming up and will update links here, and post on Facebook when they are published. As always, anyone wishing to guest blog here, feel free to contact me on with details of what you'd like to write about, as well as any links and such for promotion. 

Please do keep your eyes open for some flash give-aways both here and on Facebook as well as the usual information about release dates and other promotions.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Questions from Readers - Part Five

A few weeks ago, Joey asked on her Facebook page for anyone with questions to email her about her books, being a writer, being disabled and anything else. This is the second batch of answers, feel free to send your own questions to Joey via email to and she'll include them in the next post she does.
How much planning do you put into one book? How much research do you do?
It really does depend on each book. Some plots are ones that I can work out with little research needed. Others are outside of my own comfort zone and I rely a lot on information from people, websites and books. I like to be as accurate as I can be, but I also don't want to info dump into a book when it's not needed so I have to be careful not to add too much information than necessary. For the DYING THOUGHTS books, I am usually only using information that I already know. There is some research needed, but not all that much. For other books, such as my seventh which is due out next year, I had to do a bit more research and planning to make sure that I had all the information I needed. As far as planning goes, I am a meticulous planner. I make sure I have chapter plans and character note cards (for every character, even very minor ones) so that I can look back and make sure that as I write the book there are no continuity errors. Of course, sometimes they do happen, but I have a great editor who is good at not only spotting them, but also knowing what I meant to happen.

Who's your favourite character to write?
That's a hard one. By far, Tara is the character that I write about the most. I'm working on the sixth book in the series right now and it feels like I have grown up with her in regards to my writing career. However, I do like and love some of the characters I have created for standalone books. I don't think I've ever really written a character that I don't feel a connection with as a write. I also love the secondary characters, such as Kaolin or Tara's Dad. I guess though, that because of the amount of time I have spent with her, I do have a bias towards Tara. She's been there since almost the beginning and she's still there now.

What do you prefer, writer or author?
In terms of what I call myself,  I will prefer to use the term "writer", but I would class my job title as "author" so I don't really have that much of a preference. I figure they both mean the same thing, except that author is usually only used for people who have been published. I would say that the term author denotes more a profession than a pastime, but personally, I like both and I use them interchangeably. 

Why do you write so many books in advance? Why not just release all the ones you have finished straight away?

When I started writing, I was full of ideas and never really wanted to wait for a publisher to sign me up before I wrote another book or two. I also was very aware of my health conditions and the limitations they had over my life. Although I am now an indie author and have a lot more control over when and how often I publish, I do prefer to keep some books "in reserve" so to speak. I like the idea that I am able to wait and then if I do not finish another book as quickly as I would have liked, I still have one ready to be published. It would take a lot of work for both myself, my graphic artist and my editor to get all the books I've written out and published ASAP. It could be done, but I do not work well under pressure and do not want to be worried about how long it takes me to finish a book, or how long the editing and after process takes. My way works for me and I'm happy with it.

How easy is it to be an indie writer?
That really does depend on how you look at it. As I have said in the past, there are pros and cons of both routes. When you are signed on by a traditional publisher, you have a lot of the behind the scenes work done for you. They will help you with editing, cover design, promotion and all those things that you don't realise you'll need until you're faced with doing it yourself. That said, being an indie author is not that hard. With the age of e-books upon us, it is low cost to publish under your own label or with a smaller publishing house. There are sites like Amazon, and Smashwords that will take care of the distribution of your books and other sites like Createspace that do that for hard copies. However, you need to find a proof reader or if you want a more detailed breakdown, an editor. There are lots of them out there who are independent and who work only with indie authors. I follow more than a few on my Facebook page. Alongside that, you need to find someone, or have the skills yourself, to design a cover and any promotional graphics. You need a Facebook page and you need to get it noticed - again, not as hard as it may seem when you use some of the pages dedicated to helping indie authors. You need to have some idea about where to start, when to run promotions or coupons and how to market your book, and yourself to the general public. It's hard work and it's not all free. You need to set a budget and be realistic about it. You can't just expect other people to work for free and you can't expect to press "publish" and then have the royalties roll in. If people don't know that your book is out there, how are you going to make money? It's not easy, but it's also not impossible, there are an abundance of resources for indie authors and you need to find some connections to make the most of those resources. I've been under the Bug Books label since 2005 and I'm still learning the ropes!

Do you ever get confused whilst writing two books at once? 

A lot of people ask me this, but what I do is not something that's unusual for many writers. I am by no means the first or the last writer that has more than one project going at once. I may be in the minority of writers who write full length novels at once, but it's not as strange as it may sound. I plan a lot and I always go through the previous two chapters before checking my chapter plan and carrying on with the story. I can honestly say that I have never gotten confused. I think it's because usually I'm writing both a standalone and a DYING THOUGHTS book, so they are both very different. 

Do you ever feel like writing more than two chapters of one book and not switch to the other? 

Sometimes, if I'm fully in the plot and know that I'm about to do a big reveal and then end the chapter and switch over to the other book I do feel like just carrying on. I don't because if I did that, I would probably never get the other book done! I have never been so stuck with one that I have given up and written more of the other. I like setting things up in previous chapters and then coming back and thinking "Oh yes, now I get to tell/show the reader this!" and it excites me and off I go.

How long have you been disabled?

That depends on how you define "disabled". If you mean how long have I been sick, most of my life. If you mean how long have I used a wheelchair, since I was twenty.

Do you ever get so stuck with a book that you stop writing it and leave it unfinished? 

Yes, a couple of times I have started a book, written a couple of chapters and realised that I am just not able to finish it. Both times I have come back at a later date, switched a few things around - like the whole plot, but keeping the characters - and started again. One of those times was with the original story of LYNNE & HOPE I had planned for Hope to be disabled, but I didn't plan for Lynne to be her sister, or even alive. She was going to be a ghost that haunted Hope's house and wanted her to solve her murder. The second time, I changed everything but the religious aspect and that has turned into one of the books I'm writing now.

Have you ever based a character on yourself?
I think in a way, a little part of me ends up in every character I write. Whether it's my use of sarcasm or the my view on certain things. I infuse myself into every character. However, I have not based any characters completely on myself. People don't want to read about one person over and over, they want new people and so I try to keep the characters unique and as unlike me as possible.

Do you have any pets?

I do, I have two cats. Miss Penne, who's a black, white and ginger cat and Miss Spaghetti (also called Hetti) who's a black and white cat. I named them both after types of pasta. It's a tradition that started with a kitten I was given when I was fifteen. My mum wanted me to call her something "different" and since my favourite dish at the time was Macaroni Cheese, she was called Macaroni, after her came Tagliatelle and now the two I have at the moment.

Why did you choose to write in the young adult genre?

When I started writing my first book, I was part of the young adult genre. I was nineteen and I felt it was easier to write for people my own age. Since then I have found that I prefer to write for young adults because you can get away with things like psychic powers and seeing ghosts.

Do you ever intend to write books for adults?

I have no plans to at the moment, but that's not to say that I won't ever write for adults. I read mostly adult crime fiction as well as some "chick lit" and romance, but I can't imagine myself being able to write stories that would appeal to older people. Having said that, I do know that there are some older readers of my books, but I don't see myself writing about Tara when she reaches her twenties.

Where do you get the ideas for your titles? 

Usually the same place that I get the ideas for the stories. They just come to me. Sometimes they arrive before the book idea does, other times they don't become clear until I've already started the book. 

Do you ever intend to release your books as paperbacks? 

I do, I am waiting on the new front covers from my graphic artist so that they can be released with the updated covers. Once that is done, she'll make them into a book format and the books currently released will come out as paperbacks too.

Do you play any musical instruments? 

I do, I play both the Ukulele and the Oboe. I actually sing in a band called "The Rocking Dodars". I write the songs and my band mates do the music and then I add a vocal track. 

What do you do to relax and have fun?

I read, I watch TV, I play online and I play Ukulele. I don't have as much spare time as I used to with university and such, but I try to have a few hours in the evening to unwind and do something fun.

If you could spend a day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
If it had to be someone I knew personally, I was spend it with a friend of mine who died in 2008. her name was Lynn Gilderdale, but I knew her as Jessie Oliver. I would talk to her, catch up and just spend time being with her. If it was someone I didn't know then it would probably be someone like Harlan Coben or Sue Grafton who are both writers that I admire greatly.

What are you studying at uni?

I am a few days from starting my fifth and final year for a BA/BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care. 

Follow Joey on her Facebook page or here on her blog to be kept up to date with everything Joey related. If you have a question for Joey, you can email her at