Sunday 30 June 2013



I am pleased to say that I now have the new front cover for DYING THOUGHTS - THIRD WISH and can give you all a sneak preview before it's release on JULY 8TH 2013. The plan is for my graphic artist to redo all the covers from already released books so be sure to keep an eye out for those!

And without further ado, here is the new and final cover for DYING THOUGHTS - THIRD WISH!

I hope you all like it as much as I do :D

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Friday 21 June 2013

You Always Remember Your First - The Creative Process

You Always Remember Your First

We all have to start somewhere. Many writers will tell you that their first story is one that they worked hard at to make it into the final product. That's true for all works really, it takes a lot of work to get it to what you want it to be. However, your first book, that first story that made you dip your toe into the writing pool, it's not something you easily forget. For me, that was THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE. I started writing the story when I was thirteen, and then spent the next nine years or so pulling it apart and making it into what it is today. In the beginning of my writing career, I was immature and unaware of the massive mistakes I was making.

My first characters - Chloe, Sarah & Charlotte - guided me through the minefield of book writing and helped me come to a point where they would tell their story effectively. I remember being sat on my bed, with the original story notes, crossing out and writing whole new pieces and paragraphs, keeping some bits and throwing out others. It took me a long time to get them all right. I wanted thirteen year olds who would be able to help other people in similar situations. With Chloe, it was dealing with the death of her father. Sarah had an alcoholic mother and gambling father. Charlotte had just found out her dad wasn't her biological father. They all  helped to guide me and began the process that made me into the writer I am today. I do wonder sometimes how my characters would be if they could age outside their story. In the book, the girls are thirteen, facing major issues and only really being able to rely on each other for support. I wanted a story that would show how special friendship can be to tweens and how it can also be the rock in our lives that gets us through to adulthood.

I know that my own experience is pretty rare - I'm still friends with my best friend from school and we've known each other for about nineteen years now - which is terrifying and makes me feel *very* old! However, as a teenager with her own versions of upset and drama, I lent on my close friends and I know that I am not alone in doing that. What I wanted to do with THE FREINDSHIP TRIANGLE was add a little bit of magic to the lives of tweens. The majority of my work is focused on the age group of 13+, but that first book was aimed at people of the age I was when I wrote it. However, now that I'm older and have written more and, some would say, better books, I can see that my first is probably more aimed at those under 13.

As most writers will tell you, your first book holds a special place in your heart. I wrote other stories before being published and when BLACKOUT was finished, and picked up by AuthorHouse, people always assumed that it was my first, but I kept THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE to one side. I planned to release it at some point, but I wasn't sure at the time whether it was well and truly finished. Some would say that it is not my best work, others would disagree. I personally feel that it is finished. It was a huge chunk of my life: nine years from start to finish and about two hundred edits later, it's done. (I may only be slightly exaggerating with two hundred, it was closer to twelve!) As mentioned in other pieces, there comes a time when you have to tell yourself that it's finished, it's over and that by taking apart and adding more and more, you are losing what you wanted in the first place. I got to that point with THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE.

So, although reminiscing is fun, and you never do quite forget your first completed works, there is a point when you have to put it to bed, close the edit box and just allow the story to stand on it's own two feet. It will either crash, or it will fly and as the creator, you have to be prepared for both. If you're not ready to hear the bad critics, you're also not ready to hear the good ones either.

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Writing Characters - Chloe, Sarah & Charlotte

Writing Characters - Chloe, Sarah & Charlotte.

When writing characters, you always put a bit of yourself into them. Whether you mean to or not, even if it is only noticeable to you, the writer, there is always a little piece of you in your characters. I feel that this is that much more true with the characters from THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE.


Chloe was my first character. She was the one I started the book with and although the book tells the story of all three girls, my focus was on Chloe. I put a lot of myself into her. I started writing this book when I was thirteen, and Chloe was me. I know people say that you should never base a character on yourself because it becomes obvious. I broke that rule because I was thirteen and had been writing stories (or at least telling them) for a big part of my life. I finally had the courage to put pen to paper and I remember writing that opening scene. It was something taken from my own, every day life. The difference was that I stopped being Chloe at some point during my many edits of this book. She still was me, but she was not me at the same time. In the beginning, Chloe's father was alive and her parents were going through a nasty divorce. It was my own way of dealing with the issues in my life. If you've read the book, you'll know now that her father has died and it's a completely different set up. I took out pieces that made Chloe a copy of me, and added bits that made her a completely fictional character. Just like she is today. Chloe was a joy to write. She helped to lead me through the trials of being a teenager, with issues at home. She led the way for other characters such as Tara and Tally, who were also facing their own issues. You never do forget your first, be that a character or a book.


Sarah started her character life as a friend of mine. She was based on her, but as with Chloe, while re-writing and even writing in the beginning, she became the character she is now. Sarah had parents who were separated and her father had a drinking problem, along with gambling away their money. She and her mother ended up living in a bad part of town on a council estate. She faced severe bullying at school and struggling with her life. Writing her was hard, not just because of the issues she faced but because I had, and have continued to, a connection with her. I hurt for the character and although it may have helped me with the book itself, it was painful to write. I couldn't give Sarah what she wanted more than anything, but I was able to help heal some of the wounds, and she did mange to recover and move onto a brighter period in her life.


Charlotte was also based on a friend of mine. She ended up being nothing like her. Not in looks or personality. The whole story of Charlotte was her finding out that she and her younger sister were not technically full sisters and the struggles she faced as her father and mother separated and he shunned her, while wanting the child that was biologically his. Again, I found it hard to write Charlotte, I had some personal experience with feeling "unwanted", but putting myself in her shoes made my heart ache. Yet, she still got through it, and I got through writing the scenes. She was easy to write in some ways, but in others not so much. She is another one of my firsts that paved the way for me to develop characters in other books. For that, I still hold a special place in my writing mind for all three of these characters.

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Wednesday 19 June 2013

Joey Talks - Vlog 18th June 2013

I finally managed to get the video edited and uploaded last night. Apologies for not posting it sooner, I had uni work that needed doing!

Thanks for reading and watching!


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Tuesday 18 June 2013

Guest Bloggers Wanted!


As you'll all be aware, I have recently been writing pieces that I have classed as "The Creative Process". I have also done a series called "The After Process" and some posts about writing specific characters, all of which can be found here. I have also been doing a lot of promotion on Facebook and have made some great contacts with other writers. I have an interview coming up in a friend's blog and would like to offer the opportunity to have other writers do similar posts on my blog.

If you are a writer, indie or not, and wish to write about one of the topics below, please contact me at and let me know which topic you have chosen and approximately when the piece will be ready to be published. Feel free to cross-post to your own blog, facebook, website etc. I would like to be able to do one a week, but that will all depend on the response I get. 

The topics are:

-> Dealing with Writer's Block
-> Planning, research and creating
-> The editing process - Ayla Page (here)
-> Indie vs traditional publishing
-> What inspires my writing - Kate Hawkins (here)
-> Writing for my chosen genre(s)

Once I get a request for a topic, I will mark it as taken and link to the guest blogger's own website and/or blog. Some of the topics could be used more than once and it would be interesting to get different takes on them. So, if you're a writer - either published traditionally, self/indie published or even someone who has yet to make the leap, feel free to contact me at and write a piece.

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Give-away Winner!

I am pleased to announce that I reached 80 likes before the weekend and starting the give-away. It ended last night at midnight and this morning I went over to and rolled the winning number, shown above. The winner - Jerkin Jellylegs - has been contacted and is very happy to have won and looking forward to receive her choice of book.

Thanks everyone who took part and keep an eye on this blog and my facebook page for more give-aways and competitions!

Tuesday 11 June 2013


I've decided that once I reach 80 LIKES on Facebook, I will do a book give-away. Basically I am offering the winner the choice between BLACKOUT, DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH, THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE & DYING THOUGHTS - SECOND SIGHT in whatever e-book format they wish. You can read about the books at the links above and it only applies to books available on Smashwords.

The rules and such are:

1. Once my page has reached 80 likes, I will post and ask everyone who wants to take part to pick a number between 1 and 100.

2. I will use a random number generator to choose a number and the person with the number wins. If the number hasn't been picked, I will re-roll until a winner is chosen.

3. Everyone can pick ONE number and enter ONCE. Repeat entries will be ignored.

4. I will contact the winner via Facebook and post the winner on my blog AND Facebook. They will then be able to chose ONE of the above books in the format they wish. 

5. If I am unable to reach the winner within 72 HOURS, I will pick another winner using the same generator.

6. Prize not transferable, worth money or any of that stuff.

Good Luck and feel free to share the link with friends!

Friday 7 June 2013

Comfort Zone - The Creative Process

Comfort Zone

We all know and love certain things in life. Same as we all know and love certain genres. Some of us love the crime, some of us love the fantasy, the sci-fi, the mystery and all of that. The thing about being a writer is that you get to choose where you write. You get to decide if you're book is going to be all one genre or a mix of one, or two, or even three! It's a great thing and one part of writing is knowing where your strengths lie. Some people naturally write better stories that are set in a certain time or place. Some write better when they have hard facts to back them up. Some even throw all that out of the window, create a whole universe and start from scratch and that's all okay. In fact, it's what makes the reading and writing world so full of so many different things and allows everyone to find something they would enjoy.

The trick as a writer is to not get too comfortable. Sometimes, you have to write outside of your comfort zone. It's a big part of the job, and although it can be difficult, scary, in fact even downright terrifying, it has to be done. No matter how much you think you need to write the same stuff over and over, you can't. If you want to grow as a writer, you need to experience different areas of expertise. Sometimes that means you have to do more research - either the internet searching kind, or the going down to the library kind. Or even the interviewing people kind. Whatever you need to do to manage it, you need to find the courage to step away from what you know and learn new things.

If you've read any of my books - bar a couple - you'll have noticed that I general stick to the mystery and crime genre. It works for me. I find it easier to write things I know. That includes things like hospital and medical stuff - which you'll have seen in some of my books, if not all of them. That's find for me to do, but like I said, sometimes you have to step out of the comfort zone and expand your horizons. It's a hard balance to strike sometimes. You have to decide how much of a challenge you're going to give yourself.

If you normally feel safe writing about romance and sci-fi, maybe you choose to write about an alternative universe and crime. The choices are limitless, you can take what you know and move around into areas of what you don't know. It helps you to grow as a writer, and it stops your stories from becoming predictable and limited. If research isn't your favourite pastime, then you need to keep it at a level where you have some knowledge. That doesn't stop you from going further afield. You may find a new genre that you actually find easier to write, or something that you can write better stories about.

The job of a fiction writer is to somewhat create from nothing. To turn letters into books and books into series and so on. If you stay within your comfort zone, you risk clipping your own wings so to speak. Moving away from what you know and into the unknown, allows you to dip your toe in uncharted waters. It helps you grow, it brings new readers to your work and it keeps your muses singing. What more could a writer want?

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Sunday 2 June 2013

Thinking Outside The Box - The Creative Process

Thinking Outside The Box

When you're a writer, you have to problem solve at times. Depending on your genre, depends on what problems you have to solve. The fact that every story must have some plot, something you're trying to work through. Be that angst, romance, hurt/comfort, fluff, I could go on, but I won't because you know what I'm talking about. Once you have your plot, then you add sub-plots, all of which I've spoken about before (found here).

What separates a story for being okay to being good is how you get from the beginning to the middle to the end. It's how you solve those problems and to do that, you need to think outside the box. You need to not use a trope that has been used a thousand times before and you need to find a way, that yes, may have been used once or twice or even a few hundred times, BUT still has a twist of your own on it.

It's not an easy thing to achieve. In fact, sometimes it's down right impossible, but that's a part of the job. If you hang around on places like Tumblr or Livejournal, Facebook or even Twitter, you'll probably be aware of writing communities, tags, hash tags and all the other things. One thing they will all say are that research is something essential to a good piece of writing. I've spoken about this before (found here) and I'll say it again. You can NEVER do TOO MUCH research. It's time consuming, but it's so worth it. Some writer's love that part of the job more than others. I'm not one of them, but still it HAS to be done.

Part of research is checking that the facts you are given are true. That can be done by either checking with a different website, or with someone who knows this stuff...or even trying it out for yourself. Here's an example. In my fifth Dying Thoughts book, I have Tara tied to a chair with cable ties. I thought about whether or not she could escape and then in the end, I found a video on YouTube (posted on Tumblr) detailing how a person bound with cable ties could break free. I have yet to test it, but my carer has been kind enough to give it a go. She's about the same build and height as Tara so it should give me some idea. That's just an example of how you can check your facts.

Back to the thinking outside the box. I am sure that there have been a few thousand stories where people have escaped from the situation I have placed Tara in. I'm sure that the way the scene is written, can also be something repeated over and over. The key to a good writer, is to make it seem that you, the reader, HAVEN'T read this scene somewhere else. You achieve that by thinking about the way it is usually presented and adding your own flair, words, signature if you will. Just as an artist would do with a painting of Van Gogh's Night Sky. The idea is to NOT copy directly (plagiarism is bad!) but to add something that makes your scene unique. Something that people will read and class as your take on it. That's what you're going for and that's what it means to think outside the box.

So, go forth and make your own masterpieces. Who knows, maybe one day people in English Literature classes will be tearing your book to pieces to find it's hidden meaning :D

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