Friday 19 December 2014

Spoonie Writer: When Your Meds Interfere

Spoonie Writer: When Your Meds Interfere

Have you ever tried to write when you've got a large dose of painkillers in you? Or when you've just taken a sleeping tablet? Or maybe when you're in the midst of taking a nebuliser? If you have, then you know what I'm talking about, and if not, then let me explain. When you have chronic illnesses, you usually have to rely on some form of medication to keep yourself stable, out of a flare and somewhat functional. For me, that includes two of the above. I use a patch to control my pain, and use nebulisers daily to make sure I keep breathing, since my lungs seem to think it's optional. Now, if you've never had a strong pain killer, you're probably not aware that at times, it can make you feel like your brain is ten minutes behind the rest of your body. It's not the best time to do anything that requires too much thinking, but when you're on doses of strong painkillers the majority of the time, there doesn't really seem to be much of a choice. After all, writing when you're in a lot of pain isn't the best time to do it either.

Having had a chronic pain condition for the majority of my adult life, and all of my writing career, I can tell you that sometimes the meds I take to make me functional leave me feeling anything but. There are times, like right now, when my pain levels are not conducive to a good nights sleep and I find myself sat here at 1:45am with nothing else to do but write; hence why the majority of these posts are tagged with "late night musings". When you're chronically ill and want to write, you have to find ways to work around the problems you're faced with regarding your health. One of those is working around both the side effects of your medication and the actual effects of your medication. Sometimes you're never sure which one is which.

I usually employ a few tactics to make sure that what I write when I'm on painkillers, or when I've done a run of nebulisers back to back, makes sense and isn't actually the ramblings of a drug induced stupor. One of these tactics is that every blog post I make, whenever it's written, is then checked by my carer to make sure that I haven't left any sentences hanging and that I actually get across the point I'm trying to make. It's one of the reasons I have so many left ready to post, because I usually write them in bulk, to then be read through and posted at a later date. It's the one way I can be sure that I always have content for my blog, other than postings about giveaways and upcoming book releases.

Another tactic is to read it to myself out loud when I'm not feeling as bad as I was when I sat down and wrote it. This usually helps me to work out if what I've written is worth saving or if it should just be cut and forgotten about. You may be wondering why I bother to write if I'm feeling that bad; sometimes it's because I believe as a writer that you need to write something every day and that means that sometimes I have to write when I feel completely awful, and other times it's because when it's the middle of the night, there are only so many noise friendly ways to entertain yourself. It also gives me a chance to catch up on the admin parts of being an indie author that I may not have gotten to during the day when I've been banging away at the keyboard getting chapters written.

Despite this, sometimes I'll write a chapter and when I go through to edit it before it goes off to my editor, I'll find myself wondering how on earth it made it into the book in the first place. Other times, it will be my editor who'll be doing the wondering. I know that I can't be the only spoonie who finds that when they're under the influence of meds, they do, say or write something that they would never have done/said/written otherwise. So it pays to have some kind of control measures in place to make sure that your late night musings whilst desperate for sleep, or in the midst of a painkiller's side effects, never make it out there to the public. While it is pretty impossible to catch everything, you still need to be sure that you caught most things. On that note, I think it's time to sleep!

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

Thursday 4 December 2014

Livin' The Indie Life Round-up for December 3rd 2014

#livintheindielife Round-up for December 3rd 2014

As an experiment yesterday I did a day in the life of an indie author on Twitter, Instagram and my Facebook. The idea was to use the tag #livintheindielife and do updates as to what I was doing. It worked quite well and I got some positive feedback. I'm hoping to do it again at some point and may even pair up with some other indie authors so we can all tweet, blog and all the rest on the same day to give our readers an idea of what it's like being an Indie Author.

Below is the roundup of each tweet, the two instagram posts and the one Facebook status I made. If you're interested in taking part in this in the future, you can as always email me at

09:34 bit of an earlier start than planned, but Miss D is at school and I'm doing my morning stuff before writing #livintheindielife

10:40 had some tea, now time to catch up with @tumblr then I plan to do some #writing #livintheindielife

10:53 need to do some #research for a blog post so will be foregoing the start of #writing to get that done! #livintheindielife

11:44 still doing #research but getting ready to #write #livintheindielife #wordnerd #whyiwrite #beingawriter

12:17 I'm almost to the point where I can start #writing and doing more with my chapters. #livintheindielife

12:18 Just a reminder that I'm doing a day in the life of an indie author today on Twitter, Instagram and here. Keep an eye on the tag #livintheindielife to see how it goes!

And for an update, managed to get some research done, plan to get a blog post up soon and then go on with some review emails as well as trying to get my chapters done!

12:43 Biting down my anxiety and emailing three book blogs for reviews. I've been putting it off for too long #livintheindielife

13:13 Review emails have been sent, as well as a couple of requests for author spotlights. The work never ends! #livingtheindielife

13:14 With the admin work done though, I can now focus on #writing. I plan to finish this chapter before getting Miss D #livintheindielife

13:53 One chapter down and another in the works. Gonna have to take a break soon to do the school run, oh bother! #livintheindielife

14:17 laying the groundwork for Tara's first case in this book. Trying to stay out of the "zone" so I can leave soon #livintheindielife

14:25 Taking a break since I have to get Miss D soon, so looking for new books to add to my TBR list #livintheindielife #readingisgreat

15:35 Home for a bit after school run, but off out w/ Miss D for dinner in town so a break from #writing #livintheindielife

15:58 Off out to McD's for dinner w/ Miss D, after which I'll have all evening to do more #writing #livintheindielife

15:59 I want to try and finish this chapter and then tomorrow I can start bonus chapters! #livintheindielife


16:27 dinner out with Miss D means time away from the books but so worth it #selfie #livintheindielife #writing #whyiwrite

17:16 Just getting a blog post queued up ready and then back to #writing my chapter. Time to hit the zone #livintheindielife #amwriting

18:22 A full day of work time to relax, read and have a catch up w/ a friend #livintheindielife

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

Wednesday 3 December 2014

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Getting Reviews & Promotions

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Getting Reviews & Promotions
One of the big disadvantages of being an indie author rather than being with a traditional publishing house is that the majority of the promotion you get is driven by how much work you're willing to put into things. Sure, you can pay to have someone do the majority of it for you, and I cover that in the piece about outsourcing (found here),  but if you're low on funds, or even just new to the indie author crowd, you'll have to work out how best to promote yourself before you can find people to help you.

Of course, once your book is ready to be published, you'll have something to promote, but before that point, you really don't have much to offer potential readers and you'll find that a lot of your time is spent making good connections for once your book is available (a piece can be found here). I know that when I first started out under the Bug Books label, I was completely unaware of how best to proceed to get sales. It was never a massive thing for me, I enjoy writing and I love the idea of other people enjoying my work, so while I do like it when I make sales, for the first year or so I pretty much did nothing.

A big part of promotion is getting people to review your books and you can approach this a number of ways. You can let people come across it, buy it and review if they so choose, which works up to a point, but the majority of people buying books or anything on Amazon or other sites don't tend to go back to review unless they really really loved it, or really didn't like it. Think about the last time you went out of your way and reviewed something. It doesn't happen that often. The exception, of course, is for people who review things for a job, who are pretty much paid to review things.

Now, you can join groups on Facebook that exist for the sole purpose of connecting indie authors with other authors and aid in the process of swapping books, or even just offer to review someone else's work. There are a few words of caution though. If you are ever told that they'll give you a five star review without having looked at the book or even the synopsis or sample, so long as you pay them a certain amount, run away and do not look back. It may be something that some companies do with their products, but even traditionally published authors do not usually pay for their reviews. If you want an honest review, you need to be ready to take whatever criticism you may receive. It's hard, but it's a great way to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are in your story. It's hard when you've poured your heart and soul into your work to be then told that it's not something one particular person enjoyed, but it's part of putting your book out there to be read by the general public. Besides which, one person may hate it, but another person may love it and having a wide array of reviews helps to draw in readers.

The reviews are not there to puff up your own ego, and while that may be a side effect, reviews are primarily there to help other readers decide if they want to part with their money in exchange for a good story. I know that when you're starting out and planning on carving out a name for yourself, it can be tempting to contact the reviewer to ask why they didn't like your book or why they gave it three starts instead of five, but it is never a good idea to respond to reviews, no matter how much you want to know more. There are authors, both indie and traditional, that have done so and it has not worked out well for them.

In addition to reviews, there are other ways to promote your work. I've discussed getting involved in giveaways and events (found here) but sometimes it can be as simple as joining a group whose main goal is to get everyone's name out into the writing world. You can do this through blog posts, through Facebook, Tumblr or Google+. There are always like-minded individuals who want to promote themselves, but who also have space to help you on your writing journey as well. The indie author world is full of interesting people and some of my best supporters and writing friends have come into my life through groups such as these. It's always a good idea to make connections and to have reciprocal relationships with other authors, and as long as you remember to both give and receive promotions and reviews, you'll be off to a good start.

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

Monday 1 December 2014

Guest Blogger - Armen Pogharian

Hi everyone!
I'd like to welcome Armen Pogharian to my blog. He's a young adult author and his books are fantastic! Here's a little bit about him!

Unlike many authors, Armen was not an early reader.  He can honestly say he didn’t voluntarily read a book until he finished The Hobbit in sixth grade.  He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an Honorable-Mention All-American swimmer.  As a USAF officer, he worked on ‘Area 51’ projects – he never saw a single alien (dead or alive).  He later earned an MBA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and spent more than a decade in the high tech and biotech industries. His stories mix elements of science and history with a healthy dose of fantasy.  When not writing he enjoys swimming, reading, and the outdoors.  He lives in Pittsford, NY with his wife and three children. You can find him on Facebook here or follow his blog for more information.

I've read three of his books and will include my reviews of them, but first he's written a piece on where he gets his ideas from.

As a writer, I’m often asked, where do I get ideas for my stories?  As much as I’d like to lay claim to some form of creative genius, the sad truth is mine is a rather convoluted and muddled path, which reminds me of an old television program.  Back in the 1980s, when US cable TV was still relatively young, hungry for content, and the History channel hadn’t discovered reality programming, my channel surfing helped me discover James Burke’s Connections.  It’s a wonderfully different way of looking at how seemingly unrelated events, technologies, and societal trends impact the modern world.  One episode connects the concept of credit to sending a man to the moon.  Along the way the program examines military tactics, Napoleon, canned food, and refrigeration.  Taking a page from Mr. Burke (admittedly a much smaller page), here’s my attempt at making some interesting connections to some of my own writing.

As a young child the television show Sesame Street (for those outside the states it’s a public television program famous as the original home of the Muppets) had a huge impact on me.  It debuted when I was four and quickly became my first must-see-TV show.  It taught me my ABCs, how to count to ten, and lots of other great stuff.  Besides Oscar the Grouch, who lived in the coolest garbage can, my favourite characters were Ernie and Bert.  Their banter and antics were to pre-schoolers what Laurel & Hardy or Abbott & Costello were for the previous generation of adults.  Like the great vaudeville comedic teams the simple Ernie consistently gets the best of the sceptical Bert, albeit in a very kid-friendly manner.

While the creators say it’s a mere coincidence, there’s a popular rumour that the two were named for the cab driver and policeman from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  Even if that’s not true, the two characters have inspired use of their names in other media.  Bert and Ernie Moon from the British show EastEnders were named after the famous Muppets, as were a pair of suspected extra-galactic neutrinos detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole.  The observatory’s location and detection mechanism may allow it to provide the first experimental proof of the extra-dimensions predicted by String Theory.

Okay, so what’s the connection?  Misaligned is a contemporary YA fantasy series that began as my attempt to answer the question:  What happens at the intersection of String Theory and the Welsh origins of Arthurian myth?  A wandering mind is often a wondering mind.

Eighth grader Penny Preston unknowingly creates a trans-dimensional rift, which causes a food fight. Instead of being suspended, she discovers that she exists in more than three dimensions; she is misaligned. In training, she learns that she is the key to preventing higher-dimensional beings from entering our universe with god-like powers. Together with her multi-dimensional cat, Penny struggles to save her relationship with her best friend, protect her universe, and uncover her connection to Celtic myth.

My review: 
5/5 - Highly Recommended!

Meet Penny, born with one eye a different colour from the other. She's slowly realising that she's a little different from her peers but before she can explore it fully, she's thrust into life as someone who is misaligned - that is, someone who can see other dimensions and travel between them. The only problem is, there's some power that's desperate to harness what she can do to open their own portal to another dimension. This book is downright AWESOME. I was a little unsure as to whether I'd enjoy it and I'm very pleased to say that I was completely wrong! I found myself reluctant to stop when nighttime came, saying "just one more chapter". When it ended, I was desperate to read more of Penny's adventures and so I've brought the other two in the series which I'll also be reviewing. Armen Pogharian is an excellent writer who knows how to pull you into the story, leave you hanging, desperate for more and keep you reading page after page. I expect great things from the sequels and I am completely sure that I will not be disappointed, nor will you if you give this series a read! HIGHLY recommended!


Why is an ancient Celtic spirit plaguing Piper Falls with a rash of pranks and what's it got to do with the discovery of a mythical Seneca scepter? Learn the answers with Penny, her best friend Duncan, her cat Simon, and her two other-worldly teachers as they unravel the mystery of the Silver Scepter. 

My review:

5/5 - A Must Read

Having devoured the first book in a few days, I was desperate to read the sequel and managed it in just two days of solid reading at bedtime. Once again, all is not right in Piper Falls and it seems that there is more to the history of the known world than we thought. Penny and Duncan are both working hard to make sure that Penny's status as misaligned is not known to anyone other than the core group. When an artefact is carbon dated as over 6K years old, it seems that there's more at work than first thought. Once again Pogharian has overdone themselves with this book. It's fast paced and I drank it up as if it were my life blood. A cast of new characters fill in the gaps between the lessons from Penny's trainer and Master Poe, and Penny herself finds that she's learning more and more about what being misaligned actually means and what she can do with it. I loved the first book and I adored the sequel. My hope is to move onto the third (and last book so far) today and finish it asap. My only problem is that that will mean I have to wait for Armen to write more, and I have never been that patient when it comes to a series of books that are as gripping as these. Recommended to all those who love mystery without crime and dead bodies, and love the paranormal as well as learning something new about Welsh and Celtic folklore. An excellent read from start to finish and I highly recommend this series to readers young and old!

Something is attacking the structure of the multiverse and releasing higher-dimensional energy into Piper Falls, NY. The increased power emboldens the reenergized Bodach to wreak havoc on the small town. It also draws more terrifying entities to the town, including a former Bodach commander seeking to avenge her defeat at the hands of King Arthur, a mysterious shape-shifter known as the Newiddyn, and a destructive Celtic spirit. Penny and her allies must defeat the Bodach, restore the integrity of the dimensional fabrics and prevent the new entities from unleashing the apocalypse of The Darkest Day.

My review:

5/5 - Everyone should read this!

I found myself looking for extra time to read so that I could finish this book. It's the third in the Misaligned series and I feel saddened that now I have to wait for the next one (if there is one) to be written as I have found myself falling in love with this series. It is so excellently written and the past and present are intertwined whilst still remaining believable. Once again Armen Pogharian has written a nail-biting book where you find yourself going back and forth in time to discover the answers to the present day problem. The characters are lovingly crafted with just the right amount of reality intertwined in the fictional world of Piper Falls. I am happy to call myself a fan of this series and can recommend it to those young and old alike. If you have an interest in early Welsh and Celtic history, then this is the series for you! Highly recommended and I will be counting down the days to the next book!

If you are interested in doing a guest blog with Joey, you can contact her on this email:

Thursday 27 November 2014

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Has This Been Done Before?

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Has This Been Done Before?

Every writer, no matter whether they are published or not, is looking for the original idea. The one thing that hasn't been done before. A lot of the books I've read on the subject say that there simply aren't any original ideas anymore. They've all been used in one way or another, and that you just have to look at how to turn your unoriginal plot into something with a twist. I don't necessarily agree that there are no more original ideas, after all, history has changed the way things in the world work, and with all that history, there has to have been new things happening. The other bit that bugs me is that every single person is different, is unique and therefore the majority of us don't all act the same when placed in the exact same circumstances. I think that means that there are plenty of ways to turn a previously used plot into something original, or to think up something completely off the wall that hasn't been done before.

Of course though, this is more about my trials as a crime writer, and therefore what I'm mostly talking about is the central plot or theme that runs through each crime novel. When you're thinking up ways for people to break the law, the motives can be as unique as you want, but sometimes the crimes tend to repeat themselves. It's a fact of life that people kill each other in many different ways, but also that most police officers don't deal with serial killers, nor do they deal with unique crimes every single day. The motive may be something they haven't heard before, but the crime itself is usually the same no matter how different you try to make it.

Having said that, it doesn't stop me from trying to make sure that the motives behind each central crime - whether they be a serial rapist, murderer or petty thief - all have their own unique twist on them. Sometimes you can't do that because there are rarely convoluted reasons for why someone stole drugs from a drug dealer and then got murdered for it. As a crime writer, you have to be aware that by not repeating the crimes, by trying to make them all different and unique, you've already started to stretch the boundaries of what is and isn't believable. So while it's a good idea to not have every victim act, respond and/or die in the same way, there are patterns to crime and if you want your book to hold a reader's interest, you have to be sure that you follow some of the laws of the world.

Yet when I sit and write my chapter notes before I start a book, or read through what I think makes a good crime to talk about, I still try to make each case somewhat different. It's a difficult trap to avoid, but at the same time it's something you have to be flexible with. Outside of the pages of crime novels and the Hollywood movies, you have to realise that the majority of police officers will never really deal with a serial killer. They make for good fiction, but are not as common as fiction and the media would love to make out. That said, they are a great way to tell a story and have the characters work towards a common goal. After all, fiction is a way for the unimaginable to happen and although there are unimaginable things done to people by others, sometimes it's nice to believe that the only horrible crimes happen between the pages of books, where you can see that justice prevails and all ends well (hopefully!)

Usually I deal with multiple cases when writing a DYING THOUGHTS book, with Tara helping the police, and there needs to be some level of difficulty in the cases she's called in on. Otherwise it gets to the point where I, and the reader will be asking if her gift is really needed or if the police are just lazy. The joy of fiction is that there is some level of being able to suspend belief. The aim is to not push it so far that it snaps in two. So, as I sit here at 1am, writing a piece about believable and unique crimes, I find myself wondering if it is possible to achieve both those without breaking the believability of the scenes. To be honest, I'm not really sure, but that doesn't mean that I won't continue to try!

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

Thursday 20 November 2014

Spoonie Writer: Worrying About Deadlines

Spoonie Writer: Worrying About Deadlines.

One of the first things I realised after being published, was that I was going to have to do some serious thinking about how I'd handle the stress related to deadlines. It was one of the reasons I ultimatey chose to go with Indie publishing. It allowed me to control when I had a deadline, and it also allowed me to work around anything that popped up health or life-wise that would stop me meeting that deadline. I did a piece about schedules and deadlines, (found here) and in it I talked about how I set my own deadlines - such as the four chapters I do each fortnight, which make up a big part of my writing work.

As a spoonie though, you'll be very aware that stress is bad, and you'll also be aware that your health and ability to do things such as write are unreliable. Sometimes you'll be able to meet your deadlines (self set or not) and other times you'll have to miss them. The trick as an indie author, and as a spoonie, is to allow your deadlines to be as flexible as they can be without them becoming completely meaningless. By now, you'll have read a number of pieces about my life as a spoonie writer, and you'll be aware of the term "pacing". My advice for this piece is similar, so much so that it's become one of my life's mantras.

Stress is bad for anyone in large enough doses. For some people, their everyday stress level is higher and for others it's lower. What you personally can deal with depends on you alone and as a spoonie you will be very aware of knowing your own body and how it reacts to certain triggers, stress being one of them. I know that in all my time being chronically ill - and I mean back towards the time when I just had Brittle Asthma - I have been inherently aware that I do not do stress well, like at all. If I put myself under too much pressure, my lungs goes splat, I wheeze, get chest pains and feel dreadful. Add to that two newer conditions (Fibro and M.E) that also don't go well with stress and you can imagine the trembling ball that is me on the floor in the throes of both an asthma attack, a pain flare and an M.E relapse. Stress for me is not good, and it doesn't even have to be in large doses.

So, when I decided to go down the Indie author route, I was very glad to know that I'd have more control over when I published which book and what chapters were due whenever. As I've been writing for near enough thirteen years, I've learnt that I don't have the ability to deal with pressure mounting from missed deadlines. It's one of the reasons I took my uni courses the way I did, I liked being able to get ahead and then not have to worry if I needed time off. I am the same with writing. By the time this piece is published on my blog, my seventh book will have been released and meanwhile, I recently finished my twelfth book and started writing my thirteenth and fourteenth. I still only plan to release one book a year, unless circumstances change. By doing all of this it means that in a way, I am ahead with my book writing already. It allows me to leave a book to sit for a while after being written before I go back, with fresh eyes and start the editing after process.

Now, that won't work for everyone, and it's not always the best way to do things, but it's what works for me. I know that when I set up my fortnightly to-do list and I add those four chapters, I also add four bonus ones just in case. Sometimes I manage them and other times I don't manage any. It really is all dependant on how my health is and how I'm doing both physically and mentally. Some fortnights I even manage to go further and do more chapters than expected on both the to-do list AND the bonus one! It really does depend on how I'm doing.

Pacing myself has always been a big thing for me since I fell sick with the Fibro and M.E. I was always someone who was organised and I liked things done in a certain way. I'm the same now, but I have learnt to be more flexible. While I would love to be able to write all day, all night, and then all day again, it's just not something I can do (though not many people can!) I need a certain level of sleep and rest breaks. If I push myself too far one day, I pay for it the next and that is not conducive to a schedule or deadline of any kind. So, I try to pace myself, and if you can find something that works for you, then try to keep yourself into some kind of schedule or routine. After all, you are the only one who knows how it feels to be you and the best one to know what your body needs. It may take time away from actual work, but it will also possibly take away time you would have spent in a flare or relapse. You know you best, and you have to work with that!

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 14 November 2014

A Joey-Approved Update

This is a Joey approved update. Just to let you all know that there'll be a few blog posts popping up over the next week or so as Joey recovers from surgery. Nothing major, but it will still mean some time away from the blog, writing and all things that keep Joey going. So, do not be alarmed if you only see blog posts on Facebook etc. Your normally scheduled Joey will re-appear soon!

Thanks for your patience

Joey Paul Online

Sunday 9 November 2014

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: When Your Friends Ask You About Murder

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: When Your Friends Ask You About Murder

It's a running joke between me and some of my friends that if they were ever to be driven to the point of committing a crime, such as murder, then I would be the best person to ask about how to get away with it. It's true that for a lot of crimes, I have done extensive research, I even own the "Forensics for Dummies" book which I have used in the past to help  me with plot lines. I also really recommend "The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure" (link here) if you're in the UK and looking for down to earth and simple explanations of how the police force works. However, while I'd never claim to be an expert, and because the majority of my criminals get caught, I don't actually know the way to commit the perfect crime.

I would imagine that it would take a lot of forethought and planning. While getting ready to write a book about someone who works in a Forensics lab took a lot of research, I don't think I have the commitment, or the stomach for a life of crime. The added knowledge of watching shows such as NCIS or Castle, is that no matter how careful you are there is always going to be something you leave behind which will lead the cops right to your door. I have though, in the past, thought about the validity of so called unsolved crimes. On TV they usually get their guy...eventually, but in real life there are so many "cold cases" which may go unsolved for decades if not longer. So, how does one go about committing the perfect crime?

Well, I have some ideas, but feel the need to make it clear to everyone reading that I'm not planning to ever use these ideas in anything other than fiction. First you'd need to pick a victim who is, in no way connected to you. The first thing police will look for is an identification of the victim and then anyone who may have had a reason to want them dead. So, if you're desperate to commit a murder, then you need to make sure there is no way for the police to join the dots from them to you. The problem is that most people are not the kind of people to just randomly murder someone, which is why the perfect crime is so hard to achieve. Unless you're a psychopath or serial killer, you generally would need some kind of motive before you go around murdering random people. The motive is usually your downfall.

The second thing to remember is that if they can't identify your victim then they can't always connect the dots that will lead them to your door. This means you'll need to get rid of the hands, head and any other distinguishing marks that could leave a hint as to who the victim is. That's grisly work, I've never had to amputate or disfigure a body (and I don't think I ever will have need to) but I imagine that it takes a lot of strength and a strong stomach to deal with all the blood, guts and gore. You also need to cut through bone and remember that the CSI people will be able to tell what kind of instrument was used from the cut marks, so you'll have to be extra careful in your choice of hacking instrument.

After that comes the forensics, the human body sheds DNA through skin cells and hair. All it takes is one stray hair and if you're in the system, you're caught. Hell, even if you're  *not* in the system they have something to match you to that body should they catch up with you. All in all, I'm not really sure how you'd go about making sure that there was nothing incriminating left behind. You also have to take into account "Locard's Exchange Principle" that states that for every place you go you not only take something with you, but leave part of yourself behind. So, even if you manage to pick a random victim, remove their identity, the forensics are probably going to get you in the end.

So, while my friends and I joke about the perfect hiding place for a body, the chances are that we'll be caught before it's even cold. There is nothing like the perfect crime, and with my search history, I'd probably get the death penalty, if that was still around in the UK. For the time being, I'll stick to fictional murder, it's less messy and doesn't carry a life sentence!

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

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Spoonie Writer: Worrying About The Future And Your Writing

Spoonie Writer: Worrying About The Future And Your Writing

As long as I've been a writer, I've been sick. Even before I was medically retired and writing became my job, even when I was writing as a teenager in school, I was still chronically ill. I hadn't embraced it the way I do now because this was before the wonders of the online chronic illness community. I have a lot of respect for my fellow spoonies and the ways in which they have helped me. However, as I was saying, I've always been sick as a writer. I have never known any other way to be a writer, I've always needed to move my schedule around and fit writing stuff inbetween the hospital stays, the stuck in bed days and the days when I just can't. I'm not saying that because I want you to look at me and say "Oh wow, she never got to live a different life", or to throw myself a pity party and be all "woe is me. I've always been sick". I'm telling you because my writing journey has been affected by the fact that I have, for as long as I can remember, been chronically ill.

When I was still in school, before the Fibromyalgia and M.E were in my life, I wrote a lot. I wrote poems, I wrote short stories and I did all that because I had a passion for the written word. I loved choosing my pen, my ink and paper and letting all the scenes in my head out into the world. To me, a big part of writing was the act of picking up a pen and actually, y'know, writing! However, things changed after school and my diagnoses. I found that writing hurt. It wasn't the good hurt either, the one where you had written and written and your hand was cramping in protest. I mean, it started like that but eventually the sentences got shorter and the bulk of what I could handwrite was interjected with breaks every few minutes because the pain was *that* bad. I eventually had to accept that I would no longer be able to handwrite my stories because I thought a lot faster than I could ever write. It hadn't always been like that, but it was one of those things that I had to let go of.

I adapted and started to type, which is what a lot of writers - spoonie or otherwise - do. It's so much easier in the world of the internet and all this technology to write with a keyboard. Having been typing for as long as I could form words, I am lucky enough to be able to touch type with some speed. It was a change that a lot of people would look at and say, "your point?" My point is not that I had to make this big change; after all, everything that was handwritten would eventually get typed into my computer anyway. My point is this: when you're chronically ill, you adapt your life around your conditions because if you don't adapt, you have to stop doing things you love.

About a year ago, I developed symptoms that were worrying to me, though not all that uncommon for people with my conditions. My legs would tingle and I'd be unable to bear weight on them. I was becoming more and more reliant on a wheelchair to get around. It was hard for me because I had always kept some level of mobility through my own terms, but now it was all different and I was reliant on being pushed, pushing myself, or using my electric wheelchair to get around. It wasn't how I wanted to be, but the fact that my conditions had gotten worse wasn't all that unexpected. I have been "lucky" in that for a couple of years prior to this new symptom, I had been having very few flares, relapses and new problems. It seemed that my conditions were just getting worse and once again, I adapted.

Which brings me to the point of this piece: I have started to show similar symptoms in my arms. The thought of losing the use of my arms and therefore my hands terrifies me because without the ability to type, I would become very silent. I use my keyboard to do so many things, writing, commenting, research and all of that. The only thing that I keep thinking is that I will find a way and adapt. I'll have to. That's just part of having a chronic illness and/or disability. You find a way to adapt. I know of some people that are bed bound, and they still are as active as they can be doing what they love. They have adapted because they *had* to. A friend of mine is bed bound and is still very active in writing. She has gotten the technology that will enable her to continue writing despite the fact that she doesn't always have use of her hands.

The joy of living in the age of technology means that even if we have to change how we get the words onto the paper, there are always ways of adapting your life so that you can continue to do the things you did before. The fact that things have worsened with my conditions doesn't mean that I have to give up what I love doing. There are voice recognition programs that will allow me to talk and the words will appear on the page. I've used them before and while they take some getting used to, they're not out of the realms of possibility. Just because I'm chronically ill, it doesn't mean that I'm any less able to do what I consider to be my career. I make the times when I'm well enough to work count, and the times when I'm not, I try not to beat myself up about it too much. After all, I didn't choose this for me, but I also can't change that it's happened. So, even though I'm able to type these words myself, it doesn't mean that I can't adapt and change the way I work in the future should the need arise. I can adapt, and so can you.

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

Thursday 16 October 2014

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Giveaways, Events, Oh My!

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Giveaways, Events, Oh My!

When I talked about making connections (piece found here), I mentioned giveaways and events that would help you get noticed in the indie world. One of the things I have learnt both as a writer and a spoonie, is that sometimes you have to say no (a piece about this found here) because you can't afford to stretch yourself too thin (piece found here). However, if you want to get noticed when you're a new name in the sea of thousands on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads, you'll need to make sure that you say yes to as many of these types of events as you can possibly manage. 

It's said that to make money, you have to spend money, and along with events come giveaways. It may seem like a weird idea to be offering up free copies of your book to winners when you're trying to get people to buy them, but the fact of the matter is, if they like what they read and leave a review, then that can lead to other readers taking a chance on a new writer. You don't have to be new to the scene to want or need to take part in these kinds of things because it can help you at ANY stage of your career. Whether you've written a series and wanted to entice new readers by doing a giveaway or taking part in an event and offering up the first book as a prized, doing events with a number of other authors, indie or otherwise, can help you get the news out about your upcoming release. They are a great opportunity to make friends, connections and encourage new readers.

The other good thing about events that bring a whole group of authors together is that you may find that the next time they're looking for someone to donate or join them in an event, you come to mind because of your previous connection. Connections are a good thing, and I've talked about them before, but along with being fellow authors, you're around people who may be interested in reading your work and then recommending you to their own followers.

In the past three months, I have been asked to take part in three separate events, with a fourth coming in a few weeks. These help me to connect with other writers, and also to promote myself and my newest releases. If you can learn to work the events to your advantage, they can result in sales, good friends and reviews. Reviews will enable you to sell your image to other readers without it costing you anything.

You don't even need to put on an event to do a giveaway, you can do flash giveaways on your page that will result in sending out a swag pack to a chosen winner. You'd be surprised how many people are happy to receive things such as signed bookmarks, key-rings and other little prizes that will promote your work. You can also do a giveaway in conjunction with a smaller group of authors. Rafflecoptor is a great resource as it will list all the prizes, log every entry and even choose your winner for you so that there are no chances of judge favouritism. These can be to celebrate a new release or even a milestone number of followers on your blog or Facebook.

Overall, with good connections and taking part in both events and giveaways, these can lead to sales, your name being noticed and reviews of your work that will promote you to other people of your chosen target age. 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.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Choosing To Go The Indie Route - The After Process

Choosing To Go The Indie Route

When you've gone through all the creative parts and emerged on the other side, having edited your manuscript until you can't bear to look at it again, you have another choice. You have to decide whether you're going to go the traditionally published route, or down the indie/self-publishing route. Although I have experience with both, the majority of my time as a published author has been as an indie author so I'm going to focus on that.

I did a piece a year ago about publishing your work (found here) and while it is a great piece, it does only focus upon where you need to start. This piece will be about whether or not the indie route is the one for you. I can only talk from my experience, but I hope it will be of some use to someone else who is thinking about starting their own journey in the published world.

As I'm sure many of you are aware, I have been writing pieces for over a year now, all of which can be found on my blog. I have done a whole section simply on the creative process, as well as a smaller section on the after process (which is where this piece will fit!) I have also recently begun to do several other types of pieces, focusing upon the trials of life as a crime writer, an indie author and a spoonie - someone with a chronic illness who identifies with The Spoon Theory. I am telling you this not to wow you with my dedication to my blog, but to also point out something that has heavily influenced my own decision to stay as an indie author.

When I was retired from my "working life" at nineteen and realised that this really was my retirement, I made the choice to write books. It was something I had always planned to do, but never had the time for and with the flexibility of working when I was able, writing opened a lot of doors to me that I thought had previously been shut. So, when my traditional publishing contract fell through, it was a few years before I realised that going Indie would be the best answer to continuing my career.

When I say that I didn't start writing to become rich, it's mostly true. I never planned on making my millions, though it would be nice. For me, it was more about being able to let free all of these bottled up stories I had to tell. It was an outlet for me, just as writing these pieces are. It wasn't until 2011 that I finally felt able to launch the Bug Books label and control my own future as it were. Part of the reason I lost my other contract was because I was having so many bad days I couldn't meet deadlines. As an indie author, I was able to work around that because I was, after all, my own boss.

However, being an indie author is not for everyone. As I've said in several pieces (found here, here & here), there are many things that are expected of an author - indie or otherwise, and when you don't have whole departments to manage all of that for you, it's a lot of hard work. To me, it was worth it and I've made do with what I have. There'll be some days when I don't get anything done, others where I'll be awake at the wee hours sending out emails and answering posts and writing pieces just like this one. There are also the hospital stays where I have to hand the controls of my Facebook page over to either my editor or my cover designer and hope that everyone copes without me for a while.

If, like me, you think the indie route is the best one for you, then you should go down it. Research all the ways to bring out your work without the middle men. Make sure you know what YOU want to achieve from your work. It takes a lot of giveaways, making connections, swapping reviews and sending out ARC copies to get yourself noticed and it can be really daunting at first, but when you manage it, and you will, you'll find yourself on an even keel and forget that you almost drowned in your first few days in the deep end.

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

Monday 29 September 2014

Writing Characters - Angelina & Zack

Writing Angelina & Zack

It was 2007 when I first put pen to paper and wrote the opening sentences of WAITING ON YOU. I was in a long distance relationship that would ultimately end before I completed the book, but I was always clear about what I wanted the book to say, and whose story I wanted to tell. With the book already released in the summer, I figured now would be a good time to tell you what it was like to write the two main characters, Angelina and Zack.


Angelina is a fourteen year old in a very difficult situation. She has no friends at school (through no fault of her own), and spends most of her time dreaming of the day that "Prince Charming" will fall head over heels in love with her and whisk her away from her dreadful life. Her mother is an alcoholic who doesn't seem to care whether her daughter's happy and her sisters both seem to live to make her as miserable as possible. They live in a council house, survive on whatever money her mum doesn't spend on alcohol and a lot of responsibility sits on Angelina's shoulders. Her sisters don't seem to want to contribute to buying her new clothes or making sure she eats, and they also lay a lot of pressure on her to look after them as well. She is a fourteen year old turning forty.

So, when she gets a chance to go online and make "real" friends she takes that chance and sees it as the start to a whole new life for her. In a way she's right, it is a new beginning, but no matter how much we may wish that the virtual world of the internet is real and safe, it's not and in reality, well, it sometimes sucks.

She wasn't a hard character to write. I imagined her as a thin, pale and sickly looking girl who may have come across as distant and aloof to her class mates, which is one reason why none of them have welcomed her with open arms. The issues Angelina face happen all around the world, her father has never been in her life and people seem to blame her for that. Whilst I am sure that a lot of what she thinks other people feel about her isn't true, sadly some of it is. She's a sad, scared little girl really, who just wants her mum to wake up and realise that she's drowning in the deep end with no one to rescue her.

Which brings us to Zack...


Zack is sixteen and his life could not be more different to Angelina's. He lives with his parents and siblings in a nice house in London. His mum works, and his Dad is a respected surgeon. He's never known what it's like to go hungry, nor has he really experienced bullying. He's the second oldest child in his family and has a few good friends. However, that same level of responsibility is resting on his shoulders too. He makes sure that his four younger siblings get to and from school okay, cooks, cleans and makes sure everyone is fed, watered and in bed by the time his parents get home from work. He doesn't seem to mind it too much, but for me, it still feels like that there is more responsibility on him than there should be for a sixteen year old. However, Zack doesn't see anything wrong with it as his older brother had the same job when he was still at secondary school.

His family is loving, caring and always there for each other. Zack has his exams in the summer and knows that once he starts college, the responsibilities he carries will be handed to the next in line. He's already got a bunch of friends in the chat room where he meets Angelina and he's got a bit of a saviour complex. Always wanting to help, to make sure everyone is okay.

As a character, he was my first male main character and I was worried I would find it harder to write a teenage boy, but once I got into the swing of things, it all seemed to click into place and Zack grew as a character and a person before my very eyes. This book was my first attempt at a romance without any other crime or mystery sub-plots and I do think I managed to capture the story well.

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. One thing I love about releasing one a year, and having so many already written is that I get to look back a few years later and rediscover my characters and their stories hidden in the pages. Please feel free to drop me a review once you've read the book!

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

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Choosing Your Editor - The After Process

Choosing Your Editor

I have recently started adding to my pieces about the after process, which I mostly wrote around this time last year. I did a whole piece dedicated to the process of editing (found here) as well as one about beta readers. While it'll be easy enough for you to find those pieces as they're linked in my blog, I thought I would post some thoughts about what you want to look for when choosing your editor. I'm basing these suggestions on my own experience and the fact that I am an Indie author so have a lot of control over who I use as my editor.

My editor is a dear friend of mine and we kinda fell into the arrangement that she would become my full time editor. I release, usually, one book a year in the summer and so we work the rest of the year to get the next release ready. She is a gold mine of an editor and while I do have a proofreader as well, my books wouldn't be anywhere near as good as they are if it weren't for Kim. So, having said that, here's some advice for those of you who have not yet been lucky enough to find a great editor who works with you.


For me, it's not just a case of sending Kim my book and telling her to correct any bad grammar or spelling (of which there is plenty I can tell you!), that's not the job of an editor. Her job is to read the book critically, tell me of any major plot points that don't work, or if they do work they need something added to them. She also needs to tell me when I'm making my characters act out of character, and other things like that. While any editor in the indie world (or in traditionally published books as well sometimes) can tell you that you HAVE to remove this chunk or what not, the choice to do so is yours. So, when you've got an editor working with you, they need to know what you're trying to do with the story, what the end vision looks like. You need to be able to work with them to achieve that, and while it may be that your manuscript doesn't yet make it all the way to where you want it to be, there needs to be a lot of constructive advice or criticism. It's no good saying "this part is crap" without explaining what needs to be changed to make it better.

If you've primarily written your book in English, then there is no point giving it to an editor who won't be able to identify the grammar rules and spelling issues that will no doubt crop up. You wouldn't expect just anyone to be able to correct Spanish grammar and you can't expect the same from anyone in regards to English either. Your editor needs to know the rules of the language you're using, not only so they can recognise when you're breaking any grammar rules, but so that they can tell if it's intentional or not. And while you should always go through your work before you send it to your editor of choice to make sure that they're working with a "clean" copy - one that once corrected will be the final sequence of events - there will always be mistakes that you have missed. Which is why it is NEVER a good idea to ONLY use your own editing skills, no matter how awesome they are!


I've been unfortunate enough to work with editors in the past who claimed to be able to meet my deadlines and then didn't. Worse still, as deadlines approached, they failed to inform me that they were going to be unable to meet them. I spent two years telling people that a book was coming out, to only miss every deadline and release date given. I don't have that problem now, thankfully, but the experience taught me the importance of a reliable editor. You need to know that when you say to someone "I need it by [date]" they're going to deliver, and that if they can't, they'll tell you in enough time for you to make the appropriate arrangements.

Technically Kim and I have never been in a room together, but I know that when she sends me edits, if I have an issue, I can call her and we can talk it through. I also know that if she doesn't get the message I'm trying to send through my work, she can call me for clarification.  If you can't work with someone and listen to what they have to say, then it's possibly not the best idea to give them the manuscript that you've slaved over for months. It will end in heartbreak and you'll be no further forward in getting your book published. 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

Sunday 14 September 2014

Spoonie Writer: Writing When You Can

Spoonie Writer: Writing When You Can

One thing I learnt early on when I was diagnosed was that sometimes things don't go to plan. You may think that because you've gotten a good nights sleep, you'll be able to do that big thing you planned, or even that little thing you planned. Sometimes though, when chronically ill, our bodies have other ideas. Part of being a spoonie is knowing how to understand what your body needs and what it's saying, so that if it says rest, you can do so as soon as possible and not miss out on days of work because you overdid it.

Another thing I have learned since I got medically retired and took up writing as a career was that no matter how much you may want to do something and have a relatively "normal" day, it's not going to happen that way all the time. Some days you'll be able to do more, other days you won't get anything done. The trick is to know exactly how YOU are feeling, what your body is telling you and what you need to do to make sure you don't get hit with major payback.

As someone who has to count "spoons" and decide whether or not it's the right time to write, I can tell you that there is never a "right" time, it's all about writing when you can and listening to your body when you can't. I know I have talked before about things you can do when you can't write (found here) but there are times when you're just well enough to get a page written. While you may find it easier to write when you're able to fully commit and sit for as long as it takes, as a spoonie writer you will have to learn to adjust. For some of us, sitting for long periods of time is impossible, whereas for others, it's the only thing they can do without causing more issues.

I may be uttering these words all the time in pieces like this, but it really is a fine balancing act between doing what you can when you can and pushing yourself past your limits and paying for it later. Personally, I've done both. I have done writing in bits and pieces and found I got more done than if I'd waited for a longer period to write, and I've pushed myself past breaking point and then found myself unable to manage anything constructive for the rest of the week. If you're working to a deadline that's one thing, but for me, my deadlines are arbitrary and rarely set in stone. Of course, I have a publication deadline, but the book has usually been written by then and it's just the editing that needs doing.

That's another thing though, being a writer is not just about sitting down at the keyboard and pouring out chapter after chapter. There are other responsibilities that we need to meet and for some of us, doing those in manageable chunks helps and makes them seem less daunting than attempting to do it all at once. My fabulous editor sends me corrections in chunks and I work through them at my own pace. We start the editing process a couple of weeks after the last book was published so that we have the majority of a year to work through it. You will learn these kinds of work-arounds as you become more familiar with how your conditions affect you and what works for you. Don't give up hope and try not to push beyond what you are capable of at that moment in time. After all, it's you who has to deal with the payback and you who suffers for it.

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

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Questions From Readers - Part Seven

Questions From Readers

For the majority of August, I had my email open for any questions from readers, and finally I have found the time to answer them. So here we go!

What are your current WIP's about?
As you know, I write two books at once (a piece can be found here). I have recently finished two, so I'm in the beginning stages of my new ones. One is a futuristic crime novel that analyzes the phrase "walk a mile in a man's shoes" and is told from the point of view of an eighteen year old who has just starte work in the local police force. It's a job she'll have for life... whether she likes it or not. The second is the seventh DYING THOUGHTS book which sees Tara having to deal with being home alone, college work, and life with her first boyfriend. I'm really excited about both of them.

What made you start writing young adult?

I started writing young adult books because at the time, I was a young adult. I was nineteen and retired from working for medical reasons and I felt that it would be best to write what I knew, so I started writing about teenagers. It was only as I got older and further away from my own teen and young adult years that I found that I really did enjoy it more than trying to write adult fiction, so I've stuck with it ever since.

Do you ever plan to branch out from crime & mystery?
I have written other genres, and I do usually combine genres. I find that I stick with crime and mystery because it's something I feel I do well. I love thinking up a new mystery or series of crimes for my characters to solve and I feel like I can bring a unique perspective to the stories I choose to tell. However, I have written two books completely crime-free; one was THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLEwhich dealt with family drama, and friendship and the other is WAITING ON YOUwhich is a young adult romance novel.

Will you ever write for adults or "new adults"?
To be honest, I don't really know if I'll ever move onto writing adult books. As I've said before, the issues I have are that I just don't like writing about adults that much, and although I started writing YA because of my age at the time, it's also something I enjoy. So, for the time being I'll just say that I probably won't branch out into writing adult books. As for new adults, a genre which seems to be starting to emerge, I won't say never because it may just be something I find myself able to do. I'm just not planning on moving past YA yet.

Do you do a lot of reading? What kind of books and how much a week?
I do a lot of reading. I read some YA, some chick-lit and some crime novels. I generally read between four and eight books a fortnight depending on how much downtime I've had. I strongly believe that to be good at writing, you need to read a lot to be able to see how other people do it. That will aid you in discovering your own niche as well as find what kind of style of writing you prefer. I wrote a piece about it here.

Out of your published works, which was your favourite to write?
 Hmm, that's a tough one. If you'd asked me before I'd finished my last two WIP's I would have said the two before that, but now that those are both finished I find myself thinking it's those two... which I know isn't right, coz you can't have two favourites, but since I'm working on another book that I am really enjoying, I'm gonna say my final answer is the standalone I'm working on right now... I think!

How much time a day do you spend writing?
It really does depend on what's going on that day, how I'm feeling, whether or not I'm in the zone (talked about here) and whether or not I have other things on. I like to write something every day, whether it's a blog post or something to do with the books I'm working on, I want to get something written. I guess that on a good day I would spend a few hours and on a bad day, only about thirty minutes.

What's your favourite genre to read?
As mentioned above, I love reading and get through a number of books a week. I usually read either crime and mystery, or a chick-lit romance book, but I have been known to dabble in other genres with my reading. I would say that I am split on my favourite, some days all I want to read is crime, and other days I'm desperate for some romance or chick-lit!

Do you read any young adult books?
I do! I've read Harry Potter, and books by John Green, Meg Cabot, Angella Graff, Suzanne Collins, John & Carole Barrowman among others. I love reading books just as much as I love writing them myself. I have a number of YA books on my to-be-read list and am slowly working my way through them.

Do you feel like your chronic illnesses/disability have influenced what you write?
Yes, they have, but maybe not in the way you mean; my illnesses have influenced some of the characters I have chosen to write. By the time I was 20 I was in a wheelchair, and very much aware that there weren't many characters in books that kicked arse in addition to being a wheelchair user. It's why I wrote the character Hope in the book LYNNE & HOPE,  and also the reason why Lisa in BLACKOUT shares the same lung condition with me. I've said this before, but representation matters, it matters a whole lot! (Pieces on this can be found here and here.) Due to the fact that I am disabled, I am very aware of the need for all media to be inclusive of disabled characters, and I try to do that with my writing.

Do you feel that your chronic illness/disability have an effect on how and when you write?
I have a number of chronic illnesses that have led to me becoming disabled and they do have a big effect on when I write and how often that happens. If I'm having a bad day, then it's likely that I may choose to just plot in my head, or I may choose the write on my tablet. Other times it's a good enough day for me to be able to sit at my desk and do my writing, but there are, of course, some days when I can't do anything other than sleep.

Why do you only release one book a year when you have more than that finished?
In the beginning of my indie career, I released two books at once and planned, at the time, to continue doing so. It was really only when I found that I couldn't get them edited and corrected and proof read, and the covers designed etc., in time that I started to release just one a year. It gives me the opportunity to spend a lot of time making sure the story is the one I want to be seen and released. As you'll have seen from my after process pieces, it takes a lot of work to get a book from finished to the bookshelves, and that work takes time.

Do you use a professional editor?
I do! Her name is Kim, she's a close friend of mine and we are on the same wave length where my books are concerned. She pours hours into making sure that there are enough commas, full stops and all the rest before she sends it back to me and many hours are then spent making it into what you end up seeing on the shelf.

Now you've finished uni, do you plan to spend more time writing?
I hope to have more time to do a lot of things, including writing. At the moment though, I am doing a course that will aid my writing, so I'm still juggling school work and writing. But hopefully once that is done, I'll be able to focus completely on my writing.

And will that increase the number of books you release a year?
Not actually sure about this, it will also depend on things such as cover design and editing which takes a lot of time because it's not just me who's doing it. It's certainly a possibility.

What did you study at uni and how long did it take you to finish your degree?
I studied a number of different courses from Science to History to Social Sciences. My degree is an honours degree, so took five years part time, and I now have (or will when I graduate in a couple weeks) a BA (Hons) in Health & Social Care.

Do you recommend indie publishing or going through a traditional publisher?
I know which one I prefer, but I also know other authors who choose a different route or the same route for different reasons, so it's not something I would feel comfortable choosing. It's all dependant on your own circumstances and while indie has worked for me, it might not for you. Personal choice all the way.

Why was there such a big gap between your first book, "Blackout", in 2005 to your second in 2011?
I was published in 2005, and planned to do other books written at the time through the same route, but found that my health did not work well with the contract and deadlines and so I left that publishing house and moved onto just writing for me, until 2011 when I was able to use Amazon KDP to publish other books through e-books. I've stuck with that since and now we're here.

How much of your "work day" is spent writing?
I'm gonna take a guess that you mean an average day, so probably about 25% of it, considering about 50% is spent sleeping! This does of course vary day to day.

And how much is spent promoting and doing other "admin" parts of being an indie author?
I would say the other 25% of the average day is spent working on blog posts, promotion, and all of that. Again, this can vary from one day to the next.

Thanks for all the questions folks! Please feel free to ask me a question on Goodreads if you want to know anything that isn't covered here!

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