Friday 30 December 2016

From Joey's Instagram

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Photo of Joey's office bookshelves with the focus being all nine paperbacks between two metal book ends. On top is an open book where the pages have been crafted and cut to spell 'Joey'. The image is slightly blurry. The caption reads: A Christmas present from a crafty friend! Perfect spot for my name in book art above my nine released books! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerslife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #presents #christmas.]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of a wooden sign that reads: Rules for a better life. 1. Be kind, smile often. 2. Work hard. 3. Stay humble. 4. Except a little, give a lot. 5. Be thankful. 6. Have fun, laugh more. 7. Love always. The caption reads: And another lovely Christmas present from my mum. Perfect spot by my desk! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerslife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #presents #christmas.]

Final Tally for December 2016

The final tally for December 2016 is: 66 pages, 31,320 words and 15 chapters! Two books finished, two more started and a great way to finish off the year and start the next one!

The final tally for the whole of 2016 is.....768 pages and 368,857 words! WOW! That's two whole books and the tail end of two more! I'm more than pleased with that!

Happy New Year to all my followers and I hope 2017 brings you all that you desire and more!

Thursday 22 December 2016

Questions from Readers - December 2016 - Part Two

We're getting closer and closer to the end of 2016, and I think I'm gonna try and get all the rest of the questions answered before Christmas and the end of the year. I also have my goals of 2017 to get to and so without any further ado, here is the final batch of questions for 2016!

What do you do when you get bored of writing? 
Generally I try to work out why I'm bored. If it's because I'm finding a scene difficult to write, then I try to push through. The same if it's the story that I'm writing. However, if it is the story then I try to look at why it's boring me and if that means I need to change my outline. I have deviated from the outline before, recently in fact and I found that it helped me to focus more when I had a better idea of where the story should go rather than where I thought it would go.

Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?
I do! I read a lot. I also sometimes go geocaching, though due to health issues this year I haven't been able to do that as much as I would like. My hope is the new year will bring better health and I'll be able to go out more often.

Do you ever go off your chapter plan/outline? And if so, how do you get back on track?
I have gone off my outline, recently in fact and that was because the story had changed and was no longer a standalone. In that case I didn't need to get back on track, I needed to change my outline and chapter plan. However, I have also gone off my chapter plan a little and then needed to get back on track. My advice would be to work out why you went off track, and then what steps you need to take to get yourself back onto your outline. It could be, like I said, that the story had changed, in which case the outline and chapter plan might need to be changed to accommodate that? There's nothing wrong with that.

As someone who spends a lot of time on bedrest, do you have any tips for people who want to stay productive when they're stuck in bed or in the hospital?
Pace yourself. No seriously, the amount of times I have pushed myself and then paid for it, meaning I have more time stuck in bed and/or the hospital are too many to count. You need to be aware of your limits and you need to be aware that sometimes you can't get that thing done and that's okay! It happens and maybe tomorrow you will, but even then, you're sick and you're allowed to take time to heal and time to be well enough to manage that thing without making yourself sicker. Good luck!

What's your favourite book of yours? Was it a favourite to write or has it just been something that has grown on you since?
Ah, now this one is a hard one because I actually like pretty much all of my books. Some of them were harder to write than others, but I wrote and finished them because I loved them. I know it seems like a cop out answer, but it's the truth. I have just in the past few days finished the last Dying Thoughts book and that was my favourite series, but all cards on the table, right now it's my only series! I think the only one that I held some dislike for was Waiting On You but since it's been out and edited, I actually really like it!

Are you an over-writer or an under-writer? And how do you get down/up to word count? 
Over-writer 10000% I get down to word count by editing the hell outta my books and making sure that every word that's included is there because it's needed! I have a great editor and she works with me to cut unnecessary scenes and all of that. The added bonus of being an indie author is that I kinda have the ability to say whether my book is fine at 100K words or not. I don't have to cut it down to 80K, but having said that, I do do a ton of edits to make sure it gets as close to the limit as possible.

I see a lot of photos on your instagram of cats, what are they called and why do some get tagged #pastacats?
In age order we have Miss Penne, who's the tortoise-shell kitty - she's 13. Then we have Miss Spaghetti, the black and white kitty, she's 9. She's also sometimes called Hetti. Then the tabby twins. Miss Violet and Mr Dash. They're both 8. The reason they're sometimes tagged as #pastacats is because for the whole of my adult life my cats have been named after types on Pasta. It's a quirk of mine :)

Who is your favourite character? And why?
You can't make me choose! That's like asking a mother to choose her favourite child! Seriously though I love all my characters. The one I know best is Tara, obviously, but I also like the characters who are with me for one book, like Harriet and Dot. Angelina and Zack, Lynne and Hope. The list goes on.

When do you write your best? Are you a night owl or an early bird?
I'm more of an afternoon bird. Some days I write better in the morning, but usually I'm fighting fatigue and thinking about a nap, so it generally after midday that I get some writing done.

How long are your chapters? Do you think that they're too long/short compared to the industry standard?
My chapters are generally between four and five pages. From what I've heard from other authors, that's sometimes considering too short. However, I like short chapters and so long as I'm not telling a scene over two chapters I don't think it really matters that much how long they are.

How did you find your editing team? Any advice on what to look for in an editor/proof reader/beta readers?
I was really lucky both times with my editing team. The first was made up of a close friend of mine, and she helped get me on the right track with editing. I had a bad experience with a proofreader that didn't deliver despite being paid, but that was the only bad experience. My current editing team is made up of another friend, who does the edits, and a writer friend who does the proofreading. Both work really well together and both are great at getting where the story is going. As to finding them, my advice would be to advertise on Facebook groups for writers or on Tumblr or other such places. As for beta readers, I'd use the same approach, do a call out for them on Facebook or Tumblr as generally writers flock together.

How much time do you spend on "admin" stuff? Do you have a set time to work on blog posts, videos etc?
Admin stuff gets stuffed into any free time I have. I will usually do the booktube videos the day before or the day before that, and then get them edited and ready to be uploaded. Because I add captions, I always have to set aside a little extra time to do that as depending on the length of the video it can take up to 30 minutes for me to caption. Blog posts and other admin stuff will generally get done as and when I have spare time in my working day. Like right now, I'm answering these questions before I get started on writing properly. I posted a video this morning and captioned in and then went for a nap, and when I got up I checked the captions had synced and published it. It's all about finding some down time really. My evenings are usually spent reading after having written and depending on what I have to do that day depends on how much other stuff I can fit in.

How long does it take you to outline and plan a book? 
It depends on the book. If it's a series book, it usually doesn't take as long as I have the majority of the ground work already laid. However if it's the first in a series or even just a standalone, that obviously takes longer. 

How did you make the connections you have in the indie world? Any tips?
I made the connections through Facebook groups, and other such pages. Tumblr is usually a good place to find other writers as we tend to flock to the same places. On Facebook there are a number of public groups and pages that will give you the chance to make friends and make connections. For example Indie Authors and Book Blogs (IABB) is a great place to make connections.

And that's all I have guys! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you to everyone who sent questions, if you have a question that you'd like me to answer, feel free to email me at

Monday 12 December 2016

Questions From Readers - December 2016 - Part One

Happy December! I'm hoping to get a bunch of questions answered today and next week and that should then leave my inbox empty and ready to fill up in time for 2017! So let's get started.

Do you think you need a degree or qualifications to be a successful writer?
This is a question that I get asked a lot. Not just because I've been doing this for a long time, but because I went to uni and got a BA (Hons) though it's not in Creative Writing. My personal opinion, and it just that, personal because everyone has their own ideas on this, is that no, you don't need to have a degree or qualifications to be a successful writer. I think a lot of the time it can help, but I don't think you need to be qualified in creative writing to be successful at it.

Do you think you can only write what you know? Or is doing research an acceptable way to get around that?
I think that a lot of the time, writing what you know is a good idea, but I also think that you shouldn't limit yourself to writing only that. Research, and the age of the internet, is an excellent tool when writing things that you don't know. Like, for example, I am a white woman, therefore I have never experienced racism, but I can research and talk to those who have to give me some idea of how to portray that correctly. In It's Not Always Rainbows I deal with LGBTQ teens all of which come from very different backgrounds. I'm not a gay man, so I don't know what it's like to live as a gay man. I am a bisexual woman, and therefore the main protagonist in that book is, a bisexual teen. Writing what you know will only get you so far and for the rest, there is research. Sometimes a LOT of research, but that's kinda in the job description. You're going to write scenes where you don't know much about it, and that's how you grow as a writer and an author. So yes, research, in my eyes, is an acceptable way around that. My word of warning though when dealing with marginalised groups is that you need to be listening to what THEY say and not what people outside of that group say happens to them.

How much research do you do when writing or planning a book?
It really does depend. Some books I'll spend a good couple of months looking into things, and others I find I know what I need to already. I would much rather do too much planning than too little and research is the same in that respect. Depending on the subject, it can take a while before you personally will feel okay about writing about it. Take your time, learn what you need to and don't worry too much about how long it takes. I know the writing is the fun part, but to make the writing the best part, you're gonna need to do some research.

How detailed are your outlines?
Again that depends. While my chapter plans are pretty bare bones, my outline is a separate document that I have the whole plot written out on. Sometimes in the beginning stages of the book I'll keep it with my chapter plan and other times I know it well enough to not need it all that much. When outlining a book I go into as much detail as I can because I find that helps with writer's block and keeping the flow of the story the same. I keep my chapter plans brief because I have the detailed outline to fall back on.

I'm in my 20's and have just been diagnosed with a chronic condition. My question is how do you pace yourself? I know it's not completely writing related but I hope that's okay.
It's fine. I pace myself simply by learning what my body can and cannot handle on any given day. When I was first diagnosed, I spent the good days doing all that I could, and would then spend the next few days paying for it. After a time you'll get to know what you can manage and how much is too much. It's a long process and one that even know I slip up with sometimes. I wish you the best of luck.

Why do you call yourself "a little fish in a big pond"?
I guess because considering the whole of the indie community I am but one author without much of a following and it also helps to remind myself that considering all that I'm up against, I am still a fish in that pond, something I never thought would actually happen.

How do you measure your success? I mean do you have a set idea of what it would mean to be successful?
Measuring success for me is subjective. Do I consider myself successful? Yes. I write books, I publish books. Those books are bought, read and reviewed. However, I do have a set of goals every year that I would like to meet, and I do have a set idea of what it would mean to "make it", but that idea changes with every new piece of information. Like before it was to have sold over 10,000 copies of my books. I did that in 2012 and now I'm looking for a new goal. Like to win an award for my writing, to do a signing (which I'm doing in October 2017. Tickets are available here.) It all changes as I achieve more.

Why do you write so slowly? I know authors who write up to five books a year, yet you seem to only manage two and that's only because you work on them both at the same time.
Everyone has their own pace. I'm actually finishing books faster in the past couple of years than I was before, so it may come to a point where I finish five in one year. If December progresses as planned, I will have written four books this year. 

How do you know when the time is right to kill off a character?
As a crime writer, I'm always killing people, but they're not always characters I have moulded and grown to love. Usually they're background characters whose sole purpose was to die. That said, I have killed characters that I've grown attached to. One of the books I am writing at the moment has a major character death and it's something that I thought a lot about before I did it. The other book I'm writing may not have any character deaths just yet, but given the genre (dystopian) it's going to have a fair few people who don't make it to the final pages. Having said that, how did I know when it was the right time? I trusted my outline and I made sure that I didn't kill them to just shock the reader. I wanted it to be an impact that had to happen. If you could take out the death and it not change the story at all, then maybe you need to be sitting back and considering if it's even needed.

How often do you host giveaways and do you find they help with exposure?
I don't host my own giveaways more than a couple of times a year - which reminds me, I have one going on right now: Check it out! I do, however, take part in events, release day parties and cover reveals with and for other authors as well as during my own release day events. As to how much it helps with exposure, it's really a mixed bag. I find that the ones with big organisers are more likely to get more traffic, but release day events and cover reveals also will draw a big crowd depending on the author involved. I find that it drives traffic to a number of sites, like subscribes to my YouTube, followers on my Tumblr and even here on my blog. It really is just a case of making sure you're hitting your intended audience and that words gets out about the giveaway and event in general.

Why do you stick to young adult? And will you ever branch out into adult? 
I could simply say that the reason I write young adult was because when I started writing, I was a young adult! I was 19 and it made sense to write about teenagers because that was something I knew a lot about. However, now that I'm 34, you could argue that it's high time I started writing for people my own age. The short answer to this is that I don't want to. I like writing for young adults, I like the genres and the wide readership and there's no reason that an adult can't read a young adult book. It's just not the audience it's targeted towards. So, I stick to it because I enjoy it. Will I ever branch out? I don't know. It could happen, but right now, at this stage in my life, I'm happy where I am. 

If you have any questions for Joey, feel free to send them to

Thursday 1 December 2016

November Final Tally

The final tally for November 2016 is: 36 pages, 8 chapters and 17,084 words! Considering I have pneumonia and spent a week in hospital I think that's pretty good. Here's hoping the year ends with a higher count!

Don't forget to check out my End of 2016 giveaway!

Interview with Carmilla Voiez

Today I am joined on the blog by Carmilla Voiez who writes a variety of books. I was lucky enough to pick up her book The Ballerina and the Revolutionary and will provide a review of the book after the interview. So before we get into that, here's Carmilla!

Hi Carmilla, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Of course. I'm a horror-lover who lives in my own personal world of magic and gender equality. I'm bisexual, a mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication, and a life long Goth, living with two kids, two cats and a poet by the sea. When I'm not writing, I get paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.

And your books?

My books reflect me in the fact that they are gendery, wendery woo. Women are an important part of my stories, but not idealised women, flawed women. I write a mixture of horror and fantasy, but magic is prominent in most of my work, from freestyle shamanism to Chaos magic, dreams and demons.

What's your favourite genre to write in?

I love horror. I love fictional monsters both human and supernatural. The ones if the real world are more terrifying by far.

What's your favourite genre to read?

I mostly read contemporary and speculative fiction by women and people of colour at the moment, however my first love is horror.
How do you deal with writer's block if you ever get it?

I do get writer's block. I find the most effective cure is to go for a walk or take a shower and let myself daydream for a while. Sometimes I just don't feel as though I have anything to write about. At those times I'll read and live until a subject or theme grabs my interest.

Now, you're attending Darker 2017, are you doing any other events?

I did Bristol Horror Con last month and I've got a reading at a Book Week Scotland event this week. At the moment that's all I have planned as I'm busy writing and collaborating on a series of graphic novels.

What's your writing process like?

I have notebooks for jotting down thoughts and ideas. I try and carry one wherever I go. If I can I prefer typing my first draft onto my laptop, starting at the beginning and uncovering the story as I write. Sometimes though, I need to write longhand if a story isn't really coming through clearly. My most imaginative scenes are often ones I wrote longhand and typed up later. 

Do you work better at night or during the day?

During the day while the kids are at school.

Do you have a favourite writing spot? If so where?

I have a comfy chair and I balance my laptop on my lap so I can relax into the process.

Would you describe yourself as indie, traditional or a hybrid of the two?


And finally, what's your favourite book that you've written? And your favourite book to read?

I love the Starblood Trilogy, especially the second book "Psychonaut". It's highly personal, but I also think it's well written and highly imaginative. Reading wise I have a soft spot for tragic heroines. Books I'll read again and again include Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary.

Vivienne realizes she is dying. All she wants to do is see her daughter Giselle one last time and apologise. But Giselle no longer exists and it is Crow, a gender-queer anarchist, who returns to a family home that is plagued by ghosts and violent memories.

With the help of a shaman ze met in a dream, Crow unravels terrifying family secrets, hoping to find closure at last. But can anyone survive the shadows that lurk behind these fairy tales?

My Review:
5 stars
I picked up this book because I loved the synopsis and I'm very glad I did. The author is great at setting the scene, when you first meet Crow all you know about them is that they live rough, left home at thirteen and did not have a good relationship with their mother. Their older brother comes calling begging Crow to come home because their mother is dying and wishes to see Crow. For Crow this means returning to the childhood home that haunts them still. As they come to terms with being back home, the story jumps from time period to time period, but never in a way that isn't easy to follow. It feels more like a biography of Crow's life and the decision they made. Despite not knowing the full picture until the very end, it makes for an engaging story. Once I started to read, I couldn't stop. It is an excellent book, well written and beautifully crafted and I would recommend to anyone who likes a dark read. Recommended!

Thanks Carmilla for joining me today, and if anyone reading wants to be featured or do an interview, you can email us at

Wednesday 30 November 2016


To celebrate the end of 2016, I will be doing a giveaway on Rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can win a signed copy of Waiting On You, The Friendship Triangle & Destination: Unknown as well as a set of signed SWAG and a £10 (or $10) Amazon gift card! Check out the link and be sure to enter. It's open from December 1st and closes December 30th at midnight GMT!  

So be sure to check it out!!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Questions From Readers - November 2016 - Part Two

And I'm here to answer some more of your questions. I'm hoping to get to the last ones by the end of the year, but of course, it all depends on health, spoons and all of that jazz. So without any further ado, let's get to the second batch of questions!

Why do you call yourself a disabled writer? Isn't it better to not let your conditions/disability define you?
This is something I've been asked before, but I'll go over it again because I don't think it can ever be said too much. I am disabled. And while a lot of people will say that I am a writer/author first, I am both. There has always been a lot of talk from many different people - those with and without a disability for example - about what word should be used to describe people like me. I identify more with the word disabled than I do with the phrase person with a disability. I think in that regard it's down to each individual disabled person to decide which works for them. As for the second part of your question, when you're chronically ill or disabled you often get told to not let it define you. And for a long time I agreed with that, but here's the thing. It does define me. Not because I "let it" but simple because that's how it works. It has a long term effect on the way I live my life and because of that I can't remove it from my identity. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing! Again, this is all my personal view on the matter. There are some people who would prefer not to be defined by their conditions, but I'm not one of them. It doesn't mean I'm wrong or they're wrong, just that we view our lives differently.

Do you have any regrets in your career?
Yes! I just did a video about how I regret not waiting for better covers before I pressed published. It's something that has bitten me in the arse and because of that, I am a big advocate for new authors making sure that not only does the content of your book be the best they can be, but also the wrapping too! You can check out the video here. 

Are you nervous about saying goodbye to Tara?
Yes, very much so! In the fifteen years I have been writing, I have been kept company with Tara and watched her grow from the awkward character in First Touch to the character she is in the final book Eighth Ending. She has been my constant companion through writing and it will be hard to end her story. It's been coming for a while and I always knew there would be an end to her story. I also am excited about starting my new series, and getting to know a brand new character whose end I don't yet know.

Have you always told stories? Or was it just a matter of circumstance?
I have, from a very young age, been a story teller. It was something I excelled at at school, and my parents would tell me often that I have an over active imagination, and the way they phrased it, it wasn't good! However, it was always something I enjoyed, and that enjoyment as only grown as I've gotten older. When I have the opportunity to do this with my life, it seemed like such a natural choice.

How do you deal with self-doubt? I have problems with keeping going when I have a bad day and feel like deleting the whole thing. Is that just me?
Not at all! My friends will tell you they've had to talk me down about that kind of stuff. There was a point recently when I was convinced that the eighth Dying Thoughts book needed to be trashed and just rewritten from scratch. I was so close to doing it when a friend of mine told me to step away from the computer. She was right and looking back at the manuscript now I realise that a ton of the problems I see are because I'm only reading a part of it when I write. If I went back and read the whole thing, I'd spot things that needed to be changed, but that's what editing is for. And I'm not talking about the professional edit either. When you finish your first draft, you're going to have to go back and do a bunch of rewrites before it even makes it to an editor. And that's okay. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say a non zero number of people have to do the same with their first drafts. The point right now is to tell yourself the story by writing it down. Once that's done, then you can go back and fine tune it.
As for dealing with self-doubt, like many other creative people, writers have moments (many many moments) when we start to think that out work isn't all that good and because of that, it's pointless to continue. I deal with it, by telling myself that I just have to get through the first draft and that to do that, I'm gonna have to live with that gremlin named Neil that tells me all the many things I am doing wrong. It's not easy, but writing isn't easy. I wish you the best of luck with finding a way that works for you.

How do you write a blurb that tells enough of the story to get the readers attention, but doesn't give away big plot points?
I'm actually one of the few (or so it seems to me) that doesn't really struggle with writing a blurb. I started writing by going from the blurb to writing the story around it and that seems to have worked for me long term. There are times when I find myself struggling with them, but that's when I get help from other people. The main things you want to remember are that you're supposed to be painting a picture with words as to why someone should read your books. Since I write mostly crime and paranormal, I always try to end the blurb with the hint of a climax. That way it hooks the reader in and allows them to then see for themselves how I deliver that promise. My advice to you would be to look at other books in your genre and go from there. It should give you some idea of what plot points to include without giving away too much. Good luck!

Where do you do the majority of your writing?
I do the majority of my writing at my desk in my office. It's huge and has pretty much everything I need to be comfortable and able to write for as long as possible. I also have a small over the bed desk up in my bedroom where I can work on my tablet, but generally speaking if I'm sick enough to be stuck on bed rest, then I'm not writing at all.

In Destination: Unknown the town of where the story took place is explicitly mentioned, but yet in Dying Thoughts, Blackout and other books, the town is never mentioned, why is that? Or are they all in the same place?
The reason Destination: Unknown explicitly states where the characters are is because of the history of my home town that ties into the story. I haven't ever really felt the need to do the same in any of my other books, except for Waiting On You. In my head, the stories take place in the same town, my home town. However, I left it like that because I didn't want to limit the reader's imagination should they feel like their home town is a better place. I know that some writers are very clear on where the story is happening, but it's never felt needed for me and so I've never had to actually do that.

What do you do when you get a bad review? I got my first 1 star and am devastated by it :(
First I remember that it's okay to get upset by a bad review. Talk to a friend or someone who can help you work through the feelings that come from a 1 star, but do that away from the review itself. It may also help to know that everyone gets 1 star reviews and it does not mean that your work isn't good. It just means that to that particular reader, it wasn't their favourite and that's completely normal. You can't please everyone and fiction, like art is very subjective as to who likes what and why they like it. Even five star reviews won't always like the same thing. 
Once you've had some time to calm down, read it again and see if there's anything constructive you can take out of it, but never, ever, ever reply or engage with the reviewer! The reviews on a book, while nice to get and read are not for us, the authors, they are for other readers to help them decide whether they might like our work. And it could be that what that 1 star review said they hated, will be what someone else is looking for. That's a good thing.

Will you start doing the writing advice pieces on your blog again? Or do you plan to mostly keep that to your booktube channel?
I do plan to continue them, I had a huge backlog that meant I didn't need to split my time in writing more, but now that I've posted all of those, I do plan to keep doing updates here as often as I can. 

Other than the Darker event, are you planning on doing any other signings?
I'm hoping to do a few others, but as of yet none have been confirmed. I would love to do some signings at libraries, but am waiting to hear back. Once I know, you guys will be the first I tell!

How much outlining do you do before you start the book? Any tips on how to keep it all organised?
I do, what feels like to me, a lot of outlining, but yet compared to other authors I know, is bare bones. I think it's better to start with too much and then as you refine and learn how you write, cut back or do more depending on what you find works best. I stay organised simply because my health means I have to carve out time to do all of these things otherwise I will find myself getting lost, frustrated, over worked and sick and that's never fun.

Why are you always wearing oxygen in your videos? 
Simple, because breathing isn't optional and my lungs haven't upgraded to take the wireless kind of oxygen.

Thanks for all your questions! I will post the next batch in the beginning of December! If you have a question you'd like me to answer you can email me at

Thursday 24 November 2016

Questions From Readers - November 2016

I had a lot of plans for 2016 and while some of them have come to fruition, I also haven't kept up with some of them. I have a bunch of questions from readers and so over the next week or so I'm going to clear the backlog. So this will be the first of about three posts I think. I also wanted to apologise for not being around much this month. I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and am still recovering. With that said, I do still plan to do a video on the 28th, so be sure to subscribe or check it out here on the blog!

Hi, I know you've been a published author for a while and I wondered whether you had any advice for aspiring authors looking to go the same route you've taken?
Hi! My advice is simple and there is a ton of advice out there. I took the path I did because of my own personal circumstances, but if you're looking to go the indie/self pub route, then I have a few pieces of advice. 
One - Hire an editor. You do not want to be putting out your novel before it's properly edited and having done some huge mistakes in my time as a published author, I have to say this goes a long way for the reader. If they're checking out you for the first time, then they're gonna want to know that what they're getting is the polished product and not just what you threw up on Amazon without anyone else have a look over it.
Two - Get a professional cover. I am planning to a video on the 28th about my own follies in that area, but I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made. So make sure you get a proper cover, not something drawn in paint.
Three - Don't limit yourself to just Amazon. While KDP exclusive has its perks, there will be readers who want to check you our on other ebook devices. Also, other paperback if its suitable. Createspace may be Amazon, but they also distribute to a number of other stores. 
And finally, Four - Be ready to work hard. It's not easy and it comes with many bumps in the road. You're going to get bad reviews, you're going to get criticism, and you're going to want to delete it and just forget about ever doing it, but DON'T give up! It's easy for my to say, but I have to admit that I still have days like this, in fact whole weeks even! It's a hard job, but so worth it! Good luck!

I've been reading the Dying Thoughts series and love it, when is the next one out?
I start editing Dying Thoughts - Fifth Secret on December 1st and it should be with the editor by the beginning of 2017. It has a cover, has promo material and it's just a matter of going through the long editing process, but I hope to release it in May or June of 2017.

On that note, how long will the series be?
I am writing the eighth and final instalment to the series at the moment. I am very close to the end and this book will be released in about three or four years, so you will have Tara for a few more years :)

I know you get asked this a lot, but how do you manage to juggle being sick and being an author? And do you have any tips for a spoonie who wants to do something like writing?
I do get asked a lot, but it's okay :) I juggle being sick and being a writer simply by prioritising what needs to be done and what can be put off to a day when I'm feeling better. I also find writing an escape and something that my doctor has noticed is that I feel better mentally (which then helps feed into being in a better headspace) when I have and make time to write. Now it's not always possible to struggle through a bad day, but I have a lot of support and aids that help keep me writing as much as I can.
My advice is simply to know your limits. There will be days when you find yourself wondering if you'll ever finish this book, or get the blog post done or the interview and all those things. You need to pace yourself and accept that some days, the only thing you'll do is stay alive. That's a big thing too! Sometimes you gotta take the nap, or the break and that's completely fine. You're still a writer even if you take a day, a week, a month off because of health issues. Good luck!

Will you write another series? I love both the standalone books like Blackout and Lynne & Hope, and I love the Dying Thoughts series, but I know it has to end some time and would love a new series?
I am actually finishing up the last Dying Thoughts book and in doing that found an idea for a brand new series. On top of that, one of the books I'm working on right now has shown to be a duology at least, maybe even a trilogy. I'm actually rather excited to be able to continue in Lock's world and I'm excited to meet Jessie and start writing her story! So yes, there will be another series, it will be paranormal and mystery. The duology is a dystopian and as I've always wanted to write one, it's great finally being able to!

Do you have any recommendations for other booktube or vloggers to follow?
I don't have many, but I do love Jenna Moreci who can be found here: Jenna Moreci She has a bunch of videos and is funny, on point and gives great advice. She posts a new video every Wednesday and is an excellent resource. As for any other booktubers, sadly I haven't got any other names. I'm still very much starting out and gaining my own audience, but if I find any more, I'll let you guys know.

How many words have you written in 2016? I love that you do #JoWriMoGo throughout the year, and I wondered what the final tally for 2016 was?
Ah, see this question gave me an idea for a video where I'll reveal that. Pages, words and chapters. I know I've done over 200K because I started both the current works in progress in the middle of the year and I'm almost done! I think it'll be interesting so keep an eye out for that video!

Will you ever write another romance? Or move out of your current genres?
I can't really answer that with a yes or a no. I have books already written that have romance subplots, but I haven't found an idea for a complete romance. I do love writing crime/mystery and paranormal, but it may be in the future I decide to branch out, I just don't know.

Why do you add captions to your videos? And image descriptions on your Instagram posts?
Quite simply because I want to include everyone. I am not as good about image descriptions as I should be, but the captions I do do every time. There's a two pronged answer here. The first is that I have Auditory Processing Disorder which means I find it hard to process words and sounds. I know that I love videos with captions and it helps me to be sure of what's being said. The second prong is that I want everyone to be able to watch my videos and captions, as well as image descriptions help with that. They allow someone who has APD, or is hard of hearing to be able to watch the videos too. Image descriptions are for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader and images without alt text can't be processed. 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
At the age of 5 I was pretty sure I was going to be a doctor and worked hard at school to accomplish that. At 12 or 13 I started spending my break periods at school writing stories with a friend or two. When I was medically retired it made sense to follow that dream rather than do nothing. I have always been someone who is good at telling a story and because of that, writing comes naturally to me.

How do you stay so organised? It feels like you plan every second and manage to write a whole chapter in that time!
I am naturally a very organised person, but I use a number of tricks to keep myself on track writing wise. I use Sticky Notes on the computer to map out what I need to do each day of the month and from there I can plan my down time and writing time. As mentioned above, I also have to pace myself because of my conditions and being organised helps with that. As for writing a whole chapter in a second, I'm not that good, at least not yet! 

Thanks for all your questions, I'll answer the next batch next week and I can also announce that I have an author interview with Carmilla Voiez coming up so be sure to check that out!

Saturday 5 November 2016

Final Tally for October #JoWriMoGo


I managed 95 pages, 47,188 words and 20 chapters in October's #JoWriMoGo! I'm really pleased and am edging really close to the end of both books in progress with ideas for the next two already brewing. My goal for this year's #NaNoWriMo is to finish both books! Let's see if I can make it even though I'm a little late in starting!

Good luck to everyone doing #NaNoWriMo as well!

Tuesday 25 October 2016

What would you like to see?

I have been trying to keep the blog updated as often as I can, either with blog posts or with Instagram photos from that feed. My concern is that with my health limiting me so much, and my focus being writing my current works in progress, that I am not giving my blog readers what they want. So here's a post to tell you what I can try to offer you guys!

I have done for the past couple of years, blog posts that talk about my own path as a writer as well as giving you insights into how I do what I do. Whether that's been through The Creative Process, The Trials of an Indie Author, Crime Writer, Spoonie Writer and others, I have wanted to give you all a taste of what this indie author does when she's not writing blog posts. I plan to continue with those, but my issue is that I have such little free time to write anything other than book stuff, do you want to see more or less of them? Do you want me to set a schedule so that there will be a new post every week? Every two weeks?

I have the opportunity reach out to other authors and writers and ask for them to do a guest blog post. I can also include interviews that will allow more frequent posting and also bring new authors to this blog, which will help bring fresh perspective. Do you want me to do one every month? Every two weeks?

Would you like me to do this with every photo? Or would you prefer a batch post once a week? Either is doable and I will continue to do image descriptions for them.

When I first started my booktube channel, I would cross-post here as they went live. I stopped doing that a few months back, but I am more than happy to restart. For those who missed it, you can find links to all the videos on the "Booktube" tab at the top of the page. New videos are posted on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of the month, so would you like to see them on the blog as well?

Is there anything else you'd like to see on my blog? If so, what? And how often? Would you like me to do more "Questions from Readers"?

Thanks for the feedback. I will try to encompass as many of your suggestions as possible. If you prefer you can email me at and I'll be happy to hear from you!

Sunday 16 October 2016

Creative Characters: Harriet & Dot

Writing Destination: Unknown
Creative Characters: Harriet & Dot

I got the idea for Destination: Unknown when I moved into the house I currently live in in August 2009. It is in an historic part of the town I live, and the area is it's own little village. Given that our house had been standing since 1840, I became a little curious with finding out who had lived here previously. As I dug into old census reports and other stories, I got the idea that if a character were to live here and be able to go back 100 years via some part of the house, then they could meet the person living here. I threw in a crime twist and the idea was born.

I already had a clear plan for the character living in 2010. She would be a young carer for her disabled mother. A bit of a loner, but having been burnt by people calling themselves her friends in the past, she didn't mind it all that much. Harriet would be fifteen, happy at school and happy at home. She would carry burdens that most fifteen-year-olds are lucky not to know, but she wouldn't be bitter or upset about it. Yes, she wanted her mother well, but at the same time, she didn't blame her, or feel she was held back. Their bond was strong, Harriet's father having abandoned the family before she was born, and in her eyes, she was doing what her mother would do for her.

Enter Dot, full name Dorothy. She lived in the same house, but in the year 1910. Her father was accused of murder and looked to be hanged for the crime. With her large family facing the workhouse, she looks for any way to prove her father did not kill his foreman. She appears to Harriet as a ghost one evening, and then the next day, as Harriet is looking out the kitchen window, a paving stone in her garden lights up. Harriet goes to explore and finds herself being sent back one hundred years into the past. She meets Dorothy face-to-face, with only enough time for Dot to plead for her help before Harriet is sent back to 2010.

The whole story flits between the present day and 1910, as Harriet gets to know Dot and her family and promises to help. The only problem is that time moves faster in 1910, where one visit a day apart is actually weeks, and time is running out for Dot and her family. Can Harriet save the day and rewrite history?

It was a joy to write, and I loved the way it crafted onto the page. I had a great time researching both my own house and the former occupants, to imagining how it would've looked in 1910. I was, at the time, working towards my degree and so snippets were written here and there. Time stolen away to look into 1910 and see where the story was going, and for once, I didn't actually have a clear idea of how it would end. When I finished it, I put it away for a few years and when I started the editing process, I was actually finding myself very immersed in the story. One of the few times I've been eager to get the editing done because I really did love writing, reading and editing it!

Be sure to grab yourself a copy either in paperback here, or in Kindle here.

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Saturday 1 October 2016

September final tally for #JoWriMoGo

In September, I managed to write 16 chapter, 74 pages and 38,228 words! I am really pleased with this total as for the past few months I seem to have been stuck at 12 chapters - although nothing wrong with that! I'm hoping to aim for the same for October and see where it takes me!