Thursday 30 June 2016

From Joey's Instagram: Bedrest Edition Part 2

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photograph of a bookshelf with two metal bookends. From left to right, the books are: Dying Thoughts - First Touch; Dying Thoughts - Second Sight;  Dying Thoughts - Third Wish; Dying Thoughts - Fourth Week; Waiting On You; Lynne & Hope; The Friendship Triangle; Blackout. All eight books have the same author: Joey Paul. The caption reads: All eight with space for book nine coming July 9th on Kindle and paperback! Something to be said about seeing your creation on a book shelf!]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square screenshot of an Amazon page with the book: Destination: Unknown and the words Pre-order price: £1.99. There is a long grey button that says: Pre-order this item today! The caption reads: Pre-order a copy now from Amazon! Following Harriet as she travels in time to right a wrong and solve a murder!]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photograph showing a polka dot duvet with four items positioned on top. A piece of A4 white chapter plan on the right. On the left are blue notecards and a small brown note book. In-between the two is one purple pen and a purple bulldog clip. The caption reads: Still on #bedrest but am ready to get another bonus chapter written! Got my window open and the cool air coming in lovely day to write!]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photograph of a untidy bed cover with polkadots. On top of the cover to the right is a blank Kindle screen, next to that is an A4 white chapter plan. Balancing on top are a purple pen, a brown notepad and a small syringe pen. The caption reads: Last day of #bedrest and another chapter written! I have tomorrow to finish the bonus chapters and then a new month starts! I'll be taking it slow so may end up writing in bed again but we shall see!] 

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photo showing a bluetooth black keyboard at the bottom of the frame, the edge of a black bed rest and the white glare of a tablet. The caption reads: Work today brought to you by: Tablet, bluetooth keyboard and a bed desk. Well worth the cost as I get so much done in bad days!] 

As always, I am still learning with image descriptions so any tips or criticisms are greatly appreciated!

Book Launch for Destination: Unknown

Come and join in the fun here at the #DarkerSideOfFiction2017 Facebook Group!

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Inside The Author: Eight Down; How Many More To Go?


At the time of writing, I'm working on my fifteenth and sixteenth books, which are both only just started. To answer the question though, I'm not really sure how many books I’ll write before I lay down my keyboard and say that I'm done. I've always joked that I’ll keep writing until I run out of ideas or someone tells me to stop, and despite the fear that I will run out of ideas, it hasn't happened yet.

I usually start planning my next two books when I reach the point with the two I'm working on where I can see how they're going to end and how long it's going to take me to get there: I like to have an idea of where I'm going and what I'll need to do once I finish writing a book. I like being able to close the file on one, and open a new file pretty much immediately. The first words of the book may not be written straight away, but once I have my chapter plan and character notes done, along with any research that I need to do, I'm usually desperate to get started.

Initially, when I first started writing in 2001, I didn't think about how many books I would write. My goal was to write and then try to get one of the finished works published. When BLACKOUT hit the shelves in 2005, I set myself a goal of ten books total. Five of those would make up the DYING THOUGHTS series and another five would be standalone books. I would then release one a year so that I always had a backlog - though that backlog keeps getting smaller each time I release a book! However, when I started writing two books at the same time, I started to get closer and closer to that final number.

When I started writing my ninth and tenth books, I realised that I wasn't quite done with Tara's story and I also wasn't done with writing. I planned to increase the DYING THOUGHTS series to eight books, and continue to write my standalone books. I estimate that by the time this blog post is live, I will be writing the eighth book of Tara's journey. I don't really know where I'll go after that because I don't know how that book will end and if it will take me to the point where I feel that Tara has told her story and it's time to bring it to a close. Of course, since I write two at once, I'll write another handful of standalones which will bring me up to twenty books. I'll leave any decision making about whether or not I'll write more to when I get to that point.

So, the answer is that I really don't know how many more books I'll write. I do worry that one day I will run out of ideas and that Tara will be left waiting, and other characters will have been left in the dust. It's not just about being inspired, it's about having a plot line that can span a book. It's about having a story to tell. I know that I would like to write more books about disabled teens because as someone who became disabled in their late teens, I know how hard it is to find representation in books and I'd like to fix that. I would also like to explore new worlds and go down different paths and I can't do that if I don't write and bring my characters to life. Just as they get to tell their story, I get to go along for the ride, and I'm not done on this ride! Eight rollercoasters done, now onto the next adventure!

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

Monday 27 June 2016

From Joey's Instagram: Bedrest edition

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photo showing the view from Joey's bed. The window frame is slightly open and through the window you can see an old row of buildings with sun shining. At the end of the bed are the handles of a walker. Caption reads: Another day of bedrest, but managed to get up a little this morning and plan to try and write tomorrow as well as get the video for the 21st finally up and captioned! Hopefully I will manage it!]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photo with part of a pyjama covered leg in the bottom right hand corner. The majoirty of the photo is a tablet screen, showing the words: "Tara? I apologise if I'm calling at a bad time.." text moves out of the picture and then below it reads: "stiff and formal." The caption reads: I may be on #bedrest bug I'm still getting some #writing done today!]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square black and white photo showing a spotted bedspread with items piled up on it. To the right is a Kindle showing unreadable text. In the middle is a sheet of A4 paper, on which rest a small square notepad, two pens and a bulldog clipped bundle of note cards. The caption reads: So another day of bedrest and I had planned to write a little but the pain and nausea are too much to manage. I plan to spent it reading a good book instead!]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square full colour photo with a small brown notebook opened to a page balanced on a bluetooth keyboard which is just visible at the bottom of the photo. The page focused on the notepad reads: DTEE 6 X PAGES 24/06/16 and three lines below it: LO 1 x CHAPTER 26/06/16. The caption reads: Another day of bedrest but I managed to do some #writing! A bonus chapter has been written and I'm feeling good about it! Might even manage one tomorrow too!] 

*I am still learning about image descriptions and would welcome any feedback or insight so that I can make my photos and images accessible to everyone.  While for the time being I have focused on my Instagram feed, I will be adding image descriptions to all my images spoons permitting. Please do feel free to add your own should mine not be enough!*

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Inside The Author: Why I Write Two Books At Once


For all of my adult life, I have been someone who likes to have things in reserve. I don't know whether or not it's linked to my chronic illnesses and my inability to predict from one day to the next how I'll be feeling, or if it's the organised planner in me, but I've always wanted to be ahead and to make sure that when someone asks for something, I have it ready for them. I’m the same with my university work; for every course I’ve done over the past five years, I’ve always gotten at least two weeks ahead of the schedule so that if I were to fall ill, or need to take a week off, I wouldn't spend it worrying about being late or behind with an assignment. I’m the same with my writing.

It didn't start out like that; in the beginning, I was more than happy to be writing one book, never mind two! If I was lucky, a book got written to my own schedule... and then something changed. It was when I was writing WAITING ON YOU. It was 2007 and I’d had the idea for about six months before I put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard. I got to about chapter eleven before I realised that I had no idea where to take it from there. Now, if you follow my blog, you'll know that I am a planner. I plan everything! I have a chapter plan that I try to follow and I always know where my story is going, or at least where I planned for it to go! Yet, I just sat there as the hours turned to days, and the days to weeks, with no idea how to get from the middle of chapter eleven to the beginning of chapter twelve. I was blocked!

It wasn't like the usual writer's block, or at least it wasn't like my usual writer's block. I had plenty of ideas, I was brimming with them...they just weren't for that book! As well as my standalone books, I write a series called DYING THOUGHTS. I had written the third one and finished it before starting WAITING ON YOU. I usually liked to take a break between those books and write a standalone, which I was doing. Yet, my brain was bombarded with ideas for the fourth DYING THOUGHTS book and I was more than inspired. I swear that I could have written it there and then if I wasn't so determined to finish what I had started.

You see, like any other writer, I had started pieces early on in my career that had never really gone anywhere. I guess I was trying to find my feet and because I'm organised and had never really thought the ideas were so bad they should be dumped, I'd filed them away to use at a later date. One of those because my fifth book, LYNNE & HOPE, and another one has morphed into a book I'm writing now. Anyway, I'm getting off track. So, I have all these ideas, but I'm telling myself that I can't write them because I HAVE to finish WAITING ON YOU. It was like talking to a wall because my brain did not seem to want to accept those messages.

So, I tried to compromise. I wrote out the chapter plan for the fourth DYING THOUGHTS book and put it to one side. I went back to WAITING ON YOU. Nope, wasn't happening. I spoke to friends about it, I called my parents and spoke at length about how this was a real dilemma and I was stuck with no idea what to do. It was my friend Libby who eventually found the answer. She said that I should write the first eleven chapters of the other book and then go back to WAITING ON YOU and see if that helped get the ideas out of my head, clearing the way for me to finish chapter eleven. I thought about it for only a minute or two before agreeing that it was the best way forward.

You know what happened after I wrote up to chapter eleven of the fourth DYING THOUGHTS book? The writer's block for WAITING ON YOU cleared up as if it was an infection and I'd thrown major antibiotics at it. It was GONE! So, I was finally able to write the ending to chapter eleven and start, and finish, chapter twelve. Problem solved, right?

WRONG! Once I got to chapter thirteen, I was dying to write some more of the other book. So, I went back to Libby and she told me to try writing them side by side. Do two chapters of one and then do two of another. At this point, my second book hadn't been published and so I was writing books seven and eight. I did as she suggested and bam! I was writing and writing, switching after two chapters and getting chapter after chapter written. I never got the plots mixed up. I never found myself desperate to write part of the other, and it worked for me.

So, when I finally finished the book, it was 2010 and I was just about to have book two published under the Bug Books indie label. I planned to release one book a year, but with so many in "standby" as it were, we decided to release books three and four in early 2012 with book five coming in the summer of 2012. After that I realised that with five books released, I had very little back up. As I said at the beginning of this piece, I like to have something in reserve and because it had worked so well before, and also because I had ideas for another two books banging around my head, I decided to continue to write two books at once.

I am now working on books eleven and twelve. I am happy with the arrangement, and although I still only release one book a year, that may change if I get to the point where I have a large backlog. It gives me a chance to work on a DYING THOUGHTS book alongside a standalone and although I still get writer's block, I usually find that switching after two chapters allows my mind to not get too far ahead of itself, and keep the ideas coming. I know that a lot of writers work on more than one piece of work at a time and I think that if it works for you, then why not do it? After all, as the saying goes, if it ain't broke, why change it?

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

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Inside The Author:How I Juggle Chronic Illness & Writing


I have several chronic conditions and they’re the reason why I pursued writing as a career. I thought that an interesting piece for this blog book tour would be how I manage to juggle being chronically ill while still managing to write. As with most chronic conditions, I have good days and bad days. I even have some bloody awful days. I spend time at the hospital for both appointments and inpatient stays. I see numerous doctors and I will probably never be well enough to hold down a "conventional" job again.

Before I talk about how I manage to write whilst being chronically ill, I should really give you a little information on the main three conditions that affect my life. I have Type One Brittle Asthma, which is a rare form of asthma that affects only 1500 people in the UK. It causes me to have attacks daily, and I am on numerous medications to try and control it, though they’re not very good at doing that. I also have Myalgic Encephalopathy, also known as M.E. This causes me to have cognitive problems, as well as crushing fatigue and many other symptoms. Alongside those two, I have Fibromyalgia, which I'm sure you know is responsible for a lot of the chronic pain I have. On a scale of one to ten, with one being nothing and ten being the worst pain imaginable, I usually sit around a five or six daily. I take medications for all of these conditions and they have a huge impact  upon my day-to-day life. I use a wheelchair 99% of the time and require round the clock care.

As I’ve said previously, being retired from my previous job at the age of nineteen on medical grounds is the reason why I became a writer. Facing a life of nothing but daytime TV and hobbies, I turned to writing as a way to fill the gaps. That was nearly fourteen years ago and I haven't looked back since. However, writing has its own trials and demands and as a disabled person, some of them I’m just unable to meet. Take this blog book tour; it is only something I could dream of doing because I am not required to travel and appear somewhere in person. Doing it online allows me to write the pieces in advance and takes into account that I can't predict how I'll be feeling tomorrow, let alone in six weeks time. Part of being chronically ill is accepting that although you WANT to do something, your body will not always ALLOW you to do so.

I love writing because it is something I can do whenever I feel I am able. I’m an indie author and work to my own schedule. There are no deadlines to meet, or at least the deadlines are flexible, and it allows me to be productive without damaging my already fragile health. I do work to my own deadlines though; I do something called a "Monthly Sticky Post" on a private journal, where I set myself four chapters every month, two for each book. At first, I tried to go for eight, not realising that I would almost never be able to reach that goal. I would struggle and find myself getting annoyed that I couldn't do something as simple as write. The constant frustration was not good for my mental health. So I made it four, and sometimes I don't even get those done. Other times, I have managed an extra four, something I call my "bonus chapters”. Only once have I gone further than that and managed to do twelve chapters, six of each book, in a two week period.

I am no longer able to write by hand; the Fibromyalgia and M.E have caused weakness and muscle cramps in my hands that mean I can't grip a pen for anything more than a signature. To overcome this, I type my books. There was a time in the early years of my career where I would hand write each chapter and then type it up and edit it as I went. However, I do like being able to write anywhere, and so I brought a laptop, and I recently purchased a tablet that has a large enough screen for me to still type with two hands. This means that when I go into hospital, I can take my notes and my tablet and have everything there for me in case I feel well enough, or am struck my the lighting of inspiration.

I manage my writing alongside my conditions quite well, although I do find it frustrating when I'm too ill to write and I get inspired. It is not unheard of for me to dictate a note to myself to do something with at a later date. Thankfully, this is the age of smart phone, apps, email and many other modern inventions that allow someone like me to work when they are able, and sometimes even when they're not. It's all about finding the balance and making it work. I know that even though I may not be able to do everything I used to be able to do, I will always be a writer, and I will keep writing until I run out of ideas!

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

Wednesday 8 June 2016

From Joey's Instagram

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of Joey Paul (me) a cis, white female with short brown hair. She is sat in a manual chair, with her arms resting on the wheels. She is wearing a khaki shirt and blue jeans. She has wire rimmed glasses, an oxygen cannula on her face and is smiling. Over her left shoulder is a black strap that leads to a small bag hanging over the right wheel, with two thin tubes coming from the bag and under her shirt. She is sat in a room filled with various office-like things, with a corkboard behind her with various notices on it. The caption reads: A #writer in the middle of a good scene. No character is safe from my killer keyboard! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #amwriting #authorsofinstagram #wheelchairuser #oxygenuser #writerlife #authorslife #crimeauthor.]

Tuesday 7 June 2016

From Joey's Instagram

 [IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Photo of Joey Paul (me), a cis woman with a chubby face, wire rimmed glasses and an oxygen cannula under her nose. She looks tired and frustrated. She is wearing a purple hoodie. Caption reads: This is my ugh it's gonna be a high pain day today and I have things to do! I have a chapter to write so onwards! #beingawriter #writing #indieauthor #joeywrites #chronic illness #spoonie #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #flare #brittleasthma #oxygenuser #wheelchairuser #writerlife #spoonlevels #authorslife #authorsofinstagram.]

 [IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A purple hoodie is laid out on a black rollator/walker. The back has big white font which read: "Warning: Author with a pen and I know how to use it." The caption for the photo reads: My awesome other writer hoodie! Been wearing it for months but hard to photograph while in my chair, so here it is on my walker. #beingawriter #writing #writerlife #joeywriters #indieauthor #authorslife #amwriting #authorsofinstagram #wheelchairuser.]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of Joey Paul (me) a cis woman with a chubby face. She is wearing wire-rimmed glasses and has an oxygen cannula under her nose. She is wearing a purple hoodie and a crooked smile that gives the impression she is not happy. She looks tired and frustrated. The caption reads: My "I got three hours sleep and I hurt and am waiting for an amazon delivery so I can't sleep" face. Hoping it gets here soon but if not I shall sleep with one eye open! But at least I'm #writing! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #amwriting #authorsofinstagram #writerlife #authorslife #painsomnia #chronicpain #flare #oxygenuser #wheelchairuser]

Inside The Author: My Characters


Everybody has their own methods for creating characters. Everybody who writes a series or a trilogy, or even a standalone piece of work have their own favourite characters and I am no different. However, when you first begin writing, it's hard to say goodbye to characters that you'll probably never see again. I remember when I’d just finished writing BLACKOUT, I was so desperate to write about Tally and Lisa again. I wanted to take them on adventures and go new places with them, but my best friend, B, told me that it just wasn't possible and she was right. Tally had told her story and I had to say goodbye to her, however hard that was.

Whilst the majority of my main characters are young adults, usually teenage girls, I do write about their parents and the other people in their lives. I don't know who coined the phrase "writers create from nothing and breathe life into words" but I feel that it’s a good description of what I do. I take a blank cut out of a person and I add life to it, by giving them hair and facial features, adding clothes and words. Once I've done that, I take them on an adventure and I bring the reader along for the ride. I enjoy choosing names, and personality traits, habits and accents and I know that’s reflected in my work. I take great care to make sure that every character I create is as unique as every person in the world.

However, that said, a lot of my characters do share something and that is that they all have a part of my life and self in them. Whether it’s their choice of clothing, or their accent, the way they speak or who they choose for their friends. I think it is inevitable that every character you create, whether they be a background player or the main part, has a part of the creator in them, no matter how hard you may try to hide it. In Angelina's case, her cynicism comes from me, though maybe not to the extreme that she takes it. Zack carries part of my belief that people in trouble are to be rescued and saved. I don't know if I would have ever done what he did, but in my own teen years, I know that I did some stuff that was equally stupid. I probably still do!

Other characters I have created also share parts of me; Lisa from BLACKOUT has the same medical condition that I have. Tara from the DYING THOUGHTS series has the same fondness for sarcasm as I did at that age. Hope from LYNNE & HOPE has the same wheelchair that I did when I writing that book. Some of them have taken GCSE classes that I chose or have aimed for A-levels that would have interested me had I taken them. I could go on, but I hope I’ve made my point. I would hazard a guess that other writers have similar stories to tell.

When writing a new book, my favourite part is meeting your characters for the first time. I believe, as I am sure many other writers do too, that while we breathe the life into them with our words, they take us on their own journeys. I can't tell you how many times I have been sure that the book would go one way, only to get to the middle of the chapters and realise that I am going to be using a different interpretation of the chapter heading than I initially thought. I know that when writing WAITING ON YOU, there were things that were not ever planned, but Zack took me that way and then in another part, Angelina led me down a different path. Once you give them life, they seem to take on their own forms. At least, that's my experience!

While I always knew the ending for WAITING ON YOU, there were many extra roads I went down at the insistence of Angelina and Zack. The same can be said for other books I have written. I know that in one of the books I’m working on right now, I have just connected two characters who initially were never connected. It was only when I started writing the chapter that I realised where it was going, and that’s one thing I love about both writing and the characters that I create. You never really know where you're going to go next. It's a case of coming along for the ride as if the words were appearing and you were the first ever reader of that particular story.

So yes, writers do create from nothing, and we do breathe life into our characters with our words, but believe me, they do some of their own living without any help from me!

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

Wednesday 1 June 2016