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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday 24 November 2016
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
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!