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