Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Managing Goals [CC]


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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


And that's the end of #LightsOn which makes book 17 finished! Got to finish the 18th tomorrow and day after and then get to start two new ones in July! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress

Monday, 26 June 2017

Creative Characters: Writing Alex & Ahmed


CREATIVE CHARACTERS: WRITING ALEX & AHMED

With just under a week to go until the release of It's Not Always Rainbows, I thought I would dedicate this Monday post to writing the other two main characters from the book. A couple of weeks ago I did a short piece about writing Cat and Jayden which can be found here.

First a little background about each character. Let's start with Alex: He's sixteen, very much ready for school to be over and his exams behind him. He's gay and in an on again/off again relationship with Greg who's in the year below them at school. His parents are from Crotia and moved to the UK before Alex was born. His parents, and in some ways, Alex himself, are Catholic. He's kept his sexuality from them simply because he's not sure how they'd take it.

WRITING ALEX

Alex was a fricking joy to write! I already had my plans for his character and it was so easy to find his voice in the midst of the story. I always knew how he'd react to a comment and how he'd present himself to the world, and his peers. In a lot of ways, Alex is the group's defender. The first to jump to their defence should somebody hurt them verbally, physically or emotionally. He's on top of that. Exploring Alex's background was a big joy for me because I loved that he was always very much open with his friends, but guarded with others. He adopts the persona of being a ladies man, even though it's pretty much common knowledge around the school that he's gay. He's so comfortable in his own skin and throughout the story, he grew as a character.

As I said in the piece about Jayden and Cat, I knew what I didn't want the story to be. I didn't want it to be only about coming out and the angst that may or may not come with that. I'm hoping that I was successful in doing that but with Alex I know I wrote a good character. He was always very sure of both what he believed and how he wanted to present to the world. If there was a way to right a wrong, he'd be first in line to do just that. And as the story progressed, Alex's character grew. I loved writing him and exploring his characterisation and view on the world.

And now Ahmed: He's sixteen, quite reserved but also looking forward to getting done with school. He's gay, but again he hasn't told his parents. His family isn't religious, but they are traditional. They moved from Iraq when they were children and want to bring Ahmed up knowing his culture. He hasn't told them not just because of fear of being shunned, but also because he's not really sure about whether he wants them to know.

WRITING AHMED.

I struggled to begin with finding Ahmed's voice. It was something that almost made me either stop writing or think about taking him out of the book. I'm so glad I didn't and that I kept with it because when I found his voice, it was amazing and a joy to write him. There were parts of my first draft that I am so very glad never saw the light of day as they were that bad! Ahmed is very serious, wanting to stay out of the reach of the bullies but at the same time protect him friends. It's only as he starts to grow as a character, and as the attacks start getting serious that he starts to come out of his shell.

He's loyal to a fault, but at the same time very assured of what he's doing, thinking, saying. He doesn't want to walk around with a target on his back and because of that he holds back where Alex and Cat want to push forward. He's a lovely character and once I got into his head I found that I actually quite enjoyed getting to know him.

So that's it for these characters. I have been playing around with the idea of doing a set of questions and interviews with each of my main characters. If that's something you'd like to see, please comment below and let me know. And don't forget to pick up your copy of It's Not Always Rainbows on Amazon. It'll going to be 99p/99c until July 7th when it'll revert to the full price of £2.99/$2.99! You can find it on here on UK & US.

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. You can also sign up to her newsletter here.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


New pillow makes working in bed so much easier! Gotta get this chapter written! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress #chronicillnessproblems #chronicillness #spoonie #oxygenuser #brittleasthma #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #flare

Friday, 23 June 2017

Interview with Debbie Manber Kufar and review of P.A.W.S


I'm happy to be welcoming Debbie Manber Kufar to the blog today for both an interview and a review of her book - P.A.W.S - now let's find out a little about Debbie.

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the London. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of the young adult fantasy series, P.A.W.S. which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis. In addition she has stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Stardust, Always, Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past. She has also published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with her son Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Now onto the interview!

What made you want to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story when I was around eight years old. It was about turning into a ladybird. (See even back then I wrote about shapeshifters.) I sent that story to the Puffin Post and was so excited when I got a mention in the magazine. I knew right then that someday I wanted to write a novel.

what kind of books do you read for pleasure?
I read all sorts, but recently find myself being drawn to urban fantasy. My current read is Blood Debt by E.A. Copen. Highly recommended.

What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
I’m mostly a discovery writer. I have a strong idea where my story is leading but only a vague notion of how I’ll get there. But I’m definitely enjoying the journey.

what character of yours is your favourite?
Definitely my wild Welsh warlock (try saying that fast), Gromer the Green. He lives in a rugged, but homely cave in Snowdonia (which he calls his castle) and has a fondness for tea and pea soup. He is also supposed to be the only one who knows the whereabouts of the elusive wizzlewoop.

What attracted you to your chosen genre?
I adore writing fantasy, because anything can happen. But I also prefer fantasy that’s set in our world, rather than a separate magical kingdom as I like to believe that it’s possible, that the magic is out there. It’s just that we non-magical folk can’t see it.

Do you have any hobbies?
Not exactly a hobby, but rather my other hat! When I’m not writing fiction I write puzzles for magazines and my website Paws 4 Puzzles. I also spend rather a lot of time reading and solving puzzles.

Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
I already do. In between writing my P.A.W.S. novels I also like to write short stories. P.A.W.S. is young adult fantasy, but in my shorts I’ve written for adults and children and so far experimented in science fiction, horror, and humor, with a little poetry thrown in for good measure.


When Miri receives a silver cat charm from her omama, Celia, on the night before Celia dies she has no idea that the charm holds a secret, a powerful magic that saved her omama’s life and is about to make Miri’s a whole lot more interesting.

Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.

My Review: 5 stars
This is a wonderful book that starts with tragedy and carries on the story of a new generation. Miri receives a cat charm the night before her Omama dies, the morning of her tenth birthday. Sent to live with her uncle and aunt, neither of whom want her or any child, she's faced with life alone with no friends or family. And sent off to boarding school. There she is tormented and teased by the other students until one day the cat charm allows her to transform, which opens up a whole new world to her. Rescued and re-homed at P.A.W.S, Miri has a new start with people just like her who also have similar abilities. The story is delightful, packed with twists and turns that allow you to travel through Miri's adventures and come out the other side wanting more. I loved it. A nice quick read and one I will be sharing with my niece! Highly recommended.
You can follow Debbie here on Facebook, Twitter or Amazon.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


And the heatwave finally cooled down! I can get some more work done today with seven chapters to go before I finish both books! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #booksinprogress

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Do Monthly Goals Work? [CC]


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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


Follow me on Twitter! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #mysterybooks #paranormalbooks #readersofinstagram #reading #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #writersofinstagram

Monday, 19 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


I has a Conk puppy on my bed! He's looking out the window enjoying the view and the cool fan. #MrConk #dogsofinstagram #puppy

On Mental Health - The Creative Process


ON MENTAL HEALTH

In the run up to my eleventh book being released, and approaching the end of both my seventeenth and eighteenth books I'm aware that I'm not really feeling how I would usually. Those who know me know that up until this year, I was quite happy releasing one book a year, but being picked to do my first signing in October 2017, I felt like I should try at least and see if I could manage two books a year. And I'm happy to say that I have. On June 30th, It's Not Always Rainbows will be released in both Kindle and paperback. On top of that, I'm writing daily, or almost daily and managing to speed my way towards the end of both the second in the Lights Out trilogy and the first book in a brand new series called Cramping Chronicles. So why am I struggling? Why am I not out there happy and cheering and all the rest that goes with that?

It's not something I talk too much about, or go into much detail about because I like keeping my personal life personal and my public life doesn't need to be bogged down by the lows of my health. That said, I do include a section in my Life Of Joey videos every month where I give you guys a brief overview of my health. And even that, I've been told by some, is too much. There are a few reasons I do this and I'll break them down for you here:

1. I am disabled and my conditions are nothing to be ashamed of.
2. I know that there are many aspiring authors as well as professional authors I admire who also have similar conditions.
3. I see no reason to omit a huge part of my life, and productivity from that video.
4. I'm a young adult author, so I know there are other teens and young adults who are also disabled and not hiding the conditions allows them to know that they have representation in me.

To break down my conditions, since I'd be here a long time if I listed them all. I have a lung condition as well as several other chronic physical and mental conditions. The ones I'm going to talk about the mental health conditions. I've had depression and anxiety for the majority of my life. They, like my physical conditions go up and down and I have both good days and bad. Right now, because of ongoing health issues and waiting for a new drug to finally get started, my mental health is on the bad side Normally when this happens, I power through, see my therapist and talk to friends and go from there. I plan to do that, I am doing that. Yet because this drug could be started from anywhere from next week to next month and beyond, my feeling is that this bad time is going to be here for the moment.

Now I know some people will say: But Joey, you're always so happy on your videos! Or: But Joey, it might not be so bad, look on the bright side. To the first I say, yeah being depressed doesn't mean you never smile, never laugh and never have fun. And to the second I don't have an appropriate response that's suitable for a blog. You can probably imagine it, it's two words. I get that people want to help and I get that if you've never had depression it's hard to imagine what that's like, but for me losing myself in my writing and talking to friends, losing myself in a good book, all of these help me.

So why not just do that? Why am I bitching and moaning here? I guess because I am very aware that if I have days when I feel like writing is not enough, then there are other people who might feel the same. I know I did a piece a few weeks back about when you want to give up writing (found here) and this is not a repeat of that. This is more a post to explain that while I am very positive and happy in my videos, in my posts and in general. I do have depression and I do have anxiety and I do work very hard to maintain that positive and happy side of myself.

And yet, right now I am struggling. I would usually have a writing advice piece on the blog today, but today I decided that instead, I would give you a glimpse behind the mask I wear. If nothing else, it might make someone out there know that they're not alone. It helps me to know that. As much as I wish that no one else had days like I'm having right now, I know there are. And for those people, I just wanna say, yeah I hear you.

So today, take a moment, take a breath and remind yourself that, even though it's a platitude, you have made it through 100% of your worst days so far, you got this one down too. I hope you have a happy day today and if not, then tomorrow. Keep going. Keep breathing and keep writing. I know I will.

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. You can also sign up to her newsletter here.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


You know it's hot when it's back to back nebs all afternoon. Trying to write too since I have things to do. #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting #chronicillnessproblems #chronicillness #brittleasthma #oxygenuser #spoonie

Friday, 16 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


So here's a snippet for you guys. Today is a #LightsOut day and I'm on chapter 57 of 62, so very close to the end. Things are not going well, and it's starting to show the cracks. A good writing day though! #beingawriter #joeywrites #joeyisanauthor #indieauthor #authorslife #authorsofinstagram #authorsofig #writerslife #writersofig #writersofinstagram #booksinprogress #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #youngadultbooks #amwriting #dystopianfiction #lightsouttrilogy #ilovewriting #ilovemyjob #worksinprogress #wordnerd

From Joey's Instagram


My kinda book! Got it for Aunty Joey Day last month! Time to write! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting

Interview with Danny Bell and review of Empty Threat



I am delighted to be joined on the blog today by young adult author, Danny Bell. I'm also doing a review of his book, Empty Threat. But first, here's a little bit about Danny.

Danny Bell writes The Black Pages. He has been to New York multiple times and on each visit has joked about looking for Spider-Man, but he was secretly seriously looking for Spider-Man. Given the chance he would own a pet squirrel. He can probably pronounce Tuatha Dé Danann correctly, but understands if he's getting it wrong. Danny Bell is a weirdo who is trying his best.

And onto the interview!

What made you want to be a writer?
When I was a kid I had a very rough childhood with no real safe space to speak of. I was also a fairly bright kid who absolutely devoured whatever book I could get my hands on. A huge thing for me was comic books. I would spend hours writing what was essentially fan fiction. Marvel was my jam, so I would smash together heroes and villains on paper with crayons the way some people played with action figures.

The sad truth is that life was already horrifying enough, so reading everything I could get my hands on made time move a little quicker. But the more I read, the more I wanted to contribute. I always loved the idea that when you write, there's no one to blame for a bad story except yourself. There are no limits to what you're allowed to say. You get to choose any combination of words you'd like, and whatever you choose represents you. That is the most exciting thing I can imagine.

What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
Anything from cheesy sci fi to books on mythology to history texts. Anything that can tell a story is what I want to read. I'm not so big on biographies, or autobiographies.

What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
If there was a spectrum for plan or not, my needle would break the gauge for the plan side. In my series, The Black Pages, I plotted out the first five books before I finished the first. I wrote the ending of the series and put it in an envelope, and I have no idea how many books will come out. More than five for sure. I developed an entire comic book universe to play with and creating over forty characters, many of whom might not ever see the page. I know what happens in every chapter of the book by the time I start. Sometimes things might change a little bit here and there as I go, but I have a road map. Whether it's a 5,000 word short story or a novel, I plan it out completely.

How does your average writing time go?
I am someone who believes that writing is more than typing. Reading is also writing. Saying the story out loud is writing. Outlining is writing. Thinking is writing. So when I am in writing mode, I can be doing just about anything as long as I am aware that whatever it is I am doing is for the benefit of the story. I’ve taken long car rides to nowhere just to be able to tell my story out loud. I pretend I am telling someone else a story, and do that repeatedly until I hear the thing that sounds right to me.

By the time I sit down to type I know what I want to say and I’m focused.

What book/character of yours is your favourtie?
A series that I absolutely love right now has to the be the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. It draws some comparison to The Dresden Files, but what fantasy series doesn't these days? I'm sure my series will as well.

That said, my favorite characters are always the ones who are easy to underestimate but cam solve a problem by being brave, clever, and thoughtful. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a great, recent example of this. Newt is a great protagonist, but my favorite character was Queenie. I could read an entire series about her. When you meet her initially you're supposed to get the impression that she's not too bright. It couldn't be for her from the truth. In one of the most magic filled worlds, her biggest spell was for making dinner. Outside of that she accomplished everything by thinking it through, and she was willing to jump into battle if need be.

What attracted you to your chosen genre?
It was important for me to be able to tell a story that would influence people at a critical stage on their lives. When I first thought of the concept for my story, it had the very real potential to be a dark, adult tale. I chose to write to the young adult/new adult crowd because that's who needs the guidance that can come from story telling more than anyone.

The moral of my story is that everyone is equally important, not just who seems to be the coolest or who gets the most attention. You are the only one who can live your life, make your own choices, and the rest of the world needs you. It's a fine lesson for anyone, but for high school kids? Even college kids? That is when people are at their most vulnerable and they need to hear that they matter.

How have other writers influenced your own writing?
I'm a huge literary nerd, so in my experience after a while reading something by a particular author comes across as just another way of someone speaking. And in the same way that you can sound like any given friend of you spend too much time with them, writers can do the same thing to you. I make it a point to read far more than I write, but I try to take bits and pieces from their patterns, just enough to let it enhance my voice rather than becoming a parrot for whoever I was reading at the time.

Do you have a writing playlist? Or do you prefer silence?
Depends on the scene. I will listen to synth pop one minute, indie folk music the next, and then forest sounds and pan flutes the minute after that. Silence doesn't work for me, it just gives me a reason to get distracted.

What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
Dialogue. Any kind of conversation. Trying to put yourself in the place of two or more people at a time takes a bit of thinking, but when you are honest and thoughtful with how everyone would act and react in a situation, some of your best work can come out of that.

Book one of The Black Pages Elana Black has the power to make herself fictional. But when she decides to start saving all the people in books and TV shows who die just for the sake of advancing the plot, she quickly learns that she's not the only one with her powers. All Elana wants to do is save people. But these others don't want the stories to change, and they'll do everything they can to stop her. If you had the power to change fate... to create a happy ending where there wasn't one before... would you do it if it meant risking your own?

My Review: 5 stars
I love the synopsis of this book and was delighted to pick up a copy. It starteed brilliantly and pulled me in almost instantly. The story starts with Elana trying to avoid socialising by using her talent to jump into a fictional world. It's only when she wakes up in the real world that she realises that this time was different. The book was brilliant and I loved the whole idea. I loved the way the story was told and how it seemed to join up with various clues sprinkled in the pages. It was amazing and an excellent start to what looks to be a brilliant series. I will be watching this author for more books! Highly recommended!

You can follow Danny on Facebook.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


Day off because my lungs hate me today. Back to back nebs it is then! #brittleasthma #oxygenuser #chronicillnessproblems #chronicillness #spoonie #joeyslife #breathingisntoptional #flare

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Life of Joey - June 2017 [CC]


PRE-ORDER IT'S NOT ALWAYS RAINBOWS: http://amzn.to/2qVQqDG
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


Got my writing game on! Chapter 11 of the month here I come! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting

Monday, 12 June 2017

Writing Characters: Cat and Jayden



WRITING CHARACTERS: CAT & JAYDEN

With the book due out for release on June 30th, it seemed like a good idea for today's writing piece to be about what it was like for me to write both Cat, the main protagonist, and her best friend, Jayden from It's Not Always Rainbows. Which you can grab here for 99p before it goes up to the regular price of £2.99. Normally when I do these, I have some idea of what I'm going to put and how it's going to be structured. To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit of a mess today so we shall see how this goes.

I got the idea for It's Not Always Rainbows after a string of attacks in our local park. They were grisly and pretty bad, and I wondered if I could fit it into a story. I'd been playing around with the idea of writing an LGBTQ book mostly because as a bisexual teen, I didn't have stories to read about people like me. I wanted to focus on four teenagers, all of whom were on the LGBTQ rainbows, and all of whom would be affected by the attacks. And so my story was born. It is told from the point of view of Cat, who I'll talk about first.

CAT
Cat is sixteen, bi, and heading towards her GCSE exams that will signal the end of school. It's 2013, and while she's out, her parents aren't the most supportive people. They're pentecostal and very big on bible verses. Cat grew up religious, but she decided pretty early on that it wasn't for her. When the attacks start happening, Cat is, to a point, interested in who might be behind them. It's only when one of her online friends becomes the target that she starts to think seriously about finding out who these people are, and how to stop them.

Writing Cat was really enlightening for me. I'd grown up knowing I wasn't straight but not really know what I actually was. I came out when I was eighteen and finally had found a name for my feelings. Putting myself back into a teenage head and writing about the process of both trying to solve the crimes and trying to get her parents to see that there was, is and never will be, anything wrong with her and the people she chooses to love. I was wary of writing such a story for a number of reasons. One, my parents, while my mother is religious, had always been supportive of me and my sexuality. Two, I didn't want to write yet another "coming out" book. Three, I wanted it to be #ownvoices but I wasn't sure if it would be given that our circumstances were very different. And finally four, I didn't want it to feel like the only reaction to coming out is a negative one. I'm pretty confident that I managed that since the majority of Cat's story, told from her point of view, shows the many different ways people can react, as well as focusing primarily on the crime aspect of the story.

Now let's move on to the second character in the book, Jayden.

JAYDEN
Jayden is sixteen, a lesbian and a very timid and nervous character. She's black, living with Catholic parents. She is also very religious and her religion is an important part of her own identity. Jayden's voice was hard for me to get at first. I didn't want to keep her in the background when she had her own views and her own life. She hasn't told her parents about her sexuality for a number of reasons. She feels that they'd reject her given their cultural background, and also there's a part of her who wants to be okay with herself, her religion and her beliefs before she opens up to her family.

Jayden has some serious character growth throughout the story. And it was brilliant to write. I felt like she was coming alive before my eyes, and finally being confident in who she was, what she believed and who she would become when she grew up. It's actually Jayden who pushes Cat along to seeing what they can find out for themselves about the attacks in the park. Jayden goes from being timid and nervous, to being more outspoken about the things that matter to her. I loved writing Jayden because once I found her voice, I was able to dig deeper into the person she was.

So that's two of the main characters in my newest book. I'll see about writing a piece on Ahmed and Alex next week maybe. If you have any questions or wanna talk about It's Not Always Rainbows, as always, feel free to comment or get in touch!


Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. You can also sign up to her newsletter here.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Interview With Carol Ann Kauffman


Today I am delighted to be joined by the ever lovely Carol Ann Kauffman. Carol write all kinds of fiction and I'm so pleased to be able to interview her today. Here's a little about Carol.

Carol Ann Kauffman is the author of sixteen books to date, from short stories to full-length novels. Her novels, classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, and mysteries. They’re about life, love, loss, and lunacy. She is a retired teacher from a local school district in Ohio, where she taught for thirty-five years. She has worked as a printer, managed a department store office, worked as an insurance agent, and worked in the hardware and automotive departments of a large store. She was a Red Cross volunteer. Carol loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy and Aruba, which show up in her novels quite a bit. She loves to play Bridge and to garden. She grows African violets and orchids. Carol loves dachshunds and trains. She is the author of the Time After Time series, which follows a pair of lovers through their many lifetimes together, and the Cat Collier Mysteries, as well as holiday short stories with Books To Go Now Publishers. 

And onto the interview!

1 - What made you want to be a writer?
I never made the conscience decision TO BE a writer. I always wrote. As a child, reading and writing were part of my life. My mother was blind so my earliest recollection of childhood defiance was written so she never knew. My first college major was English Literature and Composition. But then I discovered you need to actually be able to support yourself when you graduate, so I switched to Education. I taught for 35 years.

2 - What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
I read everything I can lay my hands on, except scary stuff like zombies and bloody-gory stories, because I like to sleep. And I don’t read erotica and S+M stuff. By my bed right now is Michio Kaku’s Hyperspace and Jeanne Cooper’s Not Young, Still Restless. They are both outstanding and very enjoyable. But I think we can gain something from reading ANY book, even if it is just what not to do.

3 - What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
The first inspirations for a story are flashes of inspiration. But then, much planning goes into connecting these scenes into a whole, coherent story. I am known in my writer’s group as Queen of the Convoluted Plot.

4 - How does your average writing time go?
When I started seriously writing as an adult, I wrote at night. I wrote well into the wee morning hours. I did my best writing then and I loved it. When my husband retired, I had to change my writing schedule to fit into “normal” life, so now I write in the morning. I usually start between eight and nine a.m. and write until one or so. Then I review, add, subtract in the early evening for an hour or so. There is still the occassional night in the office, where time gets away from me.

5 - What book/character of yours is your favourtie?
The hero of my Time After Time series, Richard is my favorite. The series follows a pair of reincarnated lovers through their many lifetimes together, so Richard (Braedon, Andrew, Kenneth, Jason, Mark, and Derek) shows up in every book as the quintessential flawed, lovable male.

6 - If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
I have and DO write anywhere I am. We travel. I usually bring my laptop. But when we went on our second honeymoon, my husband asked me not to make it a working trip, so I brought nothing, not even a notebook. But in the middle of the night I came up with the inspiration for a new book. I ended up writing two pivotal scenes in Charming Deception secretly on my phone. I’ve written on a balcony in the Grand Cayman Islands, on the beach in Aruba, and curled up on a windowseat in Stresa, Italy, overlooking the beautiful Lago Maggiore.
Italy. If I could choose, it would be Italy. It is breathtakingly beautiful, the people have a joy of life, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the food is wonderful.

7 - What attracted you to your chosen genre?
I never chose it. I never gave it a thought. Do I have one? I don’t think so. I wrote what was bubbling (or seething) up inside me.

8 - How have other writers influenced your own writing?
M.C. Beaton (the author of the Agatha Raisin series, about a newly retired London publicist who moves to th Cotswolds to relax, and the Hamish MacBeth series, about a Scottish piliceman) has influenced me the most. Her stories are character driven and her plotlines are terrific. And fun. I also love Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich, who taught me reading a book should be like going on an adventure with a good friends.

9 - Do you prefer to type or hand write?
Type.

10 - Do you have a writing playlist? Or do you prefer silence?
I need quiet to write. But I like nature. I can write out on the deck, with the sound of the waterfalls and the birds.

11 - Do you have any hobbies?
I play bridge for the other side of my brain. I like to watch the ponies run at the racetrack.I love trains and go to train shows. You find some fascinating characters in those places. I have made quilts and afghans. We travel. I LOVE to garden and grow orchids and African violets, which suffer greatly from my travels. I paint in watercolors. I like to cook, and I like my own cooking because it’s not TOO (not too salty, not too spicy, not too bland) but hate baking because it is too much like chemistry.

12 - What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
Emotional. Gut-wretching, raw emotion.

13 - Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
Because my reincarnated lovers show up on other planets, I have branched out into Sci-fi! Also my new series, Cat Collier Mysteries, are short stories about a smalltown woman who opens her own detective agency. So, I’ve written contemporary fiction, romance, action, adventure, and mystery. What’s next? ?!?

14 - What does your writing space look like?
The sunlight streams into my office window in the morning and lights up my glass desk.There’s an old wooden desk behind it and I swivel between the two. I like everything at my fingertips, so keeping it looking neat is a challenge. Since my days as a teacher I have a weakness for organizing things in a binder. So I have a shelf-full of binders. I like the window view of the woods and sometimes deer playing or foraging. Lots of daydreaming takes place in the office as well as writing.

You can follow Carol here on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Making Connections [CC]


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Monday, 5 June 2017

From Joey's Instagram


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The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Fitting The Crime To Your Story


FITTING THE CRIME TO THE STORY
It's been something that I've been meaning to write about for a while. It's all very well and good to have some idea of what your plot should be, but there are times when you have the perfect crime in mind and then the plot doesn't fit. I'm nearing the end of both books I'm working on right now, and one of my current works in progress is an awesome example of this. When I planned the book, I thought robbery would be the best crime to fit the story I wanted to tell. Boy was I wrong! It was only as I started to write, started to get to know the characters and started to get into the story properly that I realised that the stakes had to be higher. There was no way a father would baulk at a robbery if his daughter were being threatened! That's not going to happen. So I had to change it, and I had to make sure that it fitted the narrative I wanted to tell.

The problem is that being a hybrid makes this easier. I plan to some extent with the majority of my books, and usually when I'm starting with a fresh load of new characters I plan extensively. My issue wasn't lack of planning, it was lack of knowing the characters, which is something a lot of writers fall into when they're starting out. So what's my reason? Simple, I'm of the group that characters can change the way a story is written. There are some very well known and very successful writers who would tell me that's silly because I created them and they are not real. It's something the writing circle is split on. I'm on the side that they get a life of their own, and I'm not on my own there either.

But what does this have to do with the crime fitting the story? Simple. In the book I was just talking about, I mentioned that I had planned - a heavily at that - to go one way with the crime and then realised that it wouldn't work. Could that have been fixed by doing heavy outlining? Probably yes, and if you're a first time writer I would heavily recommend that you do do a lot of outlining and planning because it's the best way to learn how your style of writing works. As someone who's been doing this a while and has always been a hybrid, I can tell you that writing is not easy and that having a plan to guide you is the best thing. As you grow into your own writing and planning style, then you'll have the knowledge and ability to determine what works or doesn't work for you.

So back to the subject at hand. How do you know when the crime you choose is going to fit? Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking and planning to get to that point, and sometimes you don't know until you're actually writing that scene. When I wanted Sai to be a robber, I didn't foresee that there would be implications that don't fit his character, nor do they fit the other characters in the story. So I had to up the ante and hope that from there I could pull together a story that did the characters justice.  That said, in another book I went for huge crime and realised that actually it didn't need to be that complicated. It could just be a simple drug deal gone wrong. It didn't need to be a conspiracy theory and it didn't fit either the story nor the characters. In fact it made it all seem rather silly.

So how do you know when your crime fits? I can give you some tips and see what you can work out from there. It may be that, like me, you don't know what the big crime is going to be until you're in the scene. It may also be that you know your characters well enough to know exactly what would make them cross the line from law abiding into the land of criminal activity.

#1 - KNOW THE STAKES
As I said, Sai being forced to commit burglaries is possible, but when his daughter's life in on the line, he's not going to be thinking about it. He's going to do it without thought, without fear, just do what needs to get done to keep is child safe. As any good parent would do. So when you're writing, know what's at stake and make sure that the crime you've chosen fits those stakes. There's no need to go high if you can manage with a bit of petty crime along the way.

#2 - KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS
There are always going to be those characters who actually wouldn't blink at killing someone or committing a heinous crime. They just don't care about the law and they're pretty happy to do what they want, when they want, and no matter about anyone getting hurt along the way. In that instance, you can go big, but on the other side of the scale you'll have someone who wouldn't even drive over the speed limit. It's about knowing where your character draws the line. Once you've found that line, work out what's on the other side of it.

And finally #3 - KEEP IT SIMPLE
There is not need for a convoluted plot where A steals from B who's planning to murder C and then ends up being responsible for the death of the free world. While these kind of plots have their place in fiction, you should really think about keeping it as simple as possible. Like knowing your characters and knowing the stakes, you need to make sure that it's something that you can follow without a map, diagram and time line for the reader to follow. If you make it too complicated then you're going to have confused, and angry, readers who have no idea what's going on.

So there we have it, my three tips of fitting the crime to your story. I've used all three of them numerous times before and I hope they are of some help to you. It might be that as you grow and evolve as a writer you find it easier to think up what fits the story and your characters. As always though, your mileage may vary. 

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Friday, 2 June 2017

Interview with Richard G. Lowe Jr and review.




I'm happy to be joined by Richard G. Lowe Jr. on the blog today for both an interview and a review of his book about being a successful indie author. Here's a little about Richard.

Richard Lowe Jr is a bestselling author who has published 63 books, ghostwritten 12 books, and produced several hundred articles for blogs and publications. He is the owner and senior writer of The Writing King, which provides services such as ghostwriting, book coaching, WordPress implementation, blogging and copywriting. Richard is also a SeniorLinkedIn Branding Specialist and has written over 150 LinkedIn profiles.

And onto the interview!

What made you want to be a writer?
When I was a child my mother believed in reading and decided I was going to regularly go to the library. She felt being exposed to books would help me in life. I didn't agree and screamed and cried all the way there. But when I got into the library I met the librarian, she must have been 20 or so, and had my first "crush". After that, I dragged my mother to the library every week, and read as many books as I could. At first I wanted to impress the librarian, but that faded away and was soon reading for myself.
I ran into the works of Isaac Asimov and he became my model for the perfect writer. I wanted to be just like him. I was perhaps 8 years old. I read every book by him I could find.
Life had a way of discouraging that goal, having to earn a living, support and family and such, so the dream faded. In 2013, I retired from my job of 20 years at Trader Joe's and began pursuing my dream. Since then I've written and published  64 books, ghostwritten 12, and written hundreds of blog articles. I've had one best seller.

What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
I like military history, especially World War II and Rome, and enjoy Science Fiction.

How does your average writing time go?
I write for 8 hours each day and promote for 4 to 6 hours a day. Each hour of writing consists of 45 minutes of actual writing using dictation, and 15 minutes of break time.

What book/character of yours is your favourtie?
I'm writing a science fiction novel, and the antagonist is a woman, Erika, who is completely amoral. She's interesting because she's completely focused on the goal, and she does whatever is needed to achieve it. She's kills at a moment's notice, manipulates, and is directly responsible for a genocide.

If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
I designed my writing space and it is perfect. Quiet, with the computer humming. Bookshelves to the right and rear, a wall of butterflies in front and crystal amethyst geodes to the left. Very soothing and full of power.

Do you prefer to type or hand write?
I dictate all my writing into the computer, then go back and edit it. Using dictation, I can write 10,000 words per day, ready to publish.

Do you have any hobbies?
I collect butterflies from all over the world, large crystals, and fantasy miniatures. I am also a belly dance and renaissance festival photographer.


Inside this book, I'm going to talk about how to research and a topic that sells, how to write your book, how to publish it and how to market yourself so people want to buy anything you create.

  • I explain how you need to research your topics so you don't spend time writing a book that no one wants to buy. Nothing is more frustrating than that.

  • Next, you'll learn how to write your book, so that your reader understands your message and appreciates what you've written.

  • Third, you'll learn how and where to publish your masterpiece in simple terms that are easy to understand.

  • Next, you'll learn how to form a network of dedicated fans who are not only interested in your work, but demand more books from you and share everything you write with their friends.
You'll learn all of this and more in the pages of this book.

My review: 4 Stars
This is a great book, very informative about getting started as a self-published author. Starting from scratch and as the title says, laying the foundation. My only critique and reasoning for giving it four stars is that it focuses more on non-fiction than fiction. For example, Lowe talks about releasing a lot of books in a short space of time, aiming for lower word count rather than full length novel, and in the world of fiction writing that just isn't an attainable goal. Otherwise the book is very helpful, packed with links and ideas that can help you get started on the journey. The advice is spot on, and the book is easy to read and flip through at a later date when you want a refresher course on a particular subject. It's well researched and spells things out for you in a easy to read manner. For that reason, I recommend it.

You can find Richard on his website here.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.