Saturday 29 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

My hair is all did and purple and short and awesome! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #hairdid

Friday 28 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @captainmaiel . . . "‪The Technology of Trailokya - Mirror Gates #KWilliamsAuthor‬ #authors #TheBlueHonorBlog #TheTrailokyaTrilogy #TheShadowSoul #BurningDown #kwilliams #authorkwilliams #bookstagram #booksšŸ“š #paranormal #darkfantasy"

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @nathaliemlromer

Keeping Track Of Characters In A Series [CC]


Interview With Emily Robertson and Review of Playing By The Rules

I am delighted to be joined on the blog today by author, Emily Robertson. I've been lucky enough to secure an interview and will be reviewing her book Playing By The Rules below. But first here's a little bit about Emily.

Emily Robertson loves to read as much as she likes to write. She's currently living in the DC area with her husband and kids, but that's always bound to change. She loves connecting with readers, so look her up on social medial or on her website.

And now the interview:

 1 - What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always loved expressing myself through writing.  I was that freak kid who didn’t mind doing the long papers in school.  In fact, I remember doing book reports during the summers at times.  Many years ago, I decided to start blogging.  I did my blog for many years before life got busy enough that I just needed to stop.  About three years ago, the bug bit me again, and here I am.

2 - What kind of books do you read for pleasure?

So, so many.  I love reading New Adult and Contemporary Romance the most, but I will venture out and read others too.  I have my go-to reads like Kelly Jamieson, Liliana Hart, Jasinda Wilder, Marie Force, etc.  I love finding new authors, though, and I will pick up random books that I find in a search or that I see mentioned.

3 - What kind of writer are you: plan or not?

I’m a total pantser.  I don’t really plot much.  Usually just when I think I have everything worked out, it all changes anyway.  I can’t even count the times I’ve plot twisted myself.  I remember once that my mouth was hanging open as I was typing, and when it was over, I hated it.  I deleted it, and I tried to write something else.  What I found was that I needed to keep the story how it had been told to me.  It wasn’t right when I changed it.

4 - How does your average writing time go?

I usually sit down and fire up Facebook.  An hour later I think, “Oh crap!  I need to work.”  I then will check my email and before I know it, another five minutes is gone.  After a quick message to my friend Megan, I usually start working.  I then can usually get a good few hours in before I have to go get my kids from school.  I know I might be able to get more done without the Facebook/email issues in the morning, but it works, so I keep it.

5 - What book/character of yours is your favourite?

I always hate to answer this one because it feels like I’m picking between my children.  In the Portwood Series, though, Jax is probably my favorite.  I’m married to a military guy myself, and his whole book is about him needing a distraction.  I wrote his book while my husband was deployed, so it was a much needed distraction for me. 

6 - If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?

Anywhere on a beach or someplace like that.  I just want nice weather, water, and sun.  If there just so happens to be a bartender named Rodger who brings me adult beverages while I’m working, I wouldn’t complain.

7 - What attracted you to your chosen genre?

I think everyone wants a happy ending.  Everyone wants that ending.  I love writing characters who are rough and don’t really want love, but it knocks them over.  There’s something about the dynamic about it all.

8 - How have other writers influenced your own writing?

The market is always changing.  The things readers love is always evolving.  When I see writers take a chance and see it pay off, it gives me hope.  When I see new authors break out and make a name for themselves, it pushes me to do better.

9 - Do you prefer to type or hand write?

Type all the way.  I’ve gotten fast enough with my typing that it’s hard to keep up if I’m hand writing.  I am looking into dictation, though.  That could be a game changer.  However, I think I’d still have to type the sex scenes.  Not sure I could say those out loud. 

10 - Do you have a writing playlist? Or do you prefer silence?

It depends on my mood.  Sometimes I like the silence, but I often write to music.  I find songs that go with the book I’m writing.  Usually something will play in a store or on the radio, and it will just click.  I will buy the song and put it on repeat so it fades to the back.  Sometimes if a scene is dragging, simply changing the music will make all the difference. 

11 - Do you have any hobbies?

I love to cook/bake, run, and I jumped on that adult coloring thing.  All do something different for me.  Cooking and baking make me feel good about doing something for someone.  I run to stay healthy and help a plot break through.  I will pick up my coloring when I just need to let my mind rest.

12 - What's your favourite kind of scene to write?

I love to write bits of my life into my books.  When something comes right from something that has happened to me or around me, that’s always fun.  I remember a long time ago my best friend and I had this huge discussion about the TV show Catfish.  It went on for like an hour.  I ended up using part of that in the book I’m writing now.  It’s always so fun to see if those people catch it as they read.

13 - Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?

I wouldn’t say no.  I’ve learned never to say no.  I’m not sure what I’d write, but if something came to me, I’d go for it.  I learned a long time ago, my muse is fickle.  I won’t try and force it to do something it doesn’t want to.

14 - What does your writing space look like?

I’ve recently moved so right now it’s a room with a bunch of boxes and junk everywhere.  When I finally get it finished, I hope it will have my desk with a chair in the room (because I can’t always write at my desk), some bookshelves to hold my favorite signed books, swag to giveaway, and books to sale.  I also hope to print out copies of my book covers to hang on the wall as art, and make a really cool dry erase board to write down ideas on.

Payton always had one rule she lived by, no boyfriends until after college. No one seemed to agree with her, even her own mother who had her at age sixteen. Returning to school after an accident that flipped Payton’s world upside down left her feeling out of control. Holding on to her rule seemed to be her only lifeline.

Josh had been letting the past rule his life for too long. Finally being at school, he’d become his own man, and he’d been putting all that behind him. Just when he thought he had it all put together, life got crazy. Not only did his ex show back up, but Josh also found he couldn’t get Payton Whitmore out of his head.

Once Josh convinces Payton to give him a shot, she’s so closed off that he wonders if it’s even worth it. Josh can tell there’s something special about Payton though, and as soon as he goes all in, he’s ready to show her that some rules are made to be broken.

My review: 5 stars
I'm a big lover of romance and I have to say this book pulled me in from the first page. I read it in one sitting, even going so far as to delay sleep until I got to the end. It was amazing and a brilliant read. The changing POV from Payton to Josh and all that went with that helped me lose myself in the pages and rooting for their story. The words flowed off the page and the setting was so beautifully described that I actually felt like I was there. An excellent read and very much recommended!

You can find Emily on Facebook, her website and Twitter. Or sign up to her newsletter.

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 27 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

It's been a while since I updated my #WIP photo, so here it is. The two books I'm currenttly working on. The top one is the sequel to #LightsOut and the second in what will be a trilogy. The bottom is the first book in my new series #CrampingChronicles. I'm hoping that both will be done in a few months, past the 50% mark and going strong! Today is a LO day so onwards with the chapter #beingawriter #joeywrites #authorslife #authorsofinstagram #authorsofig #writerslife #writersofinstagram #writersofig #amwriting #indieauthor #worksinprogress #youngadultbooks #bonuschapters #jowrimogo

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @authorrachelhobbs . . . "Check out my ongoing novella, Garden Feud, on #Wattpad. Link in bio!"

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @staceybroadbent . . . "Releases April 26th!"

Wednesday 26 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @lilianoake . . . "My first box of books! #Nahtaia is available to go home! #fantasy #adventure #writerslife #writer #authorsofinstagram #author #readingisfun #readers #books #bookstagram #litchat #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #momblogger #momblog #parenthood #motherhood #parenting #momlife #kidslife #reader #readerlife #bookworm #booktube #bookblast"

Tuesday 25 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @catchnaomi . . . "Story Spotlight: A Tale of Magic and Sorrow by Lee Hayton. Check out my post about this great story. #phoenixprime #bookstagram #indieauthor #writersoļ¬nstagram"

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via . . . "PHOENIX (2nd Edition) Coming Soon. ARC copies available this March. #bookish #authorsofinstagram #magic #magically #magi #royal #elemental #series #phoenix #bookstagram #youngadult #blogger #booklover #fantasy #author #bibliophile #bookworm #books #avidreader #likesforlikes #booknerdigans #igreads #ireadya #synopsis"

Monday 24 April 2017

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Making The Dots Join Up


As a kid, I loved me a good crime novel. My first adult book was Hot Money by Dick Francis. I listened to it on tape so many times that it was almost constantly in my walkman as I cycled around town. Once I got a little older, I branched out into reading crime novels. I'm talking Harlan Coben, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and then later, Sue Grafton. I loved them! Like really loved them and it wasn't just the dark side of it all, but the way they were presenting me with puzzles, where the final picture was known but how they connected together wasn't. I loved trying to work out whodunnit and looking for clues along the way. It followed me into my writing life when after finally finishing The Friendship Triangle, I went to work with Blackout and wrote my first mystery novel. After that I was hooked on thinking up new and interesting ways to make that puzzle and fit the pieces together.

I have never really been a visual person. I much prefer making connections in word form rather than in looking at a picture to garner how everything draws together. So I paint my own pictures in my words and they allow me to run a film clip of what I see happening through my mind. However, if I can't make that connection with the words, then no such clip appears. So when I'm writing, and planning I want to be sure that it's the words that build the picture rather than relying on my own imagination. If I can't do it with the words on the page, then how can I expect the reader - who won't have access to my imagination - to make those same connections. I can not control how someone views my book in their mind as they read, and nor do I want to. But I can control the information they're given access to.

I've always been someone who plans a lot while at the same time doesn't rely on their plans too much when it comes to actually writing. Take for example the Dying Thoughts books. Having finished the series I can look back on those final books and smile because I knew the world so well, that my need to plan was left somewhat at the wayside. I knew how Tara would react and all I needed was a plot that I could weave through the words. Yet now I'm at a point where I'm writing both a brand new series and the second in what will likely be a trilogy. I no longer have that intimate knowledge of my characters. On some level I do. I know how Lock will react to a point, but at the same time, having lived in Tara's world for fifteen years, and lived in Lock's for just over one, it's a big change to suddenly be making choices for her. With my brand new series, it's even harder because I'm just discovering these characters and with that discover comes the plot that I've had to stop and plan more.

My point is that part of being a crime writer is there needs to be a stage in the story when things start to become clearer. When the main character(s) are looking at each other and pointing fingers, joining up the dots. Oh yes, there should be some level of that all the way through the book. After all that's the point, that's the plot of the story, but about 70-75% into the story, you should be starting to have some serious suspects. It was that that always drew me to crime and mystery because you would spend the whole book wondering and reading and greeting every characters with suspicion and sometimes it was only later, once the climax and big reveal happened that you were able to see the dots for what they. They were spread through the pages and sometimes you'd spot them and think: how does that fit in? But sometimes you wouldn't.

It was a source of great pride to me that people who read Blackout never seemed to guess the ending. I love that part of writing and I especially love that part of writing the books that I do. A way to twist and turn the reader around until they're never quite sure what's a red herring and what's actually a big sign pointing to the bad guy. It's something I always admired in other crime writers. As I said above, I read...well Hot Money so many times (I even went so far as to buy the unabridged on tape and still have it on my bookshelf!) and yet every time I did it, I spotted something new. Some new piece of the puzzle that had escaped my attention. And even though I know the story well enough now I still love re-reading or listening to it. It's the same for me with the other crimes writers who I will happily buy and read whatever they write because they tell a good story.

As I write more and more, I realise that while I may not be an overly visual person, nor an overly visual writer, but I do love connecting the dots. I love the whole process of it and I love reading reviews when the reader hasn't been able to spoil the ending for themselves. It's one of the reasons why finishing a book for me brings with it a rush of adrenaline and a nice high feeling because not only did I write a whole book, but I completed the puzzle. And who doesn't love completing a puzzle?

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

Sunday 23 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @susanne.leist . . . "Finally on instagram! #thedeadgame #thriller #summerread"

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @mackenzieflohr . . . "The Rite begins today… “The Rite of Wands” by Mackenzie Flohr. Available in paperback and eBook at booksellers everywhere, including: Amazon: Barnes & Noble:  Waterstones: #YA #Fantasy #Fantasybooks #ComingOfAge #SwordAndSorcery #Reading #Books #MustRead #Indigo #Paperback #Kindle #Nook"

Saturday 22 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

Getting some writing done in bed. Seems I do better on my tablet right now! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #bonuschapters #writersofinstagram #writesofig #authosofig #ilovewriting

Friday 21 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

#regram via @susieqwriter . . . "I thought I join the 21st-century, and actually start a street team! If you're interested in becoming one of my Cruise Captains to help promote the Royals of Solana series, sign up here (more details to come) #readerfans #lovethetropics #livelikeroyals #romance #suspense #freegoodies"

Interview with Tom Fallwell and Review of The Shadow Of Narwyrm

I'm pleased to be welcoming Tom Fallwell to the blog today for both an interview and a review of his book - The Shadow Of Narwyrm. Here's a little bit about Tom:

Tom Fallwell, early in his life, found a love for the wonderful escape into realms undreamed of through books of Fantasy and Science-Fiction. Weaned on some of the greats, like J.R.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, Robert A. Heinlein, Michael Moorcock, just to name a few, Tom's imagination was forever inspired by those marvellous tales.

One day, he discovered a simple book of rules called Chainmail, by Gary Gygax, and found a new love. The love of creating adventures and stories of his own. Chainmail evolved into Dungeons & Dragons, and Tom played consistently with friends as both a player and a dungeon master (DM). Such activities developed his ability to create worlds and stories for other players to enjoy.

Now retired from his long career as a software developer, Tom began to write all the adventures and characters that seem to constantly fill his mind and share them with the world. 

And onto the interview:

What made you want to be a writer?
Since I was introduced to Role-Playing Games, many years ago, I've found a love of creating characters and stories, but until recently I'd never had the time to actually write. Now that I've started writing, I don't think I'll ever look back. This is what I truly love to do, tell stories.

What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
I started out as a panster, just writing and letting it flow, but after a time I found I started to do more plotting and planning. Still, while I do have a plan, I may not always stick to it, as I enjoy letting the story play out before me while I simply write down what I'm experiencing and seeing in my mind.

What book/character of yours is your favourite?
I'm sure that will change, but at this time I would say book #3, The Shadow of Narwyrm, of my Rangers of Laerean series is my favorite. The MC of that series, Baric is definitely my favorite character, though I like a lot of them almost as much. I really enjoyed writing this epic conclusion to my trilogy.

What attracted you to your chosen genre?
I don't have a specific chosen genre, more like a few genres. I've always been an avid fan of fantasy and science-fiction, from an early age. Lately, I've been finding a great love for a blend of both called science-fantasy, or scifan. I can't really say any one thing attracted me to these genres. It was many things, but I guess, perhaps, the most prevalent would be imagination and creativity.

How have other writers influenced your own writing?
Many authors, such have influenced me by inspiring in me the desire to build complete new worlds. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, Frank Herbert, and Roger Zelazny, just to name a few. The worlds they created are a great source of inspiration for me to create my own worlds.

Do you prefer to type or hand write?
I prefer typing in MS Word, as my handwriting is terrible. So much so, that I can barely read it myself. :)

What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
There are two types of scenes I really like to write and feel that I shine the most in. Action scenes and emotional scenes. Both make me feel like I just did what I wrote for real. Sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilarating.

Baric has already failed once to stop the horror of the dragon, Doomrage, who continues his attacks against the people of Hir from the realm of shadows. Baric and his new found companion, Ramura, the Lord of the Lions, must journey to find an artifact of great power created by an ancient race from a previous era of Hir.

Still hoping to save the soul of his lost love, Whisper, from the monster's shadowy prison, Baric doesn't realize that Doomrage now has full control and has sent Whisper's simulacrum to slay the very man in whom she once placed her hope, and the deadly assassin now tracks the Rangers on their quest to find the ancient relic they need to defeat the equally ancient dragon.

The world of Hir now stands on the brink of war with the demonic Manenase and their massive horde of Morok minions. The armies of the civilized races of Hir come together and gather to meet this threat from the Great Divide, as Baric, Ramura and the Zumarian, Sainsha, journey to the haunted Ghost Swamp to find the lost Amulet of Thiranor, which holds the key to stopping Doomrage, once and for all.

In the epic conclusion to the Shadows Trilogy of the Rangers of Laerean series, much lore from the ancient past is learned, and the history of the ancient magical creatures known as the Mythica is discovered, while the shadow of the great Dragon Spirit, Narwyrm, looms over them all.
My Review: 5 stars
I've never been one to read a lot of fantasy, but when I came across this book, the blurb enticed me enough to make me want to give it a read. Normally with series books I would read them in order, and I was a little worried that I would find I was missing important information, but while there is backstory in the previous books the book itself stands somewhat alone. Any important information needed is included, which is a big plus. I enjoyed the book and found myself transported to the mythical place of Hir where wondrous characters are fighting to save their home, their lives and the lives of the creatures and people around them. The rangers of Laerean are ones to be admired and sought after. The book had me hooked from the first chapter and I settled myself in to read it almost in one sitting! It was beautifully crafted and allowed me to lose myself in the pages. Very much enjoyed!

You can find Tom here on Facebook, his webiste and Goodreads

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.

Questions From Readers - April 2017 [CC]


Tuesday 18 April 2017

Cover Reveal - Sweet Destiny - Janet A. Mota

~*~*~*COVER REVEAL~*~*~*

Sweet Destiny

By: Janet A. Mota

Cover by Nick Shoemaker at ALd Photography & Design


Release Date: May 16, 2017

Ashley and Drake meet and sparks fly immediately.  There’s an instant connection and they feel they could be more.  Their relationship gets stronger and it’s time to meet the families.  Amber has a jealous sister who needs a reality check and Drake’s mother will stop at nothing to break them up.  A crazy ex-girlfriend is added to the mix and Ashley starts to rethink her whole relationship with Drake.   They have some battles to overcome but will love win?

Instagram: janetmota1015
Twitter:  @authorjanetmota

Monday 17 April 2017

From Joey's Instagram

And a writing day has begun with new clothes to show off. Off to write this chapter! #beingawriter #joeywrites #indieauthor #writerlife #authorsofinstagram #authorslife #joeyisanauthor #awesome #youngadultbooks #amwriting #jowrimogo #authosofig #writesofig #writersofinstagram #ilovewriting 

via Instagram

The Trials Of An Indie Author: When You Want To Give Up


This is something I've been meaning to talk about for a long while. It's been on my to-do list for writing advice for months and I've always picked something else to write about. But today, having had a bad few weeks, it seem prudent to cover a topic that I'm sure crosses a lot of writer's minds, and not just mine. It's something that isn't talked about much, probably because it's seen as attention seeking or worse, admitting failure, but it's something that I'm going to cover today. And that is that there will be days, weeks, even months, when you look at what you're doing and ask yourself if it's time to throw in the towel.

I have been writing since I was nineteen years old...scratch that I have been writing as a career since I was nineteen years old. I was first published at twenty-three and then my career really kicked off when I was twenty-nine. I'm now thirty-five. I have been published for almost twelve years and I have been writing as a career for almost sixteen. Along the way I've had moments of doubts, of course I have, and there have been times in those sixteen years when I have not written. The majority of my time at university I didn't write, despite having books out and published. I didn't write because my focus was on getting the books I had written out there in the world. I also found it hard to juggle writing and being a student when so much of one took too much energy from me to manage the other. It was only in my final two years at university that I was able to both write and study and even then some days it was a big struggle.

But one thing that has always remained true is that writing itself is an escape, it's fun, it's something I look forward to, something I find pleasure in doing. When everything else has gone wrong, I can always find myself in my work. I know how lucky I am to be able to have a job that always makes me smile and allows me to do what I love and get paid for it. The writing part is never a chore and never something I dread. But yet there are times when I feel like throwing in the towel. When I feel like all of this work is too much for me, all of the ups and downs of being an indie author are out of my reach and that I am sinking in a pool and no one can see me.

My hopes and dreams as an author are simple: Write books and stories that I have to tell. I don't look for celebrity status and I don't yearn to be the next J K Rowling, and maybe that's where I get lost along the way, but I know one thing for certain. I have to tell these stories. No one else will, no one else can. They are my stories and I need to tell them. And yet there are still days when I find myself looking at the open document and thinking: "Can I really do this again? Can I really finish another book? And publish it and do all of that that goes with publishing it?" The majority of the time, the answer is a resounding yes, but yet there are days when that small voice says to me: No, you can't.

As someone who has multiple conditions that inhibit my life, as someone who also has mental health issues, I can't tell you how hard it is sometimes to remind myself that I am doing something I love. That I am doing something I want to do and that I am doing it to the best of my ability. And sometimes it's not good enough. Sometimes it doesn't get me massive amounts of sales and it doesn't get me to the goals I have set myself, but the thing I have to remind myself is - it takes as long as it takes. I may not be a best seller, but I am further along than I was a year ago. I have written sixteen books with another two underway, and I will soon have eleven of those books published, out and on people's bookshelves. I may never be a big name, but I am doing something I love, and I am doing it well.

In the indie world, it's a well known fact that the market is saturated with books. It's one part of being indie is knowing that anyone can publish a book, whether it does any good is down to so many factors that sometimes my head spins. Getting your voice heard over the crowd of people all saying the same thing is no easy task and it's not one I've accomplished that well, but the point I'm trying to make is, that you have to keep going. Even on the days when it feels like all you do are the wrong things, and the mistakes you make are ones that have you still, years later, trying to undo, you have to keep going. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, grab your megaphone and keep doing what you're doing, keep going along that path. It's hard. It's not easy by any defintion of the word and yeah, it sucks at times. But if you don't keep going, if you do throw in the towel and let your hard work fall by the wayside. You stop.

You stop having a job where you get up in the more just to create. You stop being the person who wrote this book and that book. You stop being the author that you so wanted to be. You stop creating. And you let the gremlin win. I don't want to be in a world where I don't wake up every morning and think about what my characters are going to be put through today. I don't want to stop. I don't want to stop being the author I am. Yes, it's hard and yes there are days when I am so ready to throw in the towel. There are weeks when I curse my choices and my job and everything along the way. But I also remember that I am an author. I am a writer. No matter what I choose to do with my day, I have stories to tell, stories that no one else can tell because they are mine and mine alone.

I am many things, I am disabled, I am bisexual, I am a wheelchair user and I do so many things, but I am also a writer. And when I want to give up, I remind myself of where I was, where I am, and where I am going to be. And that to get there, I have to keep going.

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

Friday 14 April 2017

Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager

I'm joined today by the every loving Krysten Lindsay Hager, a fellow young adult author, for an interview. She has written amazing fiction and here's a little bit about her.

Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton. 

And now onto the interview:

 1 - What made you want to be a writer?
I always liked creating stories as a kid and I used to pay attention to the soap operas my mom had on during lunch time. Then I’d go and act out the way I thought the storylines should go with my dolls. I hated when they kept a couple apart for a long time, so I always had the couple I wanted get back together. I remember playing with a friend and saying I wanted my Ken to break up with one of the Barbies because he belonged with this other one and I’ll never forget it—she must have been 5 years old and she suggested we use my Barbie corvette to run the other doll over. I suggested we go another route. I wonder where that girl is today….

2 - What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
I love biographies and memoirs. I read a lot of YA, MG, and women’s fiction and I have a thing for the non-fiction section. I just finished reading a YA version of Northanger Abbey by Rosie Rushton. It was my escape from reality.

3 - What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
I don’t plan out much, but I do have two different series (the Landry’s True Colors Series and the Star Series) and I’m working on a sequel to Dating the It Guy, so I do need to know where I’m going with a storyline that way.

4 - What book/character of yours is your favourite?
Landry in Like is one of my favorite books because of the journey Landry goes on of discovering who she is and that’s she’s okay with being more introverted than her best friend who is going off to teen dances and the cheer squad. My favorite character is Emme from Dating the It Guy because I enjoy writing from her perspective and her sense of humor.

5 - If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
A cute little cottage in England. Ever see George Michael’s house on the river? Beautiful backyard overlooking the Thames. I would have been very happy there.

6 - What attracted you to your chosen genre?
I turned to YA books when I was a preteen to help me feel less alone in the world. I remember being on my bed after closing a book and thinking that being a YA writer must be the best job in the whole world—and it is!

7 - Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
I have written middle grade as well as young adult and I’m working on new adult and women’s fiction as well. I read all different genres and I sometimes want to write from the perspective of an older character who is dealing with different issues.

You can find Krysten here on Facebook or on her website.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for an interview, review or guest blog. If you'd be interested in doing one of the above, you can contact Joey here.

Life Of Joey - April 2017 [CC]


Monday 10 April 2017

Spoonie Writer: Setbacks Happen


I had a bunch of stuff planned for today. I had a bunch of stuff planned for the week actually, and last week too. I do a big thing at the beginning of the month where I write down everything that needs to happen. You all know this, I've talked about it enough. I also do sticky notes for one thing every day, though some days are better than others and I get more than one thing done. Feels great and I get to tick it off and move onto the next thing. It's all good, right? And then I have days or weeks like I'm having right now. When I end up having to add today's work to tomorrow and move everything back a day. Some things, like Monday blog posts, and Friday interviews and the writing vlogs I do four times a month, they don't and can't be moved. I'm setting a schedule and I'm gonna stick to it as much as I can. So some things can't be moved, but the things that can? They're usually the things I really wanted to be doing. Like say, writing.

However, I've been a spoonie longer than I've been an adult, and a writer, and so I've learnt that there will be days when I just can't. And on those days I need to remember to be both kind to myself and to realise that just because it didn't happen *today* doesn't mean it will *never* happen. That chapter I'm supposed to be writing today? It'll get written tomorrow. The video I wanted to record, that'll be done Wednesday and the captions will be done on Thursday. It all will happen, just not today. I think it makes a lot of sense to be writing this blog piece today because I've had a hell of a few weeks. Along with anaemia and iron issue as well as the saga of my lumpy finger, I've just been flaring and stressed to the max. On top of that I've really not been writing all that much and it does bother me more than it should.

One of the things I try to remember is that I do get stuff done. One of the problems of being an indie author is that everything is done through me, by me or for me. I'm the final say on everything and that's a heavy load to carry. However, I do have help. I have my best friend who'll do a spot of this or that on days when I want to get stuff done but just can't manage it. Recently in fact, I had a bit of a moment when I realised that one of the books about to come out this summer had an obvious, like REALLY obvious issue. My problem was I didn't know if it was my nerves talking or if I spotted it because I, you know, wrote the thing. She settled down to read it and then went through it with me. So I do have support and I do have other friends who have worked as editors, graphic designers and video editors among other things. My problem isn't that I have too much to do, it's that the energy I do have is so limited that I get a little overwhelmed.

And it is easily to get overwhelmed. It's also easy to get to a point where you start to wonder if it's even worth calling yourself a "writer" when you spend the majority of the day seemingly *not* writing. I try to give myself a break. I am doing what I wanted to do. I am writing. Whether it's a blog post or a book, it's still writing, and still committing to my day job as it were. As someone who's always been harder on myself than maybe I should be, it's easy to forget the simple stuff. My body is sick, therefore I will need days to take care of those needs and doing so does not mean I have failed in my day. I've still done something productive in that I have moved forward. Even if it's not something that can be measured in words, pages and chapters, it's still something important.

So, as one spoonie to another, be kind to yourself and remember that there will be days when you just can't. And that's okay. Even if that day becomes a week, it's still okay. You as the writer, you come first. Chasing the words and the stories is a big part of your job, but you come first and it's important to remember that setbacks happen. And that, as my good friend once told me, it takes as long as it takes.

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Friday 7 April 2017

Working With Criticism [CC]


Interview with Jane E James and Review of The Crying Boy

I'm thrilled to be welcoming Jane E James to the blog today for an interview and a review of her latest book - The Crying Boy. Jane is a fellow #DarkerSideOfFiction2017 author and will be in Peterborough in October with me and other authors who love that dark side when writing. Here's a little about Jane:

 Mystery and suspense writer Jane E James comes from an editorial and marketing background and when she isn't being mysterious, like her books, she enjoys living the 'good life' in the countryside with her husband and Jack Russell Terrier. Jane went back to night school in London at the age of 40 to do a diploma in creative writing and previously worked as a reporter for the local press.
She has always been more interested in dark, disturbing subjects and finds damaged & dysfunctional people far more intriguing than ordinary, everyday characters, especially unreliable narrators who never let truth get in the way of a good story.
She can mostly be found with her head in a book or writing at her desk, with her dog curled up at her feet. Rebecca, Carrie, The Woman in Black and Wuthering Heights are among some of her favourite reads. Inspired by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King, she loves a good creepy read or atmospheric ghost story

And the interview:

Q - What made you want to be a writer?
A. I first fell in love with writing when I came across The Secret Garden, which for a child’s book is incredibly dark. The secluded house and the secrecy of its occupants awoke something in me that made me put my pony club books down for good and take up pen and paper. From then on, I would scribble away whenever I could, but my dark stories worried both my parents and my teachers. I didn’t come from a bookish family, you see. In fact, my parents owned a fish chop and thought paper was wasted on anything other than for wrapping chips in.  Like many other authors, I don’t choose to write – I simply don’t feel I have any say in the matter. It’s my passion.

Q - What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
A - I love mystery, psychological thrillers and dark fiction. I especially like anything that is atmospheric and spooky but I do read all genres. I recently read Caitlin Moran’s How To Build A Girl and it made me laugh out loud, even though it’s not usually the type of book I would choose. My favourite all time reads are Rebecca, Woman in Black and Wuthering Heights or anything with a Hitchcock feel. Naturally I have a crush on Stephen King but who doesn’t? Mostly I fall in love with the books others love to hate – such as Gone Girl and Girl on The Train; but I also like historical fiction and I will read anything by Philippa Gregory. I’m also quite partial to a Catherine Cookson!

Q - What book/character of yours is your favourite?
It’s got to be Hazel Ladd from my 1st novel The Long Weekend. She’s an incredibly unlikeable and unreliable narrator who has spent her life hiding the love she feels for one of her daughters and disguising the hate she feels for the other. She is a deeply complex and troubled woman who starts to lose her grip on reality, putting her family’s lives in danger. You certainly wouldn’t want her as a mother, wife or best friend!

Q - If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
A. I can’t think of anywhere nicer than my own study in my little cottage in Cambridgeshire. We are lucky enough to live in the countryside and it’s lovely in the summer but bleak in the winter. Even so, I love watching the changing seasons from my window. I get to see lots of birds, deer, squirrels, rabbits and the odd fox pass by.

Q - Do you have any hobbies?
A. I grew up around horses and used to go to pony club and gymkhanas. For most of my young life I was obsessed by horses but I had a bad riding accident some years ago and I fractured my coccyx as a result so it is unlikely I will be able to ride again. Then again, having grown up around all kinds of farm animals, I’m crazy about most animals and can even milk a goat! Up until a few years ago we had six dogs but sadly most have now passed away and we are left with one old soldier – a deaf and partially blind Jack Russell Terrier named Fury.  I lost his dad a couple of months ago and I still can’t bear to bring myself to think about it. Aside from writing and reading, I do enjoy cooking and listening to classical music and I love to travel (not so keen on flying though). Hubby and I are also keen on Formula 1 and camp out at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix most years.

Q - What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
A. Ooh anything spooky and atmospheric. I’m a descriptive writer, which means I love to describe creepy old houses and settings in my thirst for suspense. I get to explore them in real life too as I love walking along deserted coastlines or tramping through isolated woodland or on the moor. I usually have to fall in love with a place or location before I write about it and that’s happened with both my novels. I chose the bleak wintry Norfolk coastline for The Long Weekend and the isolated west Yorkshire moors for The Crying Boy.

Q - Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
A. Perhaps. I have another three books to write in the mystery, suspense, thriller genre and then I might try my hand at something else. I have a couple of ideas that lean more towards contemporary women’s/literary fiction that I would like to develop at some stage, but I’m not sure how confident I feel about it yet. We’ll have to wait and see.

Q - What does your writing space look like?
A. Interestingly enough, my workspace had a complete makeover last year and at first I wasn’t sure how easily I would settle in to my transformed contemporary-styled study. It used to be a bit of shambles with grubby pine furniture, mood boards and knick-knacks everywhere – but now it has dove grey walls and is kitted out in trendy white Ikea furniture.  Its more me than I imagined, probably because I still have a dog curled up at my feet, and I’m completely committed to keeping my work space tidy these days. I do still have the odd little keepsake to keep me company – such as The Crying Boy portrait of course, who looks down on me as I work.

Clayton and Avril Shaw have lost their little boy and are still grieving when they move into Swallow’s Nest on the Yorkshire moors.
In their new house Avril discovers a painting and is intrigued by the history surrounding it. When she learns that the boy in the painting was deaf, like her dead son, she starts to try and communicate with his ghost.
Meanwhile, Clayton finds himself entangled in an equally undesirable friendship with a retired fire chief who knows more about the painting than he is prepared to let on.
Is The Crying Boy painting cursed and can numerous house fires be linked to it?
Struggling with their unstable marriage, the couple find themselves in further danger as an increasingly disturbing bond develops between Avril and The Crying Boy.
In a twist of events Avril’s irrational behaviour is brought to a dramatic halt when she discovers she is pregnant. With her affections once again restored for Clayton, she decides to dispose of the sinister portrait. But the cast off painting wants revenge and its anger towards Avril’s unborn child might just prove immeasurable.
Can Avril and Clayton live happily ever after or does The Crying Boy have other plans? 

My Review: 5 stars
WOW! I've not read anything from this author before, but picked up this one on pre-order as it sounded very tantalising as far as darker books go. It was AMAZING! The story starts with a couple moving into a new home on the Yorkshire moors, but yet a strange painting that bears a resemblance to their recently deceased child hidden away in the attic is the centre of a scary curse. With Avril feeling the loss of her son and her husband, Clay drifted away from her the couple are thrown in at the deep end. I was addicted to turning the pages, wanting to make sure that I read as much of it as I could. It was dark, terrifying and so so very good! Brilliantly written and a masterpiece. This is one author I will be keeping a close eye on, because she writes amazing books!

You can follow Jane on Faecbook, Twitter or her website.

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