Tuesday, 12 November 2019

#TeaserTuesday



Tara has never gotten used to seeing death, especially in places she never expected them...



[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A graphic with sunflowers on a green background. Small text at the top: Out Now in Paperback & eBook, with the title: Dying Thoughts - Third Wish. The excerpt reads:

She probably learnt to sleep through medications like this one. Except this was different, the person delivering the medication was not a nurse, nor were they a doctor. They wore black and I couldn’t see their face, but I had a feeling something wasn’t right.
May gasped as the medication hit her system and then as if by magic, she drew her last breath and died.


END ID]

Monday, 11 November 2019

Why I Hate Editing - The After Process


WHY I HATE EDITING

This is something I've been asked a lot, both here and in my other social media platforms. I'm an author of sixteen books published and another ten finished, or more, I keep losing count. But anyway, I'm an author, and I obviously go through an extensive editing process, so why do I always say that I hate editing? It's not that I don't do it, I have betas and then onto my editing team which comprises of a developmental editor, a line editor and a proof-reader, so I do go through the process, but what makes me hate it so much?

Glad you asked, because I'm going to go into a little bit more detail today about why I dislike that side of the writing process and basically, what I've done about it since I first realised. I'll try and break it into points, but I'm not one hundred percent sure that'll work, so we'll see how it goes!

#1 - I LOVE DISCOVERING NEW PARTS TO MY STORY

This can be linked back to me being a planster or a hybrid, though I tend to lean more to the panster side than anything else. Alexa Donne calls this 'discovery writing' and I adore it! I love drafting, I love sitting down at the keyboard and banging out the words and learning the story as I go. I know it doesn't work for everyone, and that's okay, but my process is one that thrives without too much confinement. And when it comes to editing that project, I realise just how much I dislike having to pull it apart.

I know that it's for the best, I know that it's a necessary part of writing and publishing, but I loathe it. It makes me anxious and unsure. Imposter syndrome comes in and sits on my shoulder while I read, and while I do edit as I go, I find that leaving that drafting stage where literally anything can happen, just doesn't appeal to me. I still go through it, but I don't enjoy it the same way that I do drafting.

#2 - STRESS AND ANXIETY DON'T DO WELL
As I said above, I find that imposter syndrome pops up a lot when I'm editing. Either as a voice saying that even though I thought that chapter/scene/whatever was good, my editors won't. It's an internal battle and I actually really struggle with it. I know that I will get through it and I have some tricks of my own to make sure that I don't get lost in the pit of despair, but it's something that I really find hard to do. And that's another reason to hate the process that puts me in that place.

#3 - DEADLINES ARE HARD FOR ME

I've mentioned this before, but as someone who's chronically ill and has limited energy, meeting deadlines is hard. I am also highly anxious about them. I love the release process, but that first step, the editing of my work, sometimes knocks me for six. Especially when things go wrong along the way. Like this year, my editing team kinda fell apart. I had one editor who was both developmental and line, and then a proofreader. Due to health issues, my editor had to bow out. The problem was, this was in the middle of edits. I had to scramble to find someone who could both help, and meet those deadlines. It didn't help that I was already stressed out because of three books in one year, but it just made life extremely hard for me.

Now you could argue that since I have a whole new team in place, it's likely that I'll have a smoother release year in 2020, and I'd agree with you, but that doesn't change the fact that deadlines, especially when they're hard deadlines that can't be changed, adds to my work load and makes it hard for me to focus. I've always been like that, always been unable to manage to meet deadlines. If it's just myself I'm relying on, I have the control about what happens when, but when I hand my book over to someone else, I have to rely on them and I know the possibility of outside factors having an impact on them.

Overall, it's basically just a high stress time for me.

And finally, #4 - EDITS REQUIRE A LOT OF ENERGY
I've touched on this with points two and three, but editing is a hard process. I know a lot of writers who hate the drafting stage, but love edits and revisions. I also know people like me who struggle with them. It's not a case of not wanting to do them, or thinking they're unnecessary, it's just the way we work. And that's okay. I don't always have the energy to go through edits, but that's when the deadlines come into play and I find myself pushing to meet them, even when I should probably rest up.

So there we have it, my reasoning for why I hate editing. It's very much a necessary part of the process, but having learned from my mistakes, I won't ever be releasing more than two books a year again. I am simply not built for doing rapid release or anything above the two. And even then, they take a lot out of me. I know that releases themselves take a lot out of most authors, but that's a piece for another day!


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

Friday, 8 November 2019

Review Of Squad Goals: Hot By Halloween by Jessica Bucher & M. F Lorson

Summer may be over, but she’s ready to bring the heat.

When her boyfriend shattered her universe last spring, Addy convinced herself that if only she were a little hotter, then she could have kept him. Which is why her senior year goal is to get revenge.

Step one: Join the swim team and get seriously fit.
Step two: Find some gorgeous new arm candy to take to ex’s big Halloween party and make him crazy with jealousy.
Step three: Try not to fall super hard for said arm candy.

Gray Turner is a California transplant with goals of his own: get the swim team to regionals, get the scholarship he needs, and get out of this town. Too bad some girl with zero swim skills just joined the team. Private lessons seem like a good idea...until lessons start to feel like something more.

Addy and Gray started the season with specific plans, but falling for one another wasn’t one of them.

My Review: 5 stars
I picked this up for a light-hearted read and I was not disappointed. The story is engaging from the first page and you find yourself drawn into it to the point where you forget about sleep and other such things. I loved Addy, the way she threw herself into things and wasn't about to give up no matter what. Gray was an awesome character, filled with that need you have as a teenager and that want to succeed. I adored the story, it was cute and a quick read, but that may have been because I couldn't put it down! Overall an amazing story and one I recommend to anyone who loves a good romance!

You can follow M. F. Lorson on Twitter, Facebook or her website.
You can follow Jessica on 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.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

#TeaserTuesday

Tara hasn't had the best luck with new friends, but she likes Cassie and is willing to take the risk.




[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A graphic with a sky blue background and green and yellow leaves, with a header of Dying Thoughts - Second Sight, just above it the words: out now in paperback & ebook. The excerpt reads:

I knew there was no point in arguing it with him. Cassie seemed like a nice girl, she had no necklace for me to get a vision from and as long as her clothes hadn’t been worn by somebody who’d died recently I should be okay.
I mean, lightning never strikes in the same place twice, right?


END ID]

Monday, 4 November 2019

Planning For #NaNoWriMo 2019 - The Creative Process


PLANNING FOR #NANOWRIMO

It's that time of year again and #NaNoWriMo 2019 is already four days old! I thought about doing this piece earlier on in the schedule but I just couldn't find the time to slot it in, so even though we're all knee-deep in words and such, I thought I would still do a piece about how I plan for NaNoWriMo and see if it helps for anyone else who might be in the middle of something and realising they need to rethink things.

#1 - KNOW YOUR STORY
I've never really been a full out planner, though I do do some. I have my chapters plans and all of that, and since this year I will be finishing the end of two projects and starting two new ones, this meant that I had to start thought dumping plots for the next two way before November started. Since both of them are either standalones or a new series, I didn't even have to wait to finish my other two projects. I could jump right into the chapter plans and character notes and go from there. So my first tip is to make sure you know what you're going to be working on. For me that's, usually, two projects at once. Everyone is different.

#2 - KNOW YOUR PLAN
I more mean, know whether you need one or if you're able to pants the whole thing without any kind of plan. If you don't know that, then maybe see about making an outline at the least so that you have a better chance of actually finishing your project. I was pretty lucky in that when I wrote my d├ębut novel, I already had a pretty good idea of how I worked as a writer from other projects I'd done. But if you don't know, then plan anyway just in case, it might be that you find it's too much and stifles you, in which case, go pants the rest of it, there's no rule that says you have to stick to your plan one hundred percent.

#3 - KNOW YOUR WEAK SPOTS

I know that I am going to be pretty okay with the endings for the two projects, but I also know that since I edit as I go, and have done for a number of years, that I will spend some time doing that. So I've made sure to plan my writing time a little earlier in the day so that I can hit my goal for the day without losing time. This can also be something like having a playlist to write to if that's what you need, make it in advance so that you don't lose time searching for songs.

#4 - ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY

This happens both before, during and after NaNo. Make friends, get to know people, find others in your area, or look at live writing sprints on Authortube, anything that will help you feel part of the masses who are taking on this task, and also have some buddies who can write with you, are interested in your story and all the rest.

#5 - ACCEPT IT WON'T BE THE VERY END

For me, my books are generally longer than 50K, like a lot longer, so I know that I won't finish it in the month. I also know that since I write two at once, I definitely won't get further than maybe the first act of the two new ones. But for those of you who are writing 50K, the book isn't done at the end of the month, even if you finish the first draft you still have revisions and edits and all of that to go through, so while yes you should celebrate hitting that 50K, prepare yourself for the rest of the work that will go into getting your novel published, should that be your end goal.

And finally, #6 - HAVE FUN, SLEEP, AND EAT AND ALL THE REST
I know that because the needed word count per day is something like 1,667, a lot of people don't have a lot of time to get those words in, so they forgo other important things to make sure they hit goal. My final point, and tip, is to remember that this is for fun, that you need sleep, you need to eat and sometimes, you also need to take a break. Don't burn yourself out, it's not easy to come back from that!

Overall, I wish you all a very happy #NaNoWriMo19, lemme know in the comments what you're working on, if you're doing it!


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

Friday, 1 November 2019

Review of Love Lessons by Daphne James Huff

One semester. No distractions.
Simple, right?

On the verge of winning the biggest literary prize at Shelfbrooke, Rex swears off all girls and parties, and prepares for a distraction-free semester.
It's the perfect plan.
But when his grades aren't good enough to participate in the contest, he ends up in tutoring with the new exchange student.

Zara's been banished to a boring boarding school in America to work on her English.
She's willing to do whatever it takes to get back to France as soon as possible--even if it means teaming up with the one guy who wants nothing to do with her.
But as the weeks go by and feelings grow, will he realize some things are more important than winning before time runs out?
My Review: 5 stars
I picked this up without realising it was book 5 in a series, but thankfully they standalone and I was able to jump right in and get into the action. Rex is sure he's going to win and to do that he has to make himself concentrate which means no girls or parties. Meanwhile Zara is unsure of herself and not sure if she'll ever belong there. The characters were engaging and well-written. I was able to lose myself in the pages and go along for the ride with their love story. It was beautifully done and the kind of book you read and read and don't notice the time ticking away until it's over. I loved it! A nice light-hearted love story was just what I needed. Highly recommended!


You can follow Daphne on Facebook, her website, on Amazon, or even on her podcast!

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.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

#TeaserTuesday


Tara isn't sure what to make of the new girl, she's never been one to have friends...




[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A yellow background with the title of Dying Thoughts - First Touch and just above that: out now in paperback and ebook. The Excerpt reads:

 Maybe if I hadn’t have been so angry with Dad I wouldn’t have had to spend any more time with Kaolin. She called round after school to see how I was. I didn’t even stop and think about how she got hold of my address. I just flung the door open when she knocked and glared at her.
“Umm…hi…I…just umm…wondered umm…how you were,” she spluttered when she saw me. She was fiddling with her necklace again – that must be her nervous habit.
“I’m fine,” I snapped.
“Okay…umm…well,” she said. What did she want? My full medical history?


END ID]

Monday, 28 October 2019

Sticky Notes & How They Work For Me - The Creavtive Process


STICKY NOTES & HOW THEY WORK FOR ME

As I've talked about a whole bunch before (pieces here and here) I use the Sticky Notes function on Windows to plot and plan out my time better. I've been doing this for a number of years now and when the latest update messed with them, I had a bit of a panic to be honest because I'm not sure I'd do better with a different kind of system. I did look into planners, but they didn't have what I needed to be sure I could plan the month, and by week as well.

Now I thought that since it's been a while, and since I have changed things around a little. It used to be that I restricted myself to one thing a day and while that's still, mostly, true, I have gotten better at seeing the month ahead without yet planning it out on my sticky notes. As you can see from the graphic above, this is my layout for the end of September 2019 going into October 2019. I also use sticky notes for the order of Authortube videos, blog posts, Friday posts, my big long-term goals and book deadlines, but since they have some spoilers, I didn't share those.

But let's break down the image above and how it helps me stay on track. I have things colour-coded. Pink is an Opaque day, purple is an I'll See You Thru day, white is a complete day off, yellow is for days when I do vlogs, or other admin stuff, blue are editing days and the green you can't see is for things like post orders and such.

I obviously can plan quite a lot given the size of the notes and the size of my screen, but the reason I wanted to share this was because a lot of people have asked how they keep me motivated when I obviously struggle with other things. And the simple answer, I think, is that I'm a very list-orientated person. I like being able to check off what I've done. I love being able to delete something and then at the end of the work day get rid of the note altogether because I managed it, I did the thing guys! I adulted right!

But in all seriousness, it took me a long time to work out a system that worked for me. I am pretty visual, and I've been asked before about a bullet journal. The only reason I say no is because I have zero artistic talent and my hands don't work right for a lot of hand written stuff. It's part of the Fibro and it means that I rarely write my hand, which was another reason I hope that Sticky Notes don't go away, because they help me have so much control and don't rely on me using a pen to do it.

A lot of the time, as I spoke about last week, (piece found here) I struggle with the image I have projected. I know people see me as super organised, and I am, but they also see me as super productive, and it's had a knock on effect to my mental health. The idea that I have to achieve more or the same than I did last month to be valid. It's a hard thing to break free of because of course you want to meet your goals, that's why you set them, but you also want to be able to keep pushing yourself, and for a long time, that became the norm.

When I went through that burnout at the beginning of the year, I was terrified that I would lose control of the organisational tools and be unable to get back to where I was, but in fact I found that the best thing to do was to focus on making sure I didn't borrow from tomorrow. So whereas before, if my sticky note tasks were done quickly, I would move onto the next day. Now I don't, I stay within the day's limit and I make sure that I take down time because that's important too.

So whichever way you do it, whether through a bullet journal or through sticky notes or some other method, being organised isn't a bad thing, but you do need to remember that you don't have to do all the things in on day, if you're feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and move forward at your own pace. We all have time. It takes as long as it takes and that's okay.


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

Friday, 25 October 2019

Review of Forged Purity by Louise Rachel Mahli

If they're always watching, how can you hide?

Every aspect of Adele Jones’ life is broadcasted to the public. Being an ordinary teenager is tough in a city owned by Media UK, an oppressive administration that puts everyone’s life on display for entertainment. Nobody escapes being filmed, whether you like it or not. And to retaliate, risks your very existence.

But ordinary ends for Adele when her boyfriend mysteriously vanishes; propelling her into more unwelcome fame than she’s ever experienced. How is his disappearance and this increased attention related? Things just aren’t adding up.

To get answers, Adele must find a way to uncover Media UK’s true agenda, away from the city’s watchful eyes. There is only one option. To involve herself with Jason Highbridge, a guy with dark secrets more powerful than the administration itself. The only person who can’t be filmed.

Through disobeying the rules with the most dangerous man in Waleslee, will Adele survive long enough to succeed in exposing Media UK’s real intentions?

My Review: 4 stars
I picked this up because of the blurb and the cover and was intrigued by the whole story. I found it started a little confusingly, but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. I adored Adele, even if there were times I was shaking my head at her choices. The idea of the media controlling so much of the world and what Adele does to circumvent that, it was intriguing and a well written story. I also adored Jason, his innocence and his view on life and what's happening to him. Overall, a delightful read and one I very much enjoyed.

You can follow Louise on Instagram and her website.

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.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

#TeaserTuesday


Lock can't help but feel that something more is going on than what she's being told...



[ID A burnt out lightbulb with the header of Lights Out and a seal for the New Apple book awards official selection with the smaller header of out now in paperback and ebook. Excerpt reads:

“Hey, Lana, did you find that fifteenth name?” I asked.
I could hear a loud squeak on her end and wondered what she was doing.
“Name? I told you, I didn’t…,” she said, sounding far away.
“Is it possible the mainframe found her when it went back online?” I asked.
“What’s the name and I can check?”
“Martha Connors, her file says she’s received all three prompts and due process has gone through.”
“Well, the server must have found her then, because I didn’t,” Lana said. “I suppose that’s one crisis averted. You should let Chris know we found her.”


END ID]

Monday, 21 October 2019

Days Off That Matter - The Creative Process


DAYS OFF THAT MATTER

This is a topic that I've been putting off for a while. I have talked about it before, (piece found here) but it felt like a good time to bring it back. As you all know, one of my yearly goals for 2019 was to take at least one day off completely every month. It's something I've always struggled with doing, and something that I still do struggle with. I recently did a tag on my Authortube channel about struggles while writing, and this sparked the idea to do a blog post too. (Video found here.)

At the beginning of 2019, I was in the throes of a flare from my chronic conditions and also really struggling to get a good nights sleep. It started at the tail end of 2018, which was one of the reasons I made that goal, and have continued to make it throughout my bi-monthly goals on Youtube. I was also severely burned out. I've worked myself hard over 2018, and I was struggling to keep going, and to keep on top of what I saw as my must-do things.

Things like writing over 50K every month and doing all the things I had set out in my monthly goals which are hosted on a private blog. I felt like I had to be doing everything to be considered valid both as a writer, an author and as a person. I know a lot of that is tied up in the ableist belief that productivity determines your worth. I'm disabled and have been for the majority of my life. I'm a full-time wheelchair user and my conditions do have an impact on my life. I try to work with them rather than against them, but that doesn't always work out. Hence the days off.

I told myself that just one day a month wasn't the end of the world, and it hasn't been. In fact it's really helped me get my head on straight and led to other days off. I never count my day of Mepo as a day off because it's a stressful day and I usually feel pretty crappy afterwards, so it can't really be a rest day. My days off are days when I don't have to do anything writing related, whether that's writing itself or doing blogs or vlogs or anything like that. And they matter to me, because they are one of the ways I make sure that I don't get burned out again.

I've talked before about ways to relax, but one thing I've always really found hard is turning my writing brain off. I read a whole ton and that's something that's always been a way for me to unwind and just do nothing but get lost in the pages. But when I was trying to refill my creative well, and come back from being burned out, I realised that a lot of the time, I'm reading books as a way to help other authors, and technically, that's also work. So now I have a set list of books to read, the ones that are purely for fun, and the ones that are for when I'm not feeling too drained by writing.

Because days off, and time off, it matters, and it counts. You're still being productive because you're allowing yourself time and space to breathe. There's nothing that will stifle you more than the pressure and overwhelming feeling of there never being any time to do anything else but work on writing. I know there are some writers and successful authors who work all the hours they can, and that's great since it works for them. I am not them. It took me a long time to be okay with that, and I'm basically writing this post to remind you that everyone is carrying their own load. What I achieve, what anyone else achieves in a specific amount of time doesn't need to be what you achieve.

I've always said this since it was pointed out to me and I'm gonna say it again: it takes as long as it takes, and that's okay.

Keep writing, but don't forget to rest, you are important, and for your story to go anywhere, you have to take care of yourself. Have the days off, enjoy them, do whatever you want with them, and come back to writing later refreshed and ready to tackle that to-do list.


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