Friday 31 May 2019

Guest Blog - Zarina Macha - 10 Awesome Characters In Literature

10 Awesome Characters in Literature

I believe that the best stories are the ones in which the characters drive the plot. Through their eyes we’re absorbed into the depth of the world they inhabit, filled with colour in every shade. Not all protagonists need to be likeable, merely fascinating and insightful enough to realistically draw us into their tale. Here are ten I think are fabulous.

Tyrion Lannister from ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’

Tyrion has got to be one of my most favourite characters in the history of anything. He is intelligent, kind, witty, and most of all, an underdog. He constantly gets accused of crimes yet the only thing he is guilty of is being a dwarf. Few recognise his talents, least of all his cruel and emotionally abusive father and sister. My hope is he will live to rule over those who mocked him.

Hermione Granger from ‘Harry Potter.’

Hermione is a character I related to a lot growing up. She was my curly-haired geeky soul-sister, fiercely loyal to Harry and Ron while retaining her code of ethics. Cut from the films is her work through S.P.E.W, an organisation dedicated to helping house-elves gain fairer rights. While she can be irritatingly self-righteous at times, it adds more depth to her character and shows her strengths and flaws.

Eleanor Oliphant from ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.’
This amazing novel wouldn’t stand without its unusual heroine. Eleanor is hilarious to read about, and yet we ache for the sadness she carries due to her heinous upbringing. At the start its unsure what to make of her, but by the end we love and root for all she has endured. She represents someone who strives to change and make the best of their life, despite horrible circumstances. I think that is very admirable and lovely to read about.

Steven Stelfox from ‘Kill Your Friends.’

Okay, first nasty character on this list. Steven is one of the vilest characters I’ve come across in fiction. He’s a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, entitled, self-absorbed psychopath and I absolutely ADORE reading about him. He is very well fleshed-out and it’s fabulous reading his awful scheming thoughts in John Niven’s books that feature this anti-hero we love to hate.

The Loser’s Club from ‘It’

I don’t want to saturate this list with Stephen King characters (as he is one of my favourite authors) so am just going to pick the best seven. Bev, Richie, Ben, Bill, Mike, Stan and Eddie are some of the most wonderful, courageous, brilliant people ever. Spending over a thousand pages with them all isn’t enough; the story of how they band together to triumph against evil is beautiful and heart-breaking all at once.

Piggy from ‘Lord of the Flies’
Piggy is wonderful; his fate is tragic, and I loved reading about him when I read this book. He’s another ‘underdog’ character who is under-estimated by the pack, and yet is the most rational, clever and sensitive person who ends up suffering due to the cruel indifference of his peers.

Kate Reddy from ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’

Kate is one of my favourite realistic heroines (the book version, not the dreadful movie version – sorry Sarah Jessica Parker, I loved you as Carrie but not as a middle-class British fund manager). Her story is both hilarious and sad; seeing her struggle to juggle a high-powered job and a family shows the problems of trying to ‘have it all’ as a modern woman. The pressures of feminism are highlighted as Pearson shows us that women need to be realistic about what we can do without compromising our physical and emotional health. Having a fulfilling career is amazing, but so is being a loving wife and stay-at-home mother.

Sephy Hadley from ‘Noughts and Crosses’

A tough, empathetic woman trapped in a society that says black and white people can’t be together (sound familiar?) Malorie Blackman turns the tables in this series; Sephy is a wealthy black Cross whose father works in the government, and Callum is a poor white Nought whose family can barely get by. The two friends-turned-lovers grow up together in a world that tries to tear them apart. Despite it all, Sephy remains resilient throughout the series, and watching her grow and raise her child inspires hope.

Atticus Finch from ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Another story about racial tension, this time rooted in reality. I love Atticus because he is kind, intelligent, loyal and sees the good in people. He fights to defend an innocent man on trial and teaches his children to be loving and brave. (Reminds me of Ned Stark; the archetypal caring and wise father figure). Atticus takes a stand where others do not, and his lessons rub off on Scout.

Christopher from ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Like Eleanor Oliphant, he is an unusual protagonist we can’t help but love. The ending is beautiful and almost brings tears to my eyes, thinking about this autistic boy who views the world through such an innocent and questioning lens. His journey is amazing and written in a clever yet simple style.

And so those are ten characters from literature whom I think are awesome! Thanks to the wonderful Joey Paul for letting me appear as a guest on her blog to share these fictional beauties with you. Who are some characters you enjoy? Let me know!

Zarina Macha is an author, blogger and musician. Her novel ‘Anne’ will be out June 3rd. Check out her blog, website and social media for links to her work:

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 30 May 2019

Staying On Track With Goals [CC]

Telling you all how to stay on track with your goals! #Authortube


Tuesday 28 May 2019


Things aren't adding up, and Lock's not sure if she made a mistake or if the ageing servers deleted a name. Whatever the case, it needs to be fixed.


[ID: A graphic of an ageing light bulb for the upcoming release Lights Out. The release date is just below the title, which is July 20th 2019. The excerpt reads:
“Everything okay, Lock?” he asked, as I turned back to the screen.
“Yeah, I think so,” I mumbled as I ran over the names again and again, trying to remember who was missing.
“You look like something’s wrong,” Chris said, sitting down in the chair next to mine. “What’s up?”
“I dunno, I think I’m missing someone,” I said, glancing at him.
“How many names do you have?” he asked, pulling one of my screens so that he could check my work.
“Fourteen, but I can’t find the missing one anywhere in the system,” I said. 


Monday 27 May 2019

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Writing Crime Scenes


I've covered this in a video on my Authortube channel (video found here) but I thought it would be good to have a different piece that covered it here on my blog. The video is about 10 months old, and since then I have changed the way I do things a little. I talked last week about switching genres (found here) and while I have moved somewhat away from writing crime novels, I don't plan to keep it that way. I also know that I have done a ton of research and picked the brains of police officers close to me to allow me to give as up to date advice, and also stories as possible.

So, how do you go about writing crime scenes and what should you expect to do when researching them? While not everyone has a family member linked to the police of their area, there is a lot that you can find out online. I say online because while I do have, and have used, a number of research books, they can be outdated pretty quickly and online information can be edited to keep it current. So here are my tips for what to do when setting out your first crime scene.


This should be obvious, but it might not be so is worth mentioning. If you plan to set your crime in the area you're from, this is obviously an easy enough step. But if you're in the UK and plan to have it in the US, then you're going to have to do a whole load of research to know both the area, the staff and the terminology that goes with it. There is some cross-over, but not as much as you might expect. And don't rely on shows like CSI or Prime Suspect to get you through it. You need to be doing research from actual sites and people who've worked in these areas. As always with this, I recommend groups like the one I'm in on Facebook that have a number of professionals who are also writers, and are always happy to answer questions.

If you're wanting to write a bloody crime scene, then you need to know how to go about making the crime match the scene. It may sound obvious, but you'd be amazed at how people forget that not all deaths present with massive blood loss. If you're looking for lots of blood, then gunshots and knives are usually your chosen method of death.

This ties into the first point. In the UK we generally have Scene of Crime Officers (often referred to as SOCO) but there has been some influence from across the pond and there are some areas that will refer to these as CSI - Crime Scene Investigators. Yet in the US, it's never going to be a SOCO because that's never been a term they use.

By this I mean things like who calls who, whether the M.E or pathologist will be called before the SOCO or CSI. Who's in charge of making those calls? Who responds to the scene first? Who makes the call that this is an active crime scene? And how do they preserve that evidence. In the UK, you'll probably have seen the white tents that go up over an exposed scene to preserve both the evidence and also the dignity of the person killed. This is all important stuff to have in mind when writing your crime scene.

By this I simply mean that along with protocol, there's a method to the madness of a crime scene. If the pathologist has cleared the body for removal, then things like the SOCO start to collect evidence from off the body start to happen. There's an order to be respected and it's because of things like this that allows for the chain of evidence to be kept in place. You can't have someone moving the body before the pathologist has been because that damages evidence. Same as having a detective walk the scene without carefully considering the path they take and what they touch. It's all about making sure that your perpetrator doesn't get let off on a technicality and you get to end the day with a case solved.

So those are my five tips when it comes to writing crime scenes. As I said, there is never too much research when it comes to things like this. You'll pick things up along the way that make sense to you and will, eventually, get to a point where it feels more natural and you're able to see the next step clearly without needing to research it all first.

So go forth, kill characters and catch the criminals!

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

Sunday 26 May 2019

#AmWriting - #012 [CC]

A writer writes... #Authortube


Friday 24 May 2019

Interview with Amanda Marin and Review of North To Nara

I am delighted to be welcoming Amanda Marin to the blog for both an interview and my review of her book: North To Nara. Here's a little about Amanda!

When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.

Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven't involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.

Amanda has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and books with characters that make you go "awww." She lives in the northeastern United States with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.

And onto the interview!

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
Absolutely! I love all things YA, especially romance, futuristic, dystopian, and contemporary novels. I like the creativity and genre-bending of YA—it really feels like a “safe zone” for exploring all kinds of topics… plus, there’s almost always love involved as a subplot!

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
Yes, it has. I’ve been writing since I was little—I’ve always loved stories and books, and I have a pretty active imagination. When I was around 13 years old, my English teacher was extremely supportive and encouraged me to keep going with my interest—so I did! Now, I’m a marketing content writer by day, and my debut novel, North to Nara, a YA dystopian romance, released at the end of March. I feel very lucky to get to do what I love!

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!

I usually camp out on the couch with my laptop—nothing super special, but it’s comfortable. (Like Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory, I have my special “spot”!) My dog often snuggles up next to me while I write. Sometimes she reaches over and slaps the keyboard with her paw—I’m not sure if she’s jealous or trying to help… We’ll go with helping! :)

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?
I’m addicted to satellite radio and love long drives listening to music—so yes, I often make playlists for my writing. It really helps to keep me inspired and thinking about my characters. A few of the songs on my playlist for North to Nara are: “&Run” by Sir Sly, “Move” by Saint Motel, and “Geyser” by Mitski… Each captures an emotion or dilemma faced by the main characters.

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
Hands down, it’s Instagram. I was reluctant to try it for a long time, but a friend of mine convinced me to sign up, and now I love it. Plus, it seems to have a really strong book-oriented following. Not only do I love seeing everyone’s fabulous pictures (Bookstagram has changed my life!), but I’ve also really enjoyed the people I’ve interacted with.

What's your favourite book you've read?
Definitely The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s not YA. Or dystopian. Or sci-fi at all. Still, I love it—the writing is superb, and the relationships in it are all so complex. I re-read it fairly regularly.

Morning or evening writer?
Definitely evening… often late at night. My day job can be quite hectic, and I consider it a reward to be able to sit back for a few hours, enjoy the quiet, and get lost in my own little world of stories. (Sometimes I’m horrified when I look back at what I’ve written when I’m at the point of exhaustion… other times, it’s pretty funny!)

Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward... and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain.

The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and
gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.

My review: 5 stars
I fell in love with the idea reading the blurb and picked this one up. I was hooked from the first page, a fresh storytelling that makes you want to settle in and keep turning the pages. I adored the story between Neve and Micah, the idea that love can conquer everything but that rush for freedom, the feeling that sometimes being free isn't all that the government say it is. I loved this book and will be picking up the second in the series when it comes out because it is an amazingly crafted world and story! Highly recommended.

You can follow Amanda on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 23 May 2019

Author Tag: Pay It Forward [CC]

Time for a tag - the pay it forward tag on #Authortube

Paying It Forward Tag

1) Name a channel that made you consider things you might not have before
2) Tell us about a time that a channel made you laugh. (Preferably to the point of tears.)
3) Name a channel that has worked to help you and your platform
4) Name a channel that has made you feel welcome within the AuthorTube community
5) Name a channel that has made you smile. (This can be a moment that warmed your heart or just a time they brightened a bad day.)




Tuesday 21 May 2019


Lock feels like all she does is have this same argument with Lana. And it's getting to a breaking point, Lock's not lying to cover her any more.


Sign up for Pre-Order SWAG here:

[ID A graphic for Lights Out, with the release date of July 10th 2019 just below the title. The background is a fading lightbulb. The excerpt reads:

She whipped her head round to glare at me. “Wow, that’s your advice? Suck it up? You realise why I don’t like these things, don’t you?”
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. How long was she going to beat this horse?
“I know, you don’t like to watch them, you don’t agree with them, but Lana, it’s your job. It’s not like this is a new thing, you knew it was part of the job when you were hired, so it’s not like it’s some new thing that’s been sprung on you. I get it, you think everyone should die of old age, but that’s just not how the world works! You want to find the answer to how we achieve that without all starving to death, you’re more than welcome to try, but I can’t cover for you when it’s something like this. You know that, and you know that Chris is more than aware that I’m lying to him. I hate lying!”


Monday 20 May 2019

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Switiching Genres


This has been something I've wanted to talk about for a long while. I've been published almost fourteen years, and in that time I have written any number of genres. While when first starting out I stuck to mostly crime and paranormal, I have since branched out even more, penning a urban fantasy series and two dystopian ones as well. It's something that doesn't get talked about much, but I wanted to bring it up if, like me, you're a writer who goes where the stories take you and don't worry too much about what genre it will fit into.

There are a couple of options when it comes to writing different genres, you can do as I have, and use the one name, knowing that you will be selling to somewhat different audiences. That can make it harder to promote yourself, and it's something that you really need to think about when making that choice. I personally have chosen this route is because I always write young adult and generally have at least one genre that stays the same throughout.

For example, when I published the Dying Thoughts series, they always had that crime/mystery element. The majority of my standalones also had that crime/mystery element, though others, like Destination: Unknown slipped into the paranormal. When I introduced a brand new genre to my catalogue, like Walk A Mile, with it's sci-fi element, I kept it crime to allow it to appeal to some of my older readers who stuck with me because of that. This year I will be releasing the first book in my first dystopian/sci-fi trilogy, Lights Out, and the readers I've attracted for the sci-fi in Walk A Mile may find themselves picking up the trilogy because of that link to the same genre.

Long story short, I have been careful to allow certain elements of the chosen genre in my publishing order. With the Dying Thoughts series ending this year, it made sense to pair that with the start of my next trilogy and in the year after, the start of my urban fantasy series which I recently finished. It's how it's worked for me, but there is another option, and it may turn out to be the easier of the two.

So what is that option? Having a pen name. If you're someone who writes wildly different genres, or moves between young adult and adult fiction, it might be better for you to choose this option simply because there's no chance of having to attract completely different audiences when your works do not mesh well together.

I'm talking about writing something like adult romance and young adult fantasy, the two don't attract anywhere near the same audience and it can be a good thing to separate the two. It means dealing with two different social media presence, means marketing yourself twice and can be a lot of work, but for some authors it's the best option to choose. I know of those who have a pen name for their romance works while they use their actual name for their paranormal works. It's about finding what works for you.

Like I said, I haven't chosen to go this route for a number of reasons. I feel that because all my works fit into the young adult category and they all somewhat interlink, that it's better for me to stay with the one name. If I decided to start writing adult fiction, then I would definitely use a pen name and market that separately and differently because that just makes sense.

That said, there are some authors who manage to branch over categories and genres and do really well, but I personally have found that it's better to split the two when you're moving from one category to another. Unless you're planning to market yourself as both, which can work, but is a whole ton of work, I'd stick to a pen name. On top of that writing young adult and adult books can be seen as a big no-no for some of your readers. If you're writing romance and the adult books branch more into erotica and the like, it can be a turn off for those who are coming across your work for the young adults in their lives. It can have a knock on effect to the brand you make and the image you put out. But of course, your mileage may vary.

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

Sunday 19 May 2019


When aging ends at twenty-five and all life ends at sixty, Lock has to make sure that everyone entering their final sleep has the dignity and peace that goes with it.

Pre-order here:

[ID A graphic for Lights Out with the release date as July 10th 2019. There's an excerpt on the graphic which reads as:

“We’ve got Jonathon Baker, but he’s also got his granddaughter with him, don’t know how old she is, too little for this that’s for sure. I promised him a quiet corner. You think you can manage that?” I asked her.
“Sure thing, Lock, I’ll take good care of him,” she replied as she walked beside me.
I wheeled back over to the desk and introduced them. “This is going to be your nurse for the event, Clara, she’s a good one and she’ll make sure all your needs are met. May your sleep be ever peaceful,” I said to Jonathon as Clara caught the eye of Sadie.


Friday 17 May 2019

Guest Blog with Roxanne San Jose

On Other Books 
"Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom really melt my heart when I read it in the Philippines outside my late grandmother's house because Mitch was able to connect three characters in the story. The ending was touching as they were all accepting and deserving. I remember the font size and "short" the story was which I also enjoyed reading. 

From all the books, this is the creative one because usually it is just one conflict and solution in a story but this.. It is about connectivity among the characters. Mitch Albom did a great job as always.

On my Writing Process
I always start from the head (aka mind) and what I love to write about because I have to be passionate to finish the work. When I wrote, Time Travel, my YA Science Romance Novel I had to think really hard about the story is about, characters, genre, creativity, originality to make it presentable to publishing companies and readers. Then of course, I love doing it.

I took a nearly a year-break because I was in the Philippines.

After I wrote, Time Travel. At first, I did not edit it which was my biggest regret so I did got many rejections and few acceptance from traditional and non-traditional publishers. I almost go with one of the non-traditional publishers but the cost prevented me. This was the time I learned the importance of editing. 

I did my edits twice, sent it to an editor then publishers. 

Thank you so much Joey Paul for the opportunity.

You can follow Roxanne on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 16 May 2019

Cover Reveal: Lights Ourt [CC]

It's time for the cover reveal of Lights Out! #Authortube




Wednesday 15 May 2019

Release Day! 🎉🎉


Dying Thoughts - Seventh Death is now out!

You can pick it up in ebook here:

Or in paperback from Amazon and other retailers!

Join Tara in her seventh book as she struggles to save her father from an unknown danger. 

Tara will have the house to herself while her Dad goes on his comeback tour. She has plenty of ideas about what to do with the time. Parties, college work and all the bits and pieces that come from being a student who also works for the police.

It’s only when an accident almost kills Colin that Tara’s life is turned upside down and she is pulled from college to sit by her father’s bedside. Away from home, from her friends, from her life, she has to somehow piece together what really happened on that tour bus and she has to do it with only her gift and a little help from Kaolin.

Only, someone is determined that Colin won't survive his injuries, and if they have to take Tara out in the process, that’s a price they’re willing to pay.

Can Tara solve the puzzle before they catch up with her?

Happy Reading! 

Monday 13 May 2019

To Read Reviews Or Not - The After Process


This is something that's been on my to-do list for a while and something I feel like needs to be talked about more. I know that a lot of the people reading my blogs are either other writers/authors or readers looking for a slice of what it's like to be an author. For that reason, I stick to the advice posts and make sure that I present something that everyone visiting is happy with. That's not going to change, but I feel like it's a good idea to have said that upfront for what I'm about to discuss.

There is a mixed bag when it comes to authors reading reviews. There are those of us, like me, who only read them on a certain site. There are others who read every review they can get their hands on, and there are those who don't read any reviews for a variety of reasons. I want to be clear that all of those are very real and valid ways to go about the whole of author life.

But how do you decide which one is you? How do you know which slot you fall into? It's a bit of trial and error to be honest. When I first started out, I would check reviews every day and would always want to read the good, the bad and the in-between. That part of my review check hasn't changed. I don't respond to reviews (and no author should, it's bad practice and the reviews themselves are more for readers than us) but I do like to see what people are saying about my books. About the experience they had while in my worlds. I find that reading both the good and bad gives me a good idea of what kind of books I'm putting out and the effect they're having on the reading world as a whole.

Which is all well and good if you know going into this author life how you're going to react to your first "bad" review. But if you're unsure, then this might be the piece of advice you need. Know yourself. How do you generally react to critique? How do you react to people thinking negatively of your work? Is it something that's going to cause you undue anxiety? Is it something that you feel excited about? Do you only want to read the good ones? Do you have someone who can read them for you and filter out the things that don't really matter? All of these are questions you can ask yourself, but ultimately it's up to you to decide.

The problem with reading reviews is that sometimes, you are going to have a reaction to them. And it's not always going to be a good one. I have a folder of screenshots on my computer that has all the random pieces of praise I've gotten from reviews and readers, and I keep that because sometimes I will come across a bad review and find myself a little stuck with how to move past it. I open up that folder and find all the positive pieces and it helps to lift me back up. Because lets be real here: bad reviews are going to happen.

It's something I've talked about more on my Authortube channel, but no author in the history of ever only has five star reactions by every single reader. They may only have 5 star reviews on a site, but that doesn't mean that every reader who picked up this book had the same kind of experience. It just means some of the ones with a bad experience didn't leave a review. So once you take that on board, you have to realise that it's going to happen to you. It's going to hurt, and it's going to suck, but you need to move past it.

And if you think that you're someone who can't move past it, then maybe it's time to stop reading those reviews. Either you stick to the positive ones, or you stop all together. I know of authors who have major anxiety and can't read any reviews. And like I said above, that's completely okay. I personally stick to reviews on Goodreads, which may sound odd because a lot of the time, those reviews are a little more critiqued than any other sites, but I like knowing the good and the bad. I know it sounds like something people say and they mean something else, but for me it's actually true.

Does that mean that I don't have any negative reactions to reviews? No, not at all. They will get me down a little, but I have a process that allows me to take on what's needed, and move past it. Like the random praise folder that I mentioned above. It gives me the lift I need and it allows me to see that this is just one readers opinion, it was their experience and it is valid, but there have been more than one reader.

All of that to say that basically it's up to you as an author as to whether you read you reviews. You are the only one who can make that choice and I know of a lot of authors who choose not to. While we're on the subject of reading reviews, I did want to mention a little etiquette thing. If you're a reviewer and you read an author's book and don't like it, don't tag them on your post. That's just rude, especially if they're someone who doesn't like reading any reviews in the first place. While it's your right as a reader to dislike a book, it's also the right of the author to not have to read your review. So bear that in mind.

At the end of the day, there's always going to be ups and downs when it comes to reviews. I think it's something that only the author can decide about and that whatever choice they make, it's perfectly valid as an option. So go forth, read or don't read, and keep writing.

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