Friday 28 June 2019

Guest Blog - My Writing Process - Michael J Moore

When a dark cloud seems to stalk me wherever I go, when magical thinking sets in almost to the point of schizophrenia, when a streak of bad luck attacks--one unfortunate event after another, when socializing becomes a burden and I begin to long for the life of a recluse, that's when I know it's time to write. A story has found its way into that dark place in my inner being that welcomes them, and begun to stir, begging to be set free.

So I retreat. Not just into my quiet room, but into myself to find this pest. There's no plotting involved. I know some people prefer to use an outline, but that's not the way it works for me. I have one chance to get it out, and if it's not right the first time, it's very unlikely that I'll get another shot. I sit at my desk, or even the head of my bed, with a Bic pen (black ink) and a pad of paper, or maybe with my tablet, and I get to work.

Sometimes I have an idea as to what I'm writing about. Sometimes I don't. The story knows, though. That, I can trust, and before the first chapter is completed--usually a few hours later--I always do too. Soon the plot begins to develop. Not on paper, but in my mind. I dare not speak it out loud, though. Like I said, it can only come out once.

For the next one to three months, I become entrenched in my book. Every second that I'm not writing, I'm thinking about the story, wondering what's going to happen next. By this time, I usually have a pretty good guess, but I might be wrong. At least half the time I am. It's a period of bliss that I imagine can only be understood by somebody who's spent a similar amount of time doing what they love. Still, near the end, a new restlessness begins to set in. A stirring just as bothersome as the initial inspiration. A desire to finish.

That means it's time to slow down. If I don't, I'll end up rushing the most important part. The part that the entire story has been leading up to. Every bit of tension that's been built to this point, must be released just right. It has to be gratifying and come with emotional payoff for anybody, who will someday invest his or her time into reading the book.

Lastly, the ending, almost as tricky as the climax because it's still tempting to rush. Even though the story's over, and the conflict's been resolved, I could still blow it if I'm not careful. For me, ending a book is equally exciting, yet much more difficult than beginning one. Once it's right, I put it away and fall asleep with a smile on my face. The next day, I wake up perfectly sane, perfectly happy. Satisfied. I read a book or two, then get to work on something else. Maybe a short story. Maybe promotion for a previous project.

I don't look at my manuscript again for at least a month, when I can approach it with a fresh perspective. Then comes revisions and the next draft. Once I believe it's polished enough, I share it with my partner and see what she thinks. Then submissions, because now that the story's been set free, it wants to be shared. Life goes on from this point, but never for long before another one finds its way in.

You can follow Michael on Facebook and his 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 25 June 2019


There are those who don't believe in the system and they'll do anything to get their point across.



[ID: A graphic with a background of a burned out light bulb. On it is an excerpt from Lights Out with the release date listed as July 10th. The excerpt reads:

"You don't?" she asked, raising an eyebrow as if she was amused. "You honestly don't see what they do... what you do as violence? You take the citizens of this cityship and you inject poison into their veins and stand idly by waiting for them to die. That, in our book, is murder plain and simple."
"I don't make the laws," I said, my arms sore from the iron grip of the people holding me.
"No, but you do carry them out and I bet you're one of those who fully believes in the system. For the good of the country and all that," she said, in a mocking tone.


Monday 24 June 2019

Six Month Check In With Goals


It's that time of the year again when I look back at the goals I set myself on my Authortube channel in December (video here) and see how I'm doing so far! Now I also set myself bi-monthly goals on the channel, but I've been doing yearly goals for a while and like the idea of having longer ones than can be done in a couple of months. Usually I would set the goals, then completely forget about them until it came time to review them at the end of the year.

Last year I realised that I needed some accountability and so I started doing a check in on my blog as a way to show you all what I've managed so far and what is still to come in the year as a whole. So even though it's the the end of June, let's look back at what I've achieved so far!

1. PUBLISH DYING THOUGHTS - SEVENTH DEATH IN MAY 2019 - I managed this, the book was released on May 15th and if you've not yet picked up a copy you can do so here!

2. PUBLISH LIGHTS OUT IN JULY 2019 - This is ongoing, but the plan is still for it to be released on July 10th, and if you want to pre-order a copy you can do so here. I'm also doing something I hadn't planned and that's pre-order SWAG so if you want to pick up some of those, all you have to do is pre-order and fill out the form here.

3. PUBLISH DYING THOUGHTS - EIGHTH ENDING IN OCTOBER 2019 - This hasn't happened yet, but it's still the plan for it to be released in October. It's with the editor right now and hopefully going to the proof-reader on July 1st. I have the cover reveal in July, and if you want to help with that, the form is here.

4. FINISH VISIBLE AND CRAMPING CHRONICLES: THE FIFTH AGONY - I managed this in May! I penned the last words of the Cramping Chronicles series at the beginning of May and did the same with the third book in the Invisible series so I was super happy to have this one crossed off the list.

5. START OPAQUE AND BOOK 28 [I'LL SEE YOU THRU] - Also done! I started Opaque and I'll See You Thru in May and while I'm still only in the beginning stages, they're both going really well!

- I don't know why but I'm about 50 books ahead of my challenge which I had to rapidly change from 120 books to my usual 150, and might even need to up it to 200 depending on how things go. Overall, I am on track to finishing this sometime next month so I'm super happy with that!

- I have managed to do this! I'm booked for Friday posts until July but I'm hoping that some of the people I've reached out to will get back to me so that I can continue with these. On top of that, my Monday posts are all lined up until pretty much the New Year, though not all written of course!

- I've been doing this fine. I've gotten into a nice routine of recording videos on my off days and getting the month ahead all pre-recorded in time to be released on the relevant Thursday.

- Also had no problems keeping up with this. I know for some people it might seem strange to have a writing log, but it works for me and I enjoy doing it so it's no problem!

- Not done. And to be quite honest, I don't think it is going to be either. Following on from a year of three signings, I was pretty sure that I'd do Darker 2019 if nothing else. Except there is no Darker this year or next. So I don't know what my plans for signings in the coming year are going to be. I've signed up for a few in 2021 including Darker so we'll see how it goes.

- I'm standing at about 20 reviews done on Fridays so far, so I'm on track to get this done. I have a lot more guest blogs than last year, but the interviews and reviews have been steady.

- I've managed this even though I no longer post the graphics, and only mention the numbers once at the beginning of my Life Of Joey videos. It's more a way for me to stay productive and I don't want to be part of other people beating themselves up for not doing the same.

13. DO ONE BONUS VIDEO EVERY MONTH ON AUTHORTUBE - I've managed this. Most months have had at least one bonus video, some have had two. I plan to try and continue this through the coming year.

- Obviously not done yet, but it's still on the cards to be done. I'll be doing this around October/November time.

15. TAKE ONE DAY OFF COMPLETELY EVERY MONTH - And also done so far. Most months I've had Mepo off and at least one other day, other months I've squeezed in more. It's more about what I've had going on. When Kim was over in May I had about a week or so off, and in June I've had more days off because of hospital appointments and getting my hair did.

So bar the signing for this year, I am very much on track. I'm happy with my progress and happy with all I'm achieving. Hopefully it all continues throughout the next six months and I can end 2019 with a bang! How are you doing with your goals?

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 21 June 2019

Review of Call Me Anastasia by Jordi Burton

All sixteen-year-old Anastasia Piliar knows is a life of hiding and fleeing from the Shadows--monstrous, vile beasts that murdered her grandparents, and are hell-bent on destroying her family and her people.
For ten years Anastasia lived amongst humans. She knows no magic, had never danced in a grand ballroom with a werewolf, and has never had a dream come to life.

Her home realm, Jacqueline, is no longer safe. Allegiances are shattered as battles break out between the realms. People are dying, the magical protections around the royal city are being pushed to their limits, and Anastasia is thrown in the middle when she is suddenly reunited with her home.

It's there that Anastasia finds not only family, trees that move of their own volition, and great worlds she never imagined, but also a tremendous power...

...if only she understood what it was.

My review: 5 stars
I picked this up because the blurb intrigued me, and I was pulled into the story from the first page. It is a beautifully crafted novel about a girl growing up in exile before being pulled back into her rightful world. The fight to be the Princess but also to help her people goes on within her. She is not one to sit by idly and let others battle alone. I loved Anastasia, she was feisty and strong, and I appreciated that she didn't want to be in the situation she was. The ultimate betrayal was one I didn't see coming and I was glued to the pages. Overall, an amazing read!

You can follow Jordi on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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

Tuesday 18 June 2019


Things are heating up, as Lock goes digging for answers that don't seem to add up and make sense!



[ID. A graphic for an excerpt from Lights Out, the background is a fading light bulb and the release date is listed as July 10th 2019. The excerpt reads:
“Xavier Clement & Zara Mackleby,” the bored man said, handing me two files. “Though next time be clear about the dates.”
“Sorry, I thought I had the right ones,” I replied, taking the files.
“You’re lucky I was able to find them,” he said. “Please return them to me when you’re done, so I can be sure they’re in the right place.” He looked at me with an expression that said he was explaining it as he would to a child. “Now, Officer, is it okay if I go back to work?”
“Of course,” I said, fake smile on my face as I watched him turn and leave. 


Monday 17 June 2019

What Comes After The End - The After Process


Last week I talked about writing the end (piece found here) and as promised, this week I'm going to talk about what comes after you've written those two words (or four hash symbols in my case). A lot of the time people think that when you write those words, when you finish your first draft, then all the hard work is done! You can lean back, relax and wait for those royalty checks to start rolling in! Right?

Wrong! While there is a massive relief when you get to the end of the first draft, the hard work is still in progress. You still have revision, then edits, then more edits, rewrites and all that goes with it. Depending on whether you're going indie or traditional, there's even more hoops to jump through before you can call this baby done. And a lot of that is going to be very apparent to you even as you write those final words. I have a whole section on the after process, you know all this stuff, and if you don't, I suggest you do some serious research and reading.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about that period after writing the end before you jump into doing anything with your draft. So many people seem to think that you need to hop from one stage to the next and it's possible for some people sure, but I personally advise against it and here's why.

You have spent the last x amount of time, from months to years, to longer, working on this draft. You know it inside out and you have poured actual blood, sweat and tears into it. And now it's done, but you know the hard work is only just starting and you want to jump right in, page one, and start your revisions. And that's not the best idea. It might be that you're one of those writers who can do that. I'm not. I put my first draft away for at least a year before I start working on it again.

Now I know that for some of you a year is going to be like: WHAT? Why? I can do that because I have so many books in progress and finished to some degree that I'm always going to have another project lined up, or an editing process starting on one that's been sitting for a while. So for the purpose of this piece, and given that most people aren't like me, I'll say a month at least. The answer is simple: you are still too close to this work to properly look at it with the editing lens on.

You need some distance to be able to look at your work objectively. It doesn't matter what you do during that month, if you take the time to start another project, or work on building up your author platform, or narrowing down which publishing path you choose to go down. That's irrelevant, but if you are looking to spend less time going over your mistakes, then it is better to put distance between you and your draft before you go back to it. It allows for the facts to change in your mind, allows you to look back at the story with fresh eyes and decide if this scene here needs to be there or if it works without it. All of the stuff that comes along with the after process needs to be done with some degree of objectivity and you can't do that fresh off finishing your draft. It just doesn't work that way.

So, like I said, celebrate that you've reached the end, put the draft somewhere you won't be looking at it, work on something else, get your distance, and then go back and revise and edit. You will be thanking yourself later and your book will be better for it. That's all there is to 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 14 June 2019

Interview with Michael J Moore and review of After The Change

I an delighted to be joined by Michael J Moore on the blog for both an interview and my review of his book: After The Change. Here's a little about Michael.

Michael J. Moore lives in Seattle with his partner in life, and in literacy.  His spare time is spent searching the darkest corners of his mind for whatever horrors, oddities or fascinations have found their way in, begging expression in his unique literary voice. He writes because the stories haunt him if he doesn't. He is the author of Bronte's Ride, and the young adult series, After the Change.

And onto the interview!

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
I relate most to Gabriela Urieta, from Ninja Girl. (set to be released this year by Rainier Publishing House).  I've written the first two books in her series, and both times I've been able to connect with her on a very personal level.

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
Of course my own genre is my favourite. I write in two genres, horror and young adult. I don't read books in these genres because it's what I write, though. I write the books because it's what I would like to read.

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Fun. Character-based. Psychological.

What was the first story you ever told?
Wow. That goes back, actually, to my earliest memory. I must've been four at the time, sitting on my bedroom floor playing with my action figures. I never could settle for a simple battle. There always had to be some elaborate storyline that built up the action. It usually consisted of WWF wrestlers versus Ninja Turtles. Obviously the turtles had to win (aside from a casualty or two).

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
No. It was when I was very young. I remember writing a short thriller in the fourth grade, and the school librarian was so impressed that she encouraged me to enter into some young authors contest. I never did, but I wrote periodically after that. All my English teachers pushed me to pursue it and in the back of my mind, I always planned to. It wasn't until a few years ago, though, that I realized that writing wasn't just something I was good at, but what I needed to be doing.

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!
Yes! It's the most bland, little room you could imagine, with white walls and a tiny wooden desk--two feet, by two feet. It keeps me from becoming distracted during the long hours I spend in it, and allows me to retreat into my real writing space, which is the part of my mind where the stories get stuck after having found their way in.

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?
No playlist. It's loud enough in my head already.

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
I think they're all valuable for keeping your readers connected. I prefer Facebook, mostly because I've grown used to it over the years.

Where do you hang out most online?
I hang out mostly on Facebook or Twitter.

Do you have a favourite app for writing?
No, actually I don’t, unless you consider Microsoft Word.

Organised or not?
No. Unfortunately, organisation is not among my talents. I write everything longhand first, then edit and revise before I start typing up my next draft. I recently had to go through a stack of papers and throw away everything that's been typed, published, or accepted somewhere because the mess was becoming unmanageable.

What's your favourite book you've read?
I’m a huge fan of Stephen King.  So my favourite book is one of his called “Joyland”.

Morning or evening writer?
When I'm working on a novel, I like to finish at least 2500 words a day. If I can, I try to get the bulk of this done in the mornings when my mind is fresh. I usually end up having to do some catching up in the evening, though.

If you had a hashtag for your books, what would it be?

Diego Conner was at school when his world changed. As soon as his classmates started killing each other, he ran. Then, when he got home, his parents tried to eat him. They weren’t zombies though. They were alive and could be killed like any other living thing. He chose to simply call them “the changed”.
The only people he knew who didn’t turn were his friends, Sheena and Wes. With their families gone, the fifteen year olds are forced to look out for each another, constantly moving and hiding in the shadows. Eventually, though, they decided to search for survivors and colonize a local prison. Along the way, they quickly learn that the brainless, flesh-eating monsters that roam the streets are the least of their worries after the change.
My review: 5 stars
I picked this up because of the blurb. It looked to be an interesting book and I was not disappointed by what I read. Diego and his friends survived the change, bu they're running for their lives. Alone, lost and without any idea of what to do next, they're looking to just survive and find some way to live with this new world and new normal. The story is engaging from the first chapter, you find yourself rooting for the characters and everything they go through. You will get drawn into the story and find yourself reading it in one go. It is amazingly written and I adored it. Recommended!

You can follow Michael on Facebook and his 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 11 June 2019


Lana sees no point is Lock admitting her part, but can Lock live with that?



[ID: A graphic for a teaser from Lights out. The background is a light bulb burning out with the title of the book and release date of July 10th 2019. The excerpt reads:
“But if…,” I started to say.
“Yeah, if, if she wasn’t lying, if she really was thirty-five, if her chip was faulty, if her ID wasn’t a fake, all these ifs and we’re talking about your life here, Lock. She’s gone, nothing is going to bring her back and as far as we know, no error was made. If it turns out that there was, then just chalk it up to experience. Don’t make the same mistake again, but also, don’t throw your life away just in case.”


Monday 10 June 2019

Writing The End - The Creative Process


I've wanted to do a piece on this for a while. It's simply been that I've never gotten a space in the writing ideas at the same times as I'm close to, or have recently finished something. I plan to go into what comes after the end next week, but for now I'm focusing on the actual act of finishing the book and getting that lovely rush that you finally managed to write a whole story from beginning to end.

A lot of people talk about how hard it is to write a book, and they're right. It's not an easy task. It's not something that just anyone can do. I mean a lot of people try and they never quite manage to get from beginning to middle to end. The amount of time it takes doesn't matter. I've written first drafts in everything from 10 days to 16 years. So it can take a while, and I'm known for saying that it does take as long as it takes and that's okay.

But you've finally gotten to that point where you've tied up your loose ends, you've delivered on your climax, you've decided who's going to go on to do what and you've written those words. Now I personally stick to four hashtags as the mark the book is finished, but a lot of writers will use those two works as their sign off. And it can be a massive adrenaline rush to finally reach that point. It's not the end of the work by a long stretch, but it signifies something that a lot of people will never do in their lives: finish a book.

So what can you do to celebrate? It might seem silly to celebrate when, like I said, you still have a ton of work ahead of you, but I feel like it's worth treating yourself to a mini party if nothing else. Usually when I finish a first draft, my friends will cheer with me, and we'll have something nice for dessert after dinner, but it doesn't go beyond that. It's enough for me to acknowledge the work I've done, the work ahead of me and that I've made it this far.

When it comes to bigger things like releases, that's when the big celebrations happen, but for me recently I've finished a series which took me over two years from start to finish. The first book of which comes out in 2020. Finishing a series, or a trilogy, any set of books that has been a lot more work than just the normal standalone brings with it. There's the making sure that all the threads go through each book and join up at the end. The character growth that needs to happen so that the people we meet at the start of book one grow by the end of the final book. It's a lot to track and a lot of work, and ending a series can be both exhilarating and bitter sweet at the same time.

I say this, not just because it's something I've done recently, but also because I'm in the process of publishing the final book in the Dying Thoughts series. A series that took me nearly 15 years from start to finish and even then has taken even longer to get it ready to send out into the world. And now that it's finally here, and it's almost done, it feels a little wrong to be finally saying goodbye to Tara for good. She's been a part of my writing world for so long that closing the door and allowing her to have her adventures without me feels off somehow. But yet I do see it as a great achievement as I should.

The long and short of it is, there's nothing quite like finishing a book, whether that's the first draft of the revision process, or the editing process or even the final steps towards publication, it's a rush that can fill me up for days. So if you're nearing the end, just remember to buckle down and keep writing, you will get there!

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 7 June 2019

Interview with Joy Jones

I am delighted to welcome Joy Jones to the blog for an interview! Here's a little about Joy:

Performance poetry, training workshops, storytelling, classroom teaching - Joy Jones has addressed countless audiences. She is the director the of performance poetry group, The Spoken Word and founder of the multigenerational double Dutch team, DC Retro Jumpers. Jones is the author of several books including Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers. and Tambourine Moon, which was selected as one of the best books for children by the black caucus of the ALA and featured on the Bernie Mac show. Fearless Public Speaking debuts Spring, 2019. Visit her at

And onto the interview!

Do you read in your own genre?
Yes, I read Young Adult titles, both fiction and nonfiction. But that’s because I read everything and anything. Fearless Public Speaking is my first book for teens. I've also written a picture book, Tambourine Moon. Generally speaking, novels and biographies are my favorite genres whether for adults or children. I especially like books where the protagonist makes a180-degree change in thinking. Liberal to conservative. Lawmaker to outlaw. Believer to atheist. Victim to victor. It doesn't matter in which direction they travel. I'm fascinated by the transformation.

If you had to describe your style in 3 words, what would they be?
The main word that comes to mind is promiscuous - because I shamelessly love it all. Writing stories, telling stories, poetry, prose, plays, picture books, articles, op-eds, novels, newspapers, on and on and on...

What was the first story you ever told?
I can’t remember the first story I ever told but I can remember the first story I ever read. It was called Tip and it was about a dog. I was in first grade and that was the reader we used. It was the first book where I knew every word. I can still see myself reading the story aloud to my daddy. Over and over. (Poor man!) I could read a whole book! How wonderful was that!

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
Yes. I knew I wanted to tell stories since early childhood. Everyday in every way. On the page and on the stage. My daily deed and sacred creed is to feed the need to read. All things literary are very necessary. Okay, I’ll stop now.     

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions?
My favorite place to write is propped in bed. That’s where first drafts happen. Creativity and clutter are literally my bedfellows. Then I go to the computer. More creativity and clutter ensue.

Where do you hang out most online?
The main place I hang out online currently is Instagram. Come on over and say hi to me at #Joyjones1433. I like to post items about the creative process.

Organised or not   
Organized? Ha-ha-ha-ha...                                                                                                 

Morning or Evening writer?
I’m at my best in the morning. But given that I’m not organized and even when I am organized, life doesn’t bend itself to my desire or direction, I write whenever I can snatch the opportunity. Lately, I’ve been doing my most writing whenever it’s quiet at work. Fearless Public Speaking was a little different. It got its start at The Millay Colony, a secluded wooded retreat for artists in New York state. The revisions, however, were done lounging in my bed or in stolen moments at the job.

You can follow Joy on Instagram and Twitter.

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