Tuesday, 30 July 2019

#TeaserTuesday



Tara might be getting back to work with Mike, but she can't help but be a bit nervous about it after the investigation...


Pre-order here: http://www.books2read.com/DTEE

And don't forget the Pre-order SWAG: https://forms.gle/5tundLE6FUTGjAF67

[ID: A background of a waterfall with the heading Dying Thoughts -Eighth Ending and the release date as October 9th 2019. The excerpt reads:

“So maybe today is the day when you get back in?” she said. It was typical of Kaolin to try and put a bright-side spin on things.
“Maybe,” I said.
We’d reached the door to the station and I pulled it open, thankful for the rush of breeze that cooled me down a little. The weather wasn’t all that bad, it was just the end of a long day in a stuffy classroom, and nice to feel the air on my face.
“Maybe he has some news,” she said. “Try not to get all stressed out before you know why he called.”
END ID]

Monday, 29 July 2019

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Revisiting The Hats


THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: REVISITING THE HATS

When I first started doing advice pieces, I did one that talked about the many hats of an indie author (found here) and in the years since then I've thought about talking about it again. Especially since it wasn't included under this sub-topic and I feel I've learned a lot since then. The general consensus when it comes to being indie is that you'll be doing, or paying for, a lot of the work yourself. You're not just in charge of writing the book, but editing, promoting, paying for the cover design, getting the word out, paying for your editor and such and all that goes into publishing.

So how have things changed in the many years since I wrote that first piece? Well for a start, I've grown as both a writer and an author. I now see things that I didn't back then - like the fact that a good cover is better than the worst one you can ever dream of. I've also done some signings and as such gotten the word out about my books in a different way. I've won two awards for my books and I've gotten more comfortable in this whole job as an indie author.

When I first talked about the hats, I was thinking too small. I only labelled the jobs that I personally had done. I didn't think beyond that and what it meant for me as an indie author, or for anyone else looking to take this path over the traditional one (though even traditional authors pay for a lot of their own marketing). I didn't look into things like pre-orders, because they weren't possible on KDP back then. And I didn't know how much of this author life I would come to see as my full time job.

So what hats do I wear now? I'm going to break them down so that you can see what I mean by things having changed.

#1. WRITER/AUTHOR
This one is slightly obvious and I don't think it needs any explanation. I write the books, so I get to reap the rewards from them.

#2. PAYING FOR EDITING

This should also be obvious. I am an employer in that I employ a team of editors and proof readers to work on my manuscripts before they go for publication. I don't recommend skipping this step or even thinking that you can do it yourself - spoiler: you can't.

#3. PAYING FOR COVER DESIGN

Again, I'm an employer of the person who does my cover designs. I get a lot of say in how it looks, but at the end of the day, I don't have those skills. And unless you're a graphic designer, you don't either. So do not skimp in covers. Trust me, I know how that blows your career up in the wrong way!

#4. PROMOTER OF BOOKS
Unless I pay them, no one else is going to be picking up my books and promoting them. I have to do all of that myself. I have managed to make connections and through them have worked out a few ways to keep on top of this without it getting too overwhelming, but I do have to do this and it's hard work starting from nothing.

#5. FORMATTER OF BOOKS
I could pay someone to do this, but personally I feel like I have a good idea what to do and so far, it's all worked in my favour, but if you're not sure, there are people who will do it for you. So don't assume that you also have to do it.

#6. ORGANISER
This means everything from a cover reveal to a release date to a giveaway or anything else that works alongside being a promoter. I have to do all of that myself, and if I miss a step, then it's me who pays for it. This can eat away at your time and you find yourself stuck with no time to get it done. It's not something to take for granted.

#7. TAXES ETC
Because I'm pretty much self-employed, I'm the one that has to make sure that I both get paid, but also pay my taxes and all of that. I have someone I employ who keeps track of what I owe and when. You don't have to pay someone, but personally it took a lot off my own shoulders to have someone who knew what they were doing cover that.

#8 PERSONAL CHEERLEADER
This one may seem frivolous, but it's not. There are days when I really struggle and days when I exceed my expectations. On the days when it's hard, I need to be my own cheerleader, to remind myself why I do this. It helps to have me in my corner.

#9 SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
When I first started writing there wasn't really any social media. In the time since I've been published, it's started to creep up and now I find myself juggling several different platforms and trying to stay on top of the tweets and messages and all the rest. I may not be an expert, but I'm doing the best I can.

And finally, #10 GENERAL ADMIN
This is for things like emails and chasing up reviews and the like. I spend a lot of time writing blog posts and vlog scripts, recording videos, and editing and captioning them. It's all stuff that benefits me as a writer but it's still one of the jobs that needs to be mentioned.

So there we have it, the ten hats that an indie author (and a lot of other authors) wear. I find it hard some days, but others it seems to be a breeze. Today is a mix of the two. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Happy Monday everyone!


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, 26 July 2019

Interview with Eva Pohler & Review of Gods Of Olympus


I am delighted to welcome Eva Pohler to the blog for both an interview and my review of her book - Gods Of Olympus. Here's a little about Eva:


Eva Pohler is a USA Today bestselling author of twenty-five novels in multiple genres, including mysteries, thrillers, and young adult fantasy based on Greek mythology. Whichever genre you prefer, you will always find an exciting adventure in Eva Pohler's books.

And onto the interview!

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
Twenty years ago, when I wrote The Mystery Box, I would have said Yvette. But now I'm more like Ellen and her hilarious middle aged friends in The Mystery House Series. I describe that series as Nancy Drew meets The Golden Girls because it's about three friends who flip haunted houses and feel compelled to solve the mysteries surrounding them, to bring peace to the ghosts. So they go amateur sleuthing like the characters in Nancy Drew, but the themes and conflicts are more relatable to middle aged women.

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
I write in multiple genres because I read multiple genres. I'm really bad at choosing favorites.

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Simple yet vibrant.

What was the first story you ever told?
The first one I remember telling was in response to a high school English assignment. We were told to write a folktale or legend, so I came up with a story explaining how the sun came to be in the sky. The Dungeons and Dragons group at our school asked if they could publish it in their newsletter. It was my first taste of being a writer with actual fans.

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
Yes. Always. For as long as I can recall.

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!
I now have two spaces, and both are in family rooms. I prefer writing at a laptop with my feet up. Sometimes I write in the living room at what everyone calls my chair. The living room is a centrally located pass-through space in our open floorplan. I chose this location when my kids were young because I wanted to keep an eye on everyone. Now that my kids are adults (and still living with me), I tend to hide out in the family den in my recliner.

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?
I don't listen to music as I write, but I probably would if someone made me a playlist and played it for me. If I did listen to music, it would be soundtracks from favorite musicals, like Fiddler on the Roof and Phantom of the Opera. I often hum, though.

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
Facebook, mainly for the writers' groups.

Where do you hang out most online?
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Do you have a favourite app for writing?
No. I just use Word.

Organised or not?
Very, though I may not look it.

What's your favourite book you've read?
As I mentioned before, I'm not good at choosing favorites. I love too many things. But, the book I usually mention when asked this question is Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver.

Morning or evening writer?
Day and evening.

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


The sound of nearby footsteps in the grass startles you awake. You blink rapidly as your eyes adjust to the sunlight and you become aware of a formidable figure standing over you. He is wearing golden armor—a breast plate and knee guards, along with a sword sheathed at his hip. Beside the figure is a golden chariot and horses that seem plucked right out of a fairy tale. You blink again, but the formidable figure and his exotic chariot remain.

“Hello,” the figure says. “My name is [choose one]
Zeus.”
Poseidon.”
Hades.”


You are the main character in this encounter with the Olympians. Throughout the narrative, you make choices that change the course of the story. Which god or goddess will Cupid make your love interest? You decide. Then, to prove you're worthy to become immortal, so that you can remain with your love interest, will you face Cerberus or the Hydra? Will you offer cakes or strike with the sword loaned to you by Athena? How will you steal a golden apple from the garden of the Hesperides, and who will help you through the Minotaur's labyrinth, and which god or goddess will comfort you if you fail?

My Review: 5 stars
I loved the choose your own adventure books as a kid, but could never get through the whole book because I kept choosing wrong! I loved this version of them, where you could go back easily and restart and make different choices. I played several versions, finding myself drawn to the story even when bedtime came around. I ended up playing through to the end and thoroughly enjoying myself! An amazing story and highly recommended to people who enjoy this kind of thing, and even those who don't, because you'll be surprised at how addictive it is!

You can follow Eva on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube.

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, 23 July 2019

#TeaserTuesday


Tara is adjusting to life with a loving boyfriend and a father who needs her home. But that doesn't mean that there's not time for dates, right?



And don't forget the Pre-order SWAG: https://forms.gle/5tundLE6FUTGjAF67

[ID: A background of a waterfall with the heading Dying Thoughts -Eighth Ending and the release date as October 9th 2019. The excerpt reads:

 “Yes, teachers, they seem to think we should stay for the whole lesson,” he joked. I chuckled and my grin got wider. “We going back to yours?”
“I er… I dunno. I think my dad has another agent to interview, so it might be all clear or he might be doing it at home.”
“And we do have a date later,” he said.
“We do. I believe someone suggested dinner and a movie?”
“He did. So what time?”
“Shall we say about six? Dad’s gotten a bit weird about me being out too late, so dinner might have to be the drive-thru at McD’s.”


END ID]

Monday, 22 July 2019

Authortube: Growing Your Channel


AUTHORTUBE: GROWING YOUR CHANNEL

I've been on Authortube now for a little under three years. I'm not someone to turn to when it comes to advice about making it big, but to be honest, I haven't. I have just over 300 subs and even then I don't get a ton of interaction. I've talked about authortube before and the pieces for that are found here, here and here.

However, I can tell you the ways in which I've learned since starting about how to grow your channel. I'm just being upfront that it takes time and that if you go about it the wrong way, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot. Youtube is not for everyone and growing an author platform can be an arduous task. I've been doing this for over a decade and I'm still very much a small fish simply because I either made mistakes early on, or I took too long to correct those mistakes once I started to get noticed.

I'm telling you this because I feel like being transparent about where I'm coming from is a very good idea. It's no good me telling you that doing x and y works because I'm still very new to this myself. It would feel like a bad thing to do and doesn't help you at all. And that's not what I'm about. My Monday advice pieces have always been about my experience and in that regard, so is this one. So, what are my tips when it comes to growing your authortube channel?

#1 INTERACT WITH OTHER AUTHORTUBERS
This is a big one because a lot of the time, it's word of mouth that will get you in front of new viewers. Don't do what I did, and make the videos, upload them and then sit and wait for people to roll in and watch because that doesn't happen. Not only will you make friends and writer buddies but you'll also get an idea of what content works and how to tailor your own to spread your message to authortube.

#2 TAGS, TAGS AND MORE TAGS
This is part of number one in that you want to be taking part in tags. Whether that's the newbie tags, which are a great way to introduce yourself to the world of Authortube, or other tags that you've seen and decided to do yourself. It's even a good idea to use those friendships from point one and create your own unique tags that then go around the community. It's a way to get yourself noticed and a way to find your own little niche of Authortube as a whole.

#3 MAKE YOUR OWN MARK WITH YOUR CONTENT

There are certain types of videos that do well. Whether that's advice videos, or writing vlogs, or even tags, you're going to find that there are a lot of ideas out there, but as to whether or not you decide to follow the trend or try and make your own is up to you. Personally, I shied away from a lot of the general advice topics and stuck to things about my own writing process and titbits of advice that I personally knew a lot about, such as writing disabled characters or writing crime scenes, or dealing with that self-esteem gremlin. I didn't stick to just plain old writing advice, and it's okay if you choose to do that, it can be very popular, but you might find it hard to be heard over the crowds of people already doing just that.

#4 GO WITH THE CROWD... SOMEWHAT

By this I mean that if you find something that works and that you do well, then by all means go with it. I don't mean taking someone else's topic each week and doing it the same, especially if it's something you don't know a lot about and find yourself mirroring their talking points. That's not going to help you grow your channel, it's just gonna make you look bad. So by all means, do all the tags and give out advice, just do it in your own style and personal way.

And finally, #5 BE PATIENT

I put this here simply because it takes a lot of time, energy and videos to get a huge following. I've heard that once you hit 1K, things seem to snowball from there, but I'm nowhere near that point and I know other channels that aren't either. It takes time. Just keep putting your videos out there, interacting, being polite and genuine and you'll find yourself growing bit by bit. It's worth it in the end, I promise.

So those are my tips when it comes to growing your channel. I'm still navigating the pathways and I don't know if or when I'll get to a point where I have a huge audience. I do know that I love making the videos and I am grateful for the few commenter and watchers that I have. I've found Authortube to be wholly positive and while we have our drama from time to time, the more people I meet, the more at home I feel.

So good luck, and remember that final point. It will take time, 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, 19 July 2019

Interview with Zarina Macha & Review of Anne


I am delighted to welcome Zarina Macha to the blog for both an interview and my review of her newest release - Anne. Here's a little about Zarina!

Zarina Macha is an author, blogger and musician born and raised in London, UK. She studied Songwriting and Creative Artistry at The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. She regularly writes a social comment blog titled 'The Zarina Macha Blog.' In her spare time she loves reading and fan-girling over Game of Thrones.

She has published three books; 'Every Last Psycho', a YA compilation of two novellas, 'Art is a Waste of Time', a collection of her poetry, and ‘Anne’, a YA coming-of-age novel. For more information about her please visit www.zarinamacha.co.uk.


And onto the interview

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
I don’t directly base characters on myself, however I do embed elements of my own life into the characters. My fiction is based around troubled teenage girls going through external and internal hardships, which of course is personal to me but relatable to most of the population.

In my novel ‘Anne’, the character I relate to the most is Simone, who befriends Anne when they are at Lakeland Boarding School together. Simone is very similar to me; talkative, smart, upbeat, musical and good-hearted. She also struggles with depression and an alcohol problem, as does Tess in ‘Every Last Thought’, which is pretty close to home.

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
I write contemporary Young Adult fiction which I read a lot of growing up (it’s not that long ago that I was a teenager). I read many of the popular YA authors; Meg Cabot, Sarah Manning, Sarah Dessen, Cathy Hopkins, Cathy Cassiday, and the dreaded Stephanie Meyer. (Loved Twilight back then, hate it now).

Don’t tend to read much YA now, but an author I’ve grown to love these past few years who is branded YA is Louise O’Neill; I’ve read all four of her published books and eagerly await her next ones! I love her stories because she breaks down clich├ęs and explores heavy themes for young women that we don’t see enough of. I often found a lot of happily-ever-after/all-girls-stick-together themes in the YA books I read, and wanted to write about the gritty realism of being a young person and how painful growing up can be.

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Intense, character-driven, candid.

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
Yes, yes, and yes. Have been writing since I was a little kid. It’s branched out into various forms; fictional prose, poetry, song lyrics; creative non-fiction. Words are my passion.

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
Facebook has been very useful to me due to the networking I’ve achieved through contacting fellow bloggers and authors (like you). There are loads of support groups for writers which contain useful information about blog tours, beta readers, ARC reviews, where to get a good editor/cover designer, and loads more. FB networking has been hugely helpful to me.

Organised or not?
I’m very organised! I’m someone who works better with things being neatly ordered and filed and listed. In my ‘Documents’ folder I have three folders; one for stories and author stuff, one for general documents, and one containing other people’s works I may be reading/editing.

Then I have separate folders for all my stories, and folders within the folders e.g. I have a folder for ‘Anne’ within ‘Stories and Author Stuff’, and then folders for each draft, and then for the final edition a folder containing all the covers….

What's your favourite book you've read?
Oh God, that’s too big a question. I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See, a beautiful story I’m reading incredibly slowly due to being so busy re-arranging my folders. I usually say my all-time favourite is On Beauty by Zadie Smith, which I read when I was twelve. I love the simplicity of the storyline and the richness of the prose.

Actually, I recently re-read Maya Running, one of my favourite childhood books, which is about this Indian girl raised in Canada who is having an identity crises and prays to her cousin’s magic statue of Ganesh to make her life better. Of course, the wishes come true, she realises what a terrible mistake she’s made and it goes back to normal. But it’s honestly a beautiful story and the writing is amazing – I read it so many times growing up and the magic is still there.

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




‘Are you okay, Mummy? Did Daddy hurt you again?’

Anne Mason’s childhood in Richmond emulates suburban bliss, with a wealthy father and a loving mother. But behind the polished windows, Anne’s father terrorizes her mother, shattering their utopian home life with beatings and beer. Home-schooled on a diet of books and museums, knowledge becomes Anne’s only saviour.

One night her dad comes home with the news that her mother has left them forever. Unable to care for his daughter, Anne is sent to live with her kindly aunt and uncle. Struggling to settle into day school, Anne enrolls in Lakeland Boarding School. She meets and falls for gentle Karen, whose friends torment Anne and her troubled roommate Simone.

Forced to confront her traumatic upbringing, Anne learns the horrors of the past and present. Will love, hope, and inner strength prevail?

My review: 5 stars
I picked this up as it caught my eye and the blurb sounded very interesting. It pulled me in from the first page, going back through Anne's short life, the trouble she'd faced and the way her life had changed. I adored the character, the way she stood up for herself even when presented with difficult choices, and the way she stayed true to herself. Beautifully written and heartbreaking in places, an amazing story and one that touches very much on mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself and others. I very much recommend it!

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

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

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

#TeaserTuesday


Lock knows there's a file missing, but she can't work out how, or why, or who. Something is amiss.


BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/LOUT


[ID: A graphic of a burnt out light bulb with the title of Lights Out and just below the words: Out Now in paperback and ebook. The excerpt reads:

I knew that he wouldn’t be able to just tell me to me to let it go. If it wasn’t down at the wire, we might have been able to leave it for the day, but with the notices due to go out in four hours, we couldn’t risk someone not getting their due process.
“Are you sure it wasn’t a mistake?” he asked, checking each file as he went down the list.
“You tell me, you said fifteen, which is why you wanted Lana to double up with me,” I said. “I could’ve sworn there were fifteen names yesterday when I left for work and now after the server crash…”


END ID]

Monday, 15 July 2019

5 Facts About My Current WIP: I'll See You Thru


5 FACTS ABOUT MY CURRENT WIP: I'LL SEE YOU THRU

Last week I talked about my other WIP (piece found here) and this week I promised to delve deep into I'll See You Thru, so without further ado, here we go!

I'll See You Thru is a young adult paranormal romance. It tells the story of seventeen year old, Ayla who wakes up one morning to find herself completely translucent. She can't touch or grip things easily and with her first year of A-level exams coming up in a couple of weeks, she's desperate to find the cause and undo it somehow. Unable to confide in her friends, she keeps it mostly to herself. Until she spots a girl she's seen around school, but never really gotten to know. Freya. And the thing that catches Ayla's eyes is that Freya is translucent too.

This book is definitely a standalone and I am loving getting to explore a new world and new characters along the way, so I know you're desperate to know, but here's five facts about I'll See You Thru!

#1 AYLA STRUGGLES TO BALANCE THINGS WITH HER FRIENDS

When she wakes up and realises her life has changed completely, the first thing on her mind is what to tell her parents. It's only when she realises they can't see her translucent state that she starts to calm down a little. She barely gets a chance to think about what it means before she's at school, acting a little spaced out. Her friends, Jin and Dani, obviously notice and want to know what's wrong. Ayla tells them the first lie she can think of, but it soon becomes clear that they don't believe her. She doesn't really know what to do about that and finds herself telling more lies which come back to bite her in the arse. She finds herself distanced from her friends and unsure how to deal with that.

#2 FREYA ISN'T ALL SHE SEEMS

While Ayla has noticed Freya over the years at school, she never really spent time getting to know her. Because of that it takes her a while to break through the protective barriers Freya has. Having been used to being a loner, Freya isn't unfriendly, she's just not sure what she can do to help Ayla beyond telling her what she knows and hoping Ayla won't judge her for it. Along the way, Ayla learns a lot about Freya and finds herself falling in love with her, but she's not sure if Freya has been completely open with her.

#3 NAVIGATING THE PARANORMAL WORLD ISN'T EASY

Ayla never really believed there was a paranormal world before all this dropped in her lap. It's especially hard to process when everything else going on around her continues as normal. She knows what happened to her is real, but even with Freya's help she feels like she's completely out of her depth. Going against people she has no idea about and struggling to save herself, but also not lose Freya in the process.

#4 THE EXAMS ARE FAST APPROACHING

Ayla has never been someone who did well with pressure. Especially when it came in the guise of an exam. She struggled through her GCSEs but now with AS exams, she can't help but feel like she's going to explode from it all. She can't ignore her translucent state and she's not going to abandon Freya when she needs her most, but there feels like there's no end in sight and it's all getting worse with every day that passes. On top of that, her parents are starting to notice just how little studying she does. She's trying to juggle her normal life with the abnormal changes and something has to give.

#5 THERE'S ONLY ONE SOLUTION AYLA WILL USE
Out of everything going on, there's only one solution that Ayla will accept. She wants her life back, but she doesn't want to sell Freya out to get that. She's sure of a lot of things, and that is one of them. The only ending she will be happy with is one that sees them both changed back, the curse lifted and the chance to explore their romance as regular people. Of course the easiest answer is the wrong one, and Ayla will fight tooth and nail for the one she sees as right.

So there we have it, five facts about my other current WIP. Like I said above, I'm loving getting to explore this new world and I'm hopeful that it will all go well. What are five facts about your current WIP? Share them in the comments below!


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