Monday, 31 August 2020

The Trials of a Crime Writer: Running Out Of Ideas


THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS

I've talked about similar topics like this one before (found here), but I still wanted to touch on this one. There's always this fear as a writer, of any genre, but crime in particular, that you will run out of ideas, and your career will be over and oh no, that's it, you're done. The truth of the matter is that mostly, as you going along your writing journey, you will find new ideas no matter where you are. Life is very good at inspiring artists of all kinds.

But what happens when you run into the issue of you've actually not written in months and you have no idea what to write or where to go, and this time it's seriously bad, and you don't think you'll ever write again? I have a piece planned next week to discuss part of that in more detail, which is burnout, but sticking to the topic for today, is it possible to run out of ideas and if so, what can you do?

I'm gonna give you some tips I've picked up along the way and hopefully, they'll be of some help to you. If you're someone who's overflowing with ideas, then feel free to share how you come across them in the comments below. But moving onto my tips!

#1 IS THIS ACTUALLY WRITING RELATED?
This is a question I ask myself often because, as you all know, I'm disabled with several chronic conditions that make it hard for me to manage a lot of the time. So asking myself this, especially when I'm trying to brainstorm the next book or what not, is key, because you're checking in with yourself both mentally and emotionally, about whether or not the ideas aren't coming because of some external issue.

Like on bad mental health days, or bad pain days, or when something major is happening in my personal life, all of those things are perfectly valid and can drain you from the topic at hand. Knowing whether it really is writing related or not, is key to being able to move forward onto the next step, because if it isn't writing related, then you have your answer. You take the time you need to deal with whatever it is, and you give yourself a much needed break from other things.

#2 WHAT IS THE WRITING ISSUE?
This might sound like a dumb question because if you knew what the issue was, then you wouldn't be running out of ideas, right? Well, yes and no. If it's a writing issue in that you're in the midst of revising, or editing or anything else like that, then it can just be that your plate is a little full to be tackling this right now, and that's okay.

If it's not something like that, then you need to be asking yourself more questions, like, am I wanting to write something different? Is there a new genre I'm desperate to try? Or even, is the genre I'm in the issue right now? And so on. This can lead to a whole bunch of other answers that you can follow along the way until you get to the root of the issue.

For example, when I write, I don't try and hem myself in too much to genre. For a long time I did do that, I stuck to crime/mystery with hints of paranormal, but I didn't always have the ideas that fit that genre. And so I gave myself permission to brain storm other genres, and there we have it, I'm not a multi-genre author while still under the YA category.

#3 DOES BRAINSTORMING HELP OR HINDER?
I ask myself this because if it helps, then it might just be that you have a lot going on and need to get it all out on the page and work out where it fits later on. If you have a bunch of unconnected ideas, write them out, thought-dump them, and see if any of them can be connected to each other.

If brainstorming is hindering your process, then maybe it's a sign that you're burnt out which isn't a bad thing. I'd suggest taking a small break and letting yourself breathe without all that pressure to be creating and writing and everything that goes along with it. It might feel like you're doing the wrong thing, but I promise you it's better to take that break than end up fully burned out. Been there, done that, it was not fun.

And finally, #4 DO CERTAIN THINGS INSPIRE ME, AND HAVE I DONE THEM RECENTLY?
This can be anything from reading within your genre of choice, or taking a shower, or going for a walk/wheel and seeing what you can find that might spark your ideas going. Like right now I have just come out of lockdown from COVID. I'm considered vulnerable to the virus so have been in lockdown since the start of March. I am super excited about getting to go out of my house and see if that sparks any new ideas.

And for some reason, having my hair did is another thing that inspires me, and I have that booked (first one since February) for September 4th and I'm so looking forward to it. Doing the kinds of things that have inspired you, is a good step to take and see what comes from that.

Just remember to take breaks, be kind to yourself and also know that the ideas are out there, it just might take you a little time to get them all put together.

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, 28 August 2020

Review of From The Dust by AR Colbert

IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYTHING IS DONE "FOR THE GREATER GOOD," EXPOSING THE TRUTH IS A DEATH WISH.

Life isn't easy for Claren Greenwood. Her mother was killed by rebels, her father was exiled, and her brother is walking dangerously close to a similar fate. But Claren has a rare skill, and once the government identifies her as an Empath her world is flipped on its head.

Now Claren finds herself straddling two worlds--one begging her to work for "The Greater Good," and the other threatening to tear it all apart.

With the help of a tall, handsome Outsider and a house full of other Empaths training for government work, Claren must discover the truth in order to save her brother and countless other lives.

And she must do it without losing the trust of either side.

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS
I picked up this book because I loved the idea of an empath in a dystopian world. I was hooked from the first page, and adored Claren and her brother, adored the world Colbert has created and the way it works. I also picked up the second in the series because once I finished the first there was no way I could wait to find out what happens next! The story was beautifully told, engaging, had me flicking through the pages and I read it in one sitting. Overall, super excited about book 2 and will be following this series, and this author closely! Highly recommended!

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 August 2020

#TeaserTuesday

 

Jessie can't control the visions, but she knows that it's something serious...




[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:
 
“Sai, they're threatening our daughter! You’ve no choice. If you don't do this, then Meera will pay the price,” the woman pleaded. “You can't go to the police, but you can't risk our child, Sai! Listen to reason please!”
“And what happens to Meera when her father is arrested? What happens to you? What happens to us?” Sai said. 
 
At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of www.joeypaulonline.com and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.

END ID]

 

 

Monday, 24 August 2020

Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge - Writing Gray, Craig & Rowena


WRITING GRAY, CRAIG AND ROWENA

With Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge coming out on October 13th (pre-order here) I thought I would continue to share with you about what it was like writing three of the other characters since I already wrote about Jessie and Meera (found here). If you don't know, this book is a YA Urban Fantasy and the first in a series, with chronic illness rep and a bunch of other fun things.

The plot is simply that Jessie is fifteen, newly disabled with M.E and Fibromyalgia. She's a full-time wheelchair user and has to start a brand new school because of accessibility issues. A few months before the book starts, Jessie started to feel certain people's physical and emotional pain, she's an empath, and has no idea what lays ahead for her.

Let's start with Gray, he's Jessie's best friend.

WRITING GRAY
Gray had always been one character that I felt very in tune with. He gets Jessie on so many levels and he wants what's best for her, even if he struggles a little with adapting to the change of Jessie no longer being at school with him every day. Gray is aro/ace, lives down the road from Jessie, and is usually there at her place when school finishes.

Gray's the best friend that everyone wants, he grew up with Jessie in that they've been friends since primary school and from there, they've both grown close and gone through all those friendship ups and downs. Gray's the one who works out that Jessie is having some level of pain from him, as one of her triggers Gray wants to make sure that he minimises her pain, but at the same time, he is intrigued by it all. He wants to know more, wants to see where it'll take them, and he's the one that does most of the digging online and off to see if there's a name for what Jessie is experiencing, but also if she's the only one out there.

WRITING CRAIG
Craig was a loner, he knew people at the new school Jessie starts at, but he's always been happily on his own. People misjudge him and when Jessie ends up in his tutor group, he's happy to be the first to actually say hi, and then help her to her first class of the day. Craig's younger sister is disabled, so he's an expert at guiding a wheelchair which is a plus for Jessie since she's not yet got that strength to push herself all over the school.

Craig was a delight to write, I felt like he was another one that I was very much in tune with. He's witty and smart, but he sees things in a very black and white way. There are no shades of grey, you're either doing the right thing, or you're not, and he doesn't have time for people not doing the right thing. Overall, he's someone that should I be fifteen and back at school in my current condition, I'd want on my side.

WRITING ROWENA
Rowena is shy, timid, and another one of those loners. She's not the kind of person who'll call attention to herself and she's not likely to say hello or anything like that. The change comes when she's defending someone she cares about and when that happens, watch out because she will blow her top. Affectionately dubbed Roe by Gray, it's a name she embraces and she's there to both support and help Jessie through these tough times.

Rowena was someone I loved writing because she had that soft exterior but yet was ready to jump in and defend Jessie or any of her friends when the need arose, and she could be brittle, icy and stiff if the need arose. I loved exploring her character and as the series progresses I love writing Roe's character arc.

So there we go, that's some snippets about the other three characters in the first book, and don't forget to pre-order it here. Do you have any questions? Lemme know 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

Friday, 21 August 2020

Review of The Nocere by Hearth Carson

A Dystopian future, a world forgotten, a twisted eternal paradise...

After portals were built to access the spirit realm, humans abandoned the world to escape their earthly existence. All that remains for the few living souls left behind is a haunting reminder of life forgotten. The realm is a magical place where rules are scarce and vices are plenty.

Fawn was born an orphan and forced into years of indentured servitude within the realm. She has seen the dark side of humanity, but her job at The Nocere requires her to serve a new kind of evil. As events unfold that push her toward her destiny, she must face the monsters of her past to save the ones she loves.

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because the second book caught my eye and I wanted to read  the series in order, and holy moly, was I in for a serious ride! The world has portals allowing you to escape to the afterlife and move in between worlds. Fawn and her friends are contracted by the mafia because they were abandoned as kids to grow up in an emptying world. I adored this book from the first page and as it moved on, I was hooked. The characters were engaging and lifelike, the world building amazingly done, and overall a hell of a good book. I can’t wait to read the second! Highly recommended!

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 August 2020

#TeaserTuesday

 

Jessie doesn't want to risk telling her friends about her empath abilities...




[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:

This had to be my worst idea ever. Yes, I needed to keep working on a way to solve Meera's family problems, that wasn't the bad idea. The bad idea had been listening to Gray, and not thinking more about how to approach the subject. Now I stood the chance of losing the only two friends I had at this school, along with having to put up with Miss Trigger Point.

At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of www.joeypaulonline.com and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.

END ID]

 

Monday, 17 August 2020

How I Plan - The Creative Process


HOW I PLAN

I've done a piece on how I edit (which can be found here) but I wanted to also do something about how I plan, not my time, I've done multiple pieces on that (found here and here) but on planning my books. I've told people before that I am neither a planner nor a pantser, but someone who falls in the middle, and as I've met other authors I've found that a lot of people sit somewhere in the middle. So how do I approach planning when I'm about to start a new project? How do I know how much is needed? And how do I know what to do with this minimal information? Let's start with the first one and work our way through.

HOW DO I APPROACH PLANNING?
From the first book I wrote, to the ones I write now, my planning has stayed very similar. It's been honed and grown, but it's along the same lines. The way I work for planning is simply a chapter plan and character notecards. The chapter plan is the main item when it comes to my planning, and how I do this is pretty easy.

I start with a blank word document, I have some idea of the plot points I need to meet, and hit and whereabouts in the the story it needs to be. I write out a line, no more than a sentence, and will write down bits and pieces that will trigger an idea in me. I also make sure that along with that I have the day of the week this chapter happens on. I didn't do this from the beginning but as I grew as a writer I knew that I was losing continuity especially when revising the books.

I will have some idea of how long the book will be and so will know how many chapters there needs to be, and from there I'll work on characters. The way I start planning characters is the main cast all get a notecard, from there I'll add a few other people that I know will be important. Since I write YA, this usually means the parents and any siblings and such.

I don't know ALL the characters that will come up, because of a lot of that happens in the drafting process and when I create a new one they get a notecard and along we go. For my notecards I'll have a general description, age, gender, pronouns, sexuality, and such like that and go from there!

HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH IS NEEDED?

This is really a simple one because for me, it's been a lot of books and from there I've learned just how much I need to know before I can get started. Like I need to know the majority of the main plot, some of it can be vague but other parts are not. If I'm writing a crime/mystery then I need to know what's going on with said crime or mystery, I need to know the bad guy and what they'll be doing to avoid getting caught. I need to know when said crimes will be done and whether or not there are external forces that will impact the story as a whole.

But overall, I know how much is needed because I've been doing it for a long time, and I'm just good at knowing how much information I personally need to be able to write effectively and not get stuck, or end up with a book that will be a nightmare to revise and such.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS MINIMAL INFORMATION?
Again, this is kinda simple in that it comes with knowing my writing process, and how my brain works. Like I usually know the beginning, the middle, but I rarely know the very end, the more I write, the better I get at knowing how to use the information effectively. Like if I have an idea for what needs to happen in this book, then I'll also be able to work out how to weave in foreshadowing, or allowing myself to go down a little path at some point that might not lead anywhere, but might also bring me the best ideas yet.

It's about knowing myself, my writing process, and how I work best. Every writer is different, we all create in our own ways and that's okay. So for me planning is something that'll take a couple of hours at most and then I can easily jump into the story and off I go drafting.

I will just add that while I don't outline extensively for drafting, I do outline when it comes to revising because I need to know what's going to be cut, what works, what doesn't, what needs to be rewritten and the like. And for that I do a similar way of doing things, but add more details to the chapter plan.

How do you plan? Lemme know in the comments down 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

Friday, 14 August 2020

Review of Witch Condemned by Valia Lind

I never thought I’d kill a man - but now there’s blood on my hands.

All my life, I have done what is asked of me. I studied hard, I trained, I worked to create the strongest spells the coven has ever seen. My one purpose was to make my parents proud.

But then, my best friend is murdered and I am blamed for her death. Except I knew who killed her, so I took the matters into my own hands.

Now, I’m an inmate at one of the notorious supernatural prisons, with nothing but my skills to keep me alive.

This is not a place to make friends. Especially not with the mysterious shifter who’s been assigned to guard me.

But I’m determined to get out. And to clear my name. Because the killer was sent by someone much worse and my family, and our way of life, are in danger.

My name is Cordelia Keller, inmate number 483285, and I’ve got a plan.

My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because I loved the premise, the cover, all of it screamed out to be that it’d be an amazing read, and from the first page, I wasn’t disappointed. Fast paced, and packed full of delightful world-building, it drew me in and I ended up finishing it in one sitting, and wow that ending almost killed me!! I adore Lind’s way of weaving together plot, characters and everything else in between. The book was a quick read for me, but one I very much enjoyed! Overall, will be reading more in this series and following this author! Highly recommended!

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 August 2020

#TeaserTuesday

 

Jessie seems to be having some luck with making friends, even if everything else is off...




[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:

“Rowena,” she said, with a small smile. She spoke quietly still, and that made me think she wasn't usually someone who approached a stranger. “Where do you want the table?”
“Along the back row would be awesome, thanks,” I said.
She moved the table with ease, making sure to line it up with the others. “That okay?” she asked, stepping back.
“That's perfect, thanks.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of www.joeypaulonline.com and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.

END ID]

 

Monday, 10 August 2020

15 Years As An Author - The Creative Process


15 YEARS AS AN AUTHOR

I know I've done a video on this, which can be found here, but since the 10th falls on a Monday this year, it made sense to do a blog post as well. For those who don't know, on August 10th 2005, my d├ębut novel was released into the world for the first time! That makes it 15 years since I officially became an author. I've celebrated this day every year since that first authorversry but this one seems extra special because 15 years is a long time!

I could do the same as my video and talk about what I've done over that time, but I don't wanna be repeating myself so instead I'm gonna take you back 15 years and talk about that release day. Things were different then, the world wasn't in lockdown, and I lived in a one bedroom flat with B and a very young Miss D who'd been born the previous October. I had my release day party in B's three bedroom flat, because I had a bunch of friends who came over to celebrated with me. It was a three day party and while I've never done a lauch party since, it is a very good memory, even though a lot of the people present are no longer in my friend circles.

So imagine this, I was a younger Joey, 23 years old, and finally getting to have my first book out on shelves and on Amazon. I had longer hair, and wasn't in a wheelchair to the extent that I am now. My lungs were a lot more stable, so not on oxygen. I hadn't even thought of things like Authortube or the like. I was a baby author and there weren't things like ebooks, so Blackout was only in paperback.

And while it's been re-editied and relaunched since then, I still do have one of those first paperbacks and it's signed by everyone who was there that day and it's a nice thing to have. Fast forward to 2011, and I was releasing Blackout on KDP and taking the indie author title in my hands and calling it mine. I also released my second book, and from there planned to release one book a year.

And I haven't really looked back since, I've released almost eighteen books, which my eighteenth coming out on October 13th! I have them all in paperback and ebook and am wide across all platforms. On top of that, I've had new covers for the earlier books and am now making sure I have a good cover before it's ever seen by people. I've gotten an author platform, started this blog, and have been posting and writing, and my whole routine has changed when it comes to both releases and writing.

When I wrote Blackout, I'd had the idea for so long that it just poured out of me. Writing my third book, I was realising that it was going to take me longer and longer to finish them because I hadn't been holding that idea in my head for a good six years before I put pen to paper. I have switched from handwriting to typing full time. I have drafted over thirty books, and am about half way through two others. I have my routine that works well for me. I draft two books, revise another and am usually in editing stages with another, depending on the time of year.

Overall, this has been an amazing ride to be on, and I can't wait to see what the next five, ten, fifteen years mean for me as an author. I love that this is my job, love that I get to create worlds and characters and all of that. And I love that my readers have been here along for the ride. Long may it continue!

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 August 2020

Review of The Friar's Lantern by Greg Hickey



You may win $1,000,000.

You will judge a man of murder.


An eccentric scientist tells you he can read your mind and offers to prove it in a high-stakes wager. A respected college professor exacts impassioned, heat-of-the-moment revenge on his wife's killer—a week after her death—and you're on the jury.

Take a Turing test with a twist, discover how your future choices might influence the past, and try your luck at Three Card Monte. And while you weigh chance, superstition, destiny, intuition and logic in making your decisions, ask yourself: are you responsible for your actions at all?

So choose wisely—if you can.

My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up having enjoyed the choose your own adventure books in the past. I loved the idea of solving a murder and also winning the money, and was happy to settle in and go along for the ride. I loved that the character was likeable, that the choices were easy enough to choose between and even though there were some when I thought I might choose differently, going back and forth, I adored the set up and the read through. Very much an exciting story and one that I would read again. Recommended to all those who love choosing their own adventures and crime fiction as well!

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, 4 August 2020

#TeaserTuesday


Jessie has a plan to help Meera with her pain...




[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:

“What?” Gray said, sounding confused. “What are you talking about?”
I opened my eyes. “I'm talking about fixing the pain. If I solve the root of it, the cause, then Meera never has to know, right? That way she won't be hurting and neither will I. It's a genius idea, Gray, trust you to come up with it.”
“I didn't come up with that!” he protested.
“Well, it's a genius idea anyway.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of www.joeypaulonline.com and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.

END ID]

Monday, 3 August 2020

Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge - Writing Jessie & Meera


WRITING JESSIE & MEERA

I am super excited about the release of the first book in my new Urban Fantasy series, Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge, and part of that excitement is getting to revisit the characters and remember how it felt writing them, their dynamics and everything in between. Today I'm gonna focus on the main character Jessie, and her love interest and the source of her pain, Meera.

Now if you don't know, the series is about newly disabled Jessie Oliver, who's 15, and in a wheelchair with chronic conditions while also having discovered that she has the ability to feel other people's pain. She's an empath and while to begin with she's not all that sold on it meaning anything, she soon finds out that it has a big meaning in both her life, and the world around her.

So starting with Jessie, let's talking writing characters.

JESSIE
Jessie is a character that I've wanted to write for such a long time. I always knew her name, and I always knew that she, like me, would have both M.E and Fibromyalgia, but I didn't really know her story. It was only when I had the idea for an empath and the world around her, that she really came to shape in my mind, and on the page.  Jessie was a joy to write, I always felt like I could easily channel her thoughts and feelings without really needing to think about it too much. And the idea of being an empath while also having her own pain gave a new level to the story that I think really made it work so well.

I knew from that start of the book that I wanted Jessie to have a love interest, I haven't tagged it as romance because it's only the first book, and while their relationship grows, I also wanted to take my time with it, being that I'm someone who does the same in my own romantic relationships. There was, of course, always the possibility that Meera didn't start to let Jessie in, because as you may know, a lot of my writing time is spent being driven by the characters on the page, rather than me always knowing what lies ahead.

I will say that ending to this book was completely different to what happened in the first draft, but I adore what I came up with, and I'm super happy with how it's come together in edits. Jessie is an amazing character and one that's very close to my heart because of her name. I lost a friend in 2008 who I'd known as Jessie Oliver, but I won't give you her real name. Anyway, that's why Jessie is named for her, and given the way my Jessie acted, she'd be very happy to have lived on in the pages of one of my books, though the similarities end there. It's just a name, not a whole personality.

MEERA
Meera was a hard one to get a read on, a lot of what happens in the book didn't really come to a conclusion until I'd gone through revisions and editing. I knew that Meera had her own problems, had her own secrets, and was, of course, a source of pain for Jessie, not just because Meera seems to hate her for no reason. Meera is snarky, a little bitter and while she mellows the more she hangs out with Jessie and her friends, there's a good reason for her hard exterior.

At the end of everything, Meera finally happier in her life and surrounded by friends that she hadn't seen coming, she and Jessie make a cute couple, and I loved writing the bits and pieces that brought it to that conclusion.

Overall, I adored writing both, and keep an eye out for the other characters in the coming weeks! You can pre-order Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge here, or sign up to be an ARC reader here.

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