The light at the end of the (cluttered) tunnel

lolcat paperwork

I think anyone who’s read Junk will know that decluttering is something very much on my mind. I blame my dad who’s a major hoarder (although kept under control by my mum who isn’t), and who has passed on his hoarding tendencies to all three of his daughters.

I’m actually doing much better than either of my sisters in terms of resisting clutter and object accumulation, thanks in a large part to reading the wonderful The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Yes, the Japanese lady might be quite bonkers, but a lot of what she advocates really resonates with me. I’ve been increasingly asking myself whether my possessions are actually bringing me joy, and most of the time the answer is a resounding NO!!! I’m now finding it much easier to let go of broken things I’m never really going to get fixed, and the things people have given me that I’ve felt guilty about wanting to get rid of. I really don’t need stuff around the place making me feel guilty.

I still have a long way to go as having a baby and moving house got in the way of my complete house overhaul–in particular I need to go through all my crafting stuff and my boxes of sentimental things. Mostly my old school work and Daisy’s drawings.

So, decluttering might be an ongoing process but I think it’s going pretty well. However, the area I’ve really fallen down in is my admin organisation. I’m nowhere near as bad as I was before the major konmari paperwork purge, but I’ve been feeling increasingly stressed by all the things I have to remember (house stuff, family stuff, writing stuff, etc) and not really able to rely on any of my existing organisational systems. The Pomodoro Technique has helped me get more work done in short bursts of time, and I’m loving the Trello app for organising some of my plans (sewing plans, mainly), but I still haven’t found the answer.

Until now, I think.

Thanks to a chance link in a blog post I was reading, I found my way to David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Now, I’m not generally a fan of reading “business” books as they can be so dry, but the subtitle really caught my attention: “How to achieve stress-free productivity”.

Yes! I need this. I’m pretty productive at the moment, all things considered, but as I’ve tried to work more I’ve been finding my stress levels rising. Some of you probably remember my application of the pomodoro technique before Christmas. I got two draft manuscripts written in record time, but by the end I was totally stressed out and spent the next month coming down with one illness after another. Also, I hadn’t even really considered how I was going to get those books edited and published, all of which takes huge amounts of time and energy.

Somewhere along the line I lost track of planning.

So, I’ve been reading Allen’s book and so far everything has resonated with me. There’s nothing particularly new here–you just use methods you’re probably already using to some degree–but what’s different is the strategy behind it. You make sure you capture all your ideas the moment you have them so you don’t have to rely on your short term memory, but you have to capture them in a way that you trust yourself to monitor and review. This is where I’ve been going wrong. Making notes but never looking at them again. Losing lists. Having lists in too many different places. Saving things I should be getting rid of, and so on…

So for the next couple of weeks I’m getting my admin in order, then moving house, and I’m going to worry about getting Custom Fit edited after that. Expect to see it in June. Probably.

You know what, I’m feeling more energised and happy than I have done in months. Years, perhaps. Woohoo!

Anyone else here decluttering or getting organised? Do you have any good tips or links?

Three men for the price of two!

Or something like that, anyway. The latest in mine and JL Merrow’s series of anthologies, Mad About the Brit Boys, is finally out. This time it’s a collection of m/m/m ménage stories, called Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy. Don’t you just love Lou Harper’s cover art?!

BoyMeetsBoy (Copy) (3)

This is an Amazon exclusive for $0.99/£0.99 (and where the hell’s that Euro sign? Oh yeah, there it is)/€0.99. Other currencies are available. Probably.

Buy it now! Go on, you know you want to.

Or you can read it on Amazon for free if you’re one of those Kindle Unlimited peeps.

The eagle-eyed may notice that this is my ménage story that originally appeared in the Necking anthology from Dreamspinner Press, along with one of Jamie’s stories.

That’s all for now. Happy reading, people! I’m getting back to my latest “gonna change my life” book, Getting Things Done. I can see where I’ve been going wrong and getting stressed as a result. I have a lot of organising to do, but am actually looking forward to it this time…

Big hugs,

Jo xxx

Much belated blog catch up

Hey peeps, how’s things?!

I’ve missed blogging and reading all your comments, but so far 2016 has been kicking my arse and I’ve just needed a bit of time and space. Here’s a cute picture of the kids, followed by a quick recap of what’s been going on here at Myles HQ:

IMG_4673 (Copy)

Househunting:

I spent January in crazy house viewing mode, averaging 3-4 a week. Eventually found the right place at the right price. It’s a 60s bungalow with a great big main room and a decent sized garden. Also, fab retro decor. Should be moving over Easter, fingers crossed.

Illness:

The family has been hit with illness after illness. First a hideous head cold, then a stomach bug (we all got that one. Ugh!), then a nasty coughing bug, then Gabriel had an upset stomach again on Monday. I don’t think we’ve managed an entire week without one of us being ill. I’m so over winter, right now. Roll on summer!

Also, my mum has been hospitalised three times (for over 10 days each time) for a recurrent lung infection, that won’t get better until she’s had surgery. And no date set yet for the surgery, although hopefully that will be over Easter. Right about when we move house. Excellent timing. Not.

Writing:

I haven’t done any writing. What I have been doing is editing Einstein’s Peep Show, and doing all the annoying tasks self-publishing abounds with. There are blogs to write, website updates, press packs to prepare, ebook files to compile and check and recompile (that’s my least favourite), and so on. Now I need to find some time to edit Custom Fit. Here’s hoping Mum has a couple of healthy weeks ahead as I’ll need her help with childcare!

IMG_4661 (Copy)Family:

Aside from the illness and househunting stress, things have been good, honest. Daisy and Gabriel are the sweetest, loveliest kids a parent could ask for, and Andy is a rock. Not in the sullen, won’t talk or budge from in front of the computer sense, thankfully!

Gabriel is now officially a toddler as he walks everywhere rather than crawls. He’s such a sweetie, and getting faster and steadier every day.

Entertainment:

We’ve had to cancel all manner of nights out what with losing Mum’s babysitting service, and illness, but at least we’ve had some good telly to watch. Am on series 2 of Game of Thrones and just about to start series 3 of The Mentalist. Also have been watching all the Sharpe TV movies which I never saw the first time around. How did I miss them?

And I’ve been reading again too. Just finished KJ Charles’ A Seditious Affair (brilliant!) and am enjoying a complete change of pace with Amy Jo Cousins’ Off Campus (also brilliant!)

Crafting:

I’ve allowed myself to have 20 minutes a day of sewing and/or knitting (no matter how busy things are), and have managed to make lots of progress so that feels great. Funny how all those seemingly insignificant amounts of time add up quickly. I’ve posted a few times over on my sewing blog, so if you have any interest in checking out what I’ve made then please head on over. At the moment I’ve almost finished a dress for myself, and have just started knitting some socks for Gabriel :)

And I think that’s most of what’s been going on. I’m pleased to report I’m feeling happy and healthy right now, so that’s positive. I just want to stick my head in the sand about the whole moving house thing. I mean, I’m looking forward to having moved, just not being in the state of moving. Ah well, it will all be over soon enough, and then I get to do fun things like setting up a vegetable garden,because I definitely need more stuff to do…

How’s everyone else doing? Give me your news!

Big hugs,

Jo x

 

I have my very own Birthday Einstein!

Einstein coverYep, I scheduled a new release for my birthday. I must be insane! Anyway, here’s me with letting you know the deets. It would be absolutely marvellous if you could all buy this and send it to the top of the Amazon charts. What a wonderful birthday present! /hint, grovel, hint/

Einstein’s Peep Show is a fairly quick, fun read at 24,000 words, but hopefully sweet and sexy enough to give you all satisfaction. I’m guessing fans of my humour should really enjoy this one!

Buy it here!

You can also read a guest post about my research into cam modelling over on Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews today: http://sinfullymmbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/featured-guest-author-josephine-myles.html

Happy reading, peeps! Me and my mate Rach are off for lunch in a minute, and the sun is shining. Yay!

Love and hugs,

Jo x

I haz a new (old) book out!

LockedOut 433x650Yep, Locked Out is out today, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

The eagle-eyed among you will probably spot that this was originally part of the Brit Boys: on Boys multi-author anthology bundle. Well, now the exclusive contract period is over I decided to offer it as a standalone novelette. It’s a saucy romantic comedy, and at just 99 cents/pennies, it’s an affordable little treat :)

Blurb:

Clothing is overrated…

Getting accidentally locked out of his hotel room on Valentine’s Day night is embarrassing enough for teacher Martin Cooper, but the fact he’s stark naked makes it even worse. It doesn’t help that the one person he runs into is Rod, the gorgeous man he’d been checking out earlier in the hotel pool. But when Rod offers Martin a refuge, the night heats up. Now if only Martin could get the hang of this seduction business…

Amazon | Amazon UK | All Romance eBooks (link to come)

And much as I’d love to give you an update on everything that’s been going on in my life, I have a little boy walking around with no nappy on, so I’d better get going! Blog post coming soon…

Big hugs,

Jo x

Help, My Boyfriend’s an Alien! out today :D

Help,MyBoyfriend'sAnAlien! 433x650Yes, my latest antho with the lovely JL Merrow is out now–exclusively on Amazon!

It contains two stories by JL Merrow which were previously published in Making Contact, an anthology from Dreamspinner Press. And my contribution is Insta-Love™, previously available as a standalone short from Dreamspinner, but has been unavailable for over a year now. We’re both thrilled to be able to put these science fiction shorts back in the hands of readers, and we hope they persuade a few more people to give sci-fi a try!

You can find the anthology for sale here, and there’s a guest post over on Sinfully Gay Romance with a giveaway too. JL Merrow and I argue over which is best, Star Wars or Star Trek. Come and share your thoughts!

http://sinfullymmbookreviews.blogspot.de/2016/01/featured-guest-authors-jl-merrow.html

PS: Andy would like to make it known he isn’t actually an alien, and I should stop making up stupid book titles 😛

Out today: Brit Boys: With Toys

 

I might not have a story in the Brit Boys collection this time around, but it sounds great! Here’s the details:

bbwt-box

Out Today, Brit Boys: With Toys, a collection of 8 M/M novellas written by 8 top British M/M authors. All stories feature British characters and the stories are in British locations. This seriously sexy boxed set is initially available at the bargain price of 99c/99p, (that’s a steal for 422 pages of unforgettable M/M literary entertainment that will leave your eReader, and you, burning up) so go and treat yourself this festive season to some uniquely British man-on-man erotic romance, or if you have Kindle Unlimited, grab a copy for free.

With stories by

Ashe Barker

MK Elliott

Lucy Felthouse

KD Grace

Lily Harlem

Ashley Lister

Sarah Masters

Tabitha Rayne Continue reading

Daily Writing Habit Challenge: week four results

Okay, so after three weeks of making my word count target, we finally have a week when I didn’t. This is especially interesting as it’s when outside events make it a struggle that I can really learn about what works for me.

Thoughts about this week:

  • After a couple of really busy weeks in terms of real life appointments, plus Christmas preparation, I’m feeling a bit burnt out. I could have worked really hard on Friday and made myself write 2500 to make up the word count, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead, after just 190 words, I decided to take some “me time” and do something else. That turned out to be watching House while crocheting a beret for my Mum’s Christmas present. Best decision I made all week!
  • I’m now at the nitty-gritty end of the book where I’m filling in scenes I haven’t really wanted to work on before. It’s necessarily going to be a bit slower as these are the scenes I find challenging to write.
  • The next three weeks are going to be dominated by Christmas stuff and family time, so I’m going to set myself a 5000 word a week target for each of them, and not be upset if I don’t manage it. So long as I sit down and write something (ANYTHING!), five days a week, I’ll be happy :)
  • When writing we need to take time to “refill the well” of inspiration. That means if I feel burnt out and stressed at the idea of writing, it’s time to step back and unwind.

Results for this week:

  • Total days written on: 5
  • Top writing speed achieved: 1815 wph
  • Average writing speed: 1580 wph
  • Total word count: 5230 (all on Custom Fit)

How’s everyone else doing? Any successes to share?

Jo x

Daily Writing Habit Challenge: week three results

This report is coming to you a little later than usual as last week was just a bit of a ‘mare. Okay, it wasn’t awful–aside from a few minor stresses I was very happy, but it seemed like there were appointments booked up on every day that interfered with my writing time. And then on Thursday when I can usually catch up, I had to take Daisy over to Bath for a hearing test (she’s fine, btw). In the end I was feeling frazzled on Friday and when I sat down to write, Gabriel woke up. I could have caught up in the evening, but was too tired and so sat and wrote on Saturday morning instead. Not something I want to do often, but at least it allowed me to (nearly) hit my word count goal for the week.

Things I noted this week:

  • My fastest writing speed was in the session on Saturday when Andy was in the room watching telly. Perhaps when I have to work to tune out distractions it actually makes me go deeper into focus? Maybe I should try writing a session in a café. After all, if it worked for JK Rowling and her baby…
  • I didn’t find any time for editing but that’s okay. It’s just if things carry on like this (and with Christmas around the corner, let’s face it, they might), I will have to knock my word count goals down for a few weeks so I can get Cam Boy (the story formerly known as Bugger My Neighbour) ready to go out to an editor. And then Custom Fit won’t be long to follow! If I do have to do this I will still have a daily word count goal, as I think the habit is extremely valuable.
  • I am rapidly running out of new scenes to work on in Custom Fit. That’s not to say it’s nearly finished–this is a rough draft and there’s padding and transitions that need adding in (I always tend to underwrite), but that falls more under the guise of editing than creating fresh word count as it takes longer. That means I’ll have to find time this week to hash out an outline for the next story. I want to start both a novella and a longer novel in the new year.

So here’s the breakdown stats:

  • Total days written on: 5
  • Top writing speed achieved: 1951 wph
  • Average writing speed: 1657 wph
  • Total word count: 7140 (all on Custom Fit)

Anyone else got any writing (or other important things) done this last week they want to shout about?

Jo x