Daily Writing Habit Challenge: week one results

So, how am I doing with my new challenge?

I think it’s been a great success! This week I’ve written every weekday (weekends will be left free whenever possible) for approximately an hour, and I’ve broken the 7.5k mark like I hoped. Those hours were roughly split between Custom Fit (the long awaited Tailor Made sequel) and my new novelette, Bugger My Neighbour (it’s only a working title!)

All I really had to do differently was to prioritise writing above all else when Gabriel went down for his nap. And you know what, the other chores haven’t really suffered, as I’ve felt so energised by getting the writing done that I’ve been able to do more in the rest of the day. What’s more, I’m finding the words flowing faster, getting up to 1800 words per hour by the end of the week.

What’s helped has been changing the length of the “pomodoros” I use to divide up my writing session. Instead of two 25 min ones, I’ve moved to two 40 min ones. I can still fit those both in usually, and I find it’s giving me a better writing speed as I don’t get interrupted by a break when I’m in full flow. Another thing that’s really helped is starting to take five minutes at the beginning of every writing session to make a detailed plan of what’s going into the scene I’m about to write. Why didn’t I do this years ago?!

I also managed to get in some more scene planning for Custom Fit and a quick read through of the BMN rough draft of 15k, so all the words added this week are for bits I discovered I’d skipped over. From now on, this book really only needs content editing (okay, and a few scene transitions and endings writing)

So, here are the results:

Total word count: 7538

Total for Custom Fit: 3874

Total for Bugger My Neighbour: 3664

Anyone else got any writing (or other) success stories to share this week?

Jo x


Busy writer is busy

Gabriel with spoon in mouth

So, this writing challenge thing I posted about the other day is going well so far. I’m really getting back into my flow and the words are going faster than ever. Will report in more detail tomorrow, but it’s great to be getting back to work properly!

I feel like winter is really here now. We’ve had a couple of days of rain and high winds, it’s getting cold and my bathroom is needing regular bleaching for mildew (boo! Rubbish landlord won’t fix the extractor fan). But with winter comes cosying in with a good book, and snuggling up on the sofa with Andy watching telly, along with plenty of shepherd’s pie. So it’s not all bad :)

I’ve mostly been reading writing books to help me up my productivity and get better with the planning stage of writing novels. But that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned fiction altogether. Am currently getting a delicious sneak peek into the next JL Merrow Plumber’s Mate book, not out till sometime in 2016. Having writer friends is great!

There’s also been some smashing telly on the BBC just lately. Am devouring the new Viking series, The Last KIngdom (like Game of Thrones but with a much better sense of humour and none of the fantasy bollocks), and London Spy is intriguing so far. That one features a gay MC for those who are interested in that kind of thing. Which is probably most of you reading this blog, let’s face it :)

Some of you might remember me posting a month or two back about going to look at a bungalow with the intention of buying it. Someone pipped us to the post, but it’s fallen through and it’s now back on the market, at a greatly reduced price. It’s a really interesting property on a decent size plot with plenty of potential for extending. Wish us luck *fingers crossed*

Asides from that life is ambling along much as usual. I’ve nearly finished Gabriel’s quilt and I’m starting to feel like I might just about be able to get on top of this whole writing mother of two kids and general household dogsbody thing 😛

Now I’m off to cook dinner and do the washing up. Good thing I love my family!

How’s everyone else doing? Share your news!

Big hugs,

Jo xx


My daily writing habit challenge

Photo credit: Ladyheart from morguefile.com

As I’m sure most of you blog followers know, I’ve been trying to get back into writing since ending my maternity leave. I’ve managed to write 15,000 words since the middle of September. It’s definitely better than nothing, and more words than I wrote in the previous year, but I’m going to have to do better than this. The alternative is going out and getting a day job, which I don’t want to do as then I’d have to find child care for Gabriel. One of the best things about being a writer is being able to be at home for my children when they need me.

So I need to write more words in The limited time I have available. I couldn’t work out how to do this until this last week when a link on Facebook lead me to Monica Leonelle’s Write Better Faster . Although I don’t agree 100% with all of her methods, there is a lot there I can use. I’ve already started using dictation in a limited manner. For instance I’m dictating this blog post into my phone while Gabriel eats his breakfast. But the real revelation ties in with something I already knew deep down: I need to start writing outlines. Detailed outlines where I describe exactly what needs to happen in each scene. I’ve resisted this for a long time because I think of myself as a discovery writer. The stories seem to come to me out of nowhere as I’m writing them. I’m often surprised by plot developments, but of course this often means I end up having to go back and re-write earlier chapters. I think part of my problem with outlining is that I started doing it with Barging In, but then found the plot changed and twisted as I was writing. However, I am a much more experienced writer these days and feel I can better predict what the final shape of a story will be.

I also know that I always get derailed by times of not writing, like holidays or the period after I finish a book and get stuck into edits. As a consequence, I think I need to keep up a weekday writing habit all year round, even if at times it’s just a few sentences spoken into the dictation software on my phone.

Yes, I even plan to write something on Christmas Day!

So then, my challenge is to do the following:

  • Write something (fiction) every weekday, even if it’s only a couple of sentences or a short writing exercise.
  • To prepare for my daily writing session by taking time at the beginning of the day to read through the outline for the scene I’m going to tackle later on. This will let my subconscious get going on it in advance.
  • Make writing my first priority when Gabriel goes down for a nap each morning. Housework and admin can wait!
  • Write a minimum of 7500 words per week (fiction)
  • Write a minimum of 350,000 words per annum. This translates as three full-length novels, one shorter novel and a novella.
  • To work on 2-3 different length projects at a time, hopping between them so I can always write the scenes I’m most inspired by.
  • To get my writing speed up to 2000 words an hour (currently approx 1500 on a very good day)
  • To keep editing as an ongoing task in addition to writing new fiction every weekday.
  • To keep weekends free for family, friends and sewing.
  • And most of all, to rediscover the joy of writing when the words flow freely.

I think that’s plenty for now. I’ll be posting weekly updates on how I’m doing every Friday.

Anyone else want to take a daily writing habit challenge with me?

New release: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night

BoysWhoGoBump 433x650Happy release day to me and JL Merrow! Yes it is finally the day that our joint anthology, Boys Who Go Bump in the Night, is released on the unsuspecting world.This collection of five short stories is the second volume in our Mad About the Brit Boys collection. Not heard of this collection before? That’s probably because we didn’t realise we were starting one with the first book. Mad About the Boys was our collection of MMF short stories, released two years ago. Seeing as how we would be better known for our gay romance stories, we were at a loss as to what to do with these short stories when the rights reverted to us. So of course what better idea than that hatched over breakfast in the Ibis hotel, Manchester: to self publish them in an anthology together.

Fast forward and we had a whole batch of rights reverting to us on our old short stories, so we decided to create anthologies grouping together different genres. We are kicking off with the paranormal one, and up next will be the science fiction one (Help, My Boyfriend’s an Alien!) available in January 2016. Watch out for an MMM anthology in the spring as well as a contemporary MM anthology. More details to follow as we finalise them.

As an experiment this anthology is only going to be released on Amazon so that we can take advantage of the Kindle Select program. What this means is that readers who are members of Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited will be able to borrow the book for free, but don’t worry if you’re not as the full price is only $0.99 or £0.99. Of course this doesn’t help those of you if you aren’t able to read Kindle files for whatever reason. If you are in this position and want to read the book then please send me a screen shot confirming your Amazon purchase, and I will arrange to send you an alternative file format of your choice (contact jo@josephinemyles.com)

I will be back with news of some promotional blog posts over the next few days, but until then here are the links for the book:

Kindle US | Kindle UK
Happy reading!

My first dictated post!

Daisy, Jo and GabrielHi everyone! Today I am bringing you my first blog post via the medium of dictation. This is an experiment for me to see whether or not I can get used to dictating things, so that eventually I can dictate all my books in an effort to get more titles out there for you lovely readers to pick up.

At the moment I have sent an email and posted a Facebook status update, and I am going to be practising with texts. For this I am using an app on my phone which then emails the transcript to me so I can put it on the blog. It’s really fun! I do feel like a bit of a twat sitting here talking deliberately into my phone but I’m sure I’ll get over that with practice. What surprises me is how long it’s taken me to try out this technology, considering I’ve had a phone capable of it for the last couple of years. I think I was put off by listening to Andy arguing with Siri on a regular basis. She never seem to understand what he was asking her to do and it would always degenerate into Andy insulting her and her saying and her saying “Now, now”. However, this DragonDictate app seems to do a better job than Siri does at understanding what you’re asking, although it will take me a while to get the hang of punctuation, and I’m having to go through all this in Word to make sure it’s correct. That aside, I thoroughly recommend it to any of you writers out there or anyone who has any need at all of sending written words. Which, let’s face it, is nearly everyone.

So what else has been going on in my life? Yesterday I went to IKEA with my sister and braved the Christmas shopping crowds. I hadn’t realised people were Christmas shopping already, which just goes to show how out of touch I am these days. I suppose I should get organised and think about Christmas shopping myself…

Winter seems to be here at last and so I don’t want to go outside much. I have been getting on with making Gabriel’s puff quilt, however, and that’s going really well. Maybe when I finished it I’ll actually manage to finish a couple of those quilts I started for the house many many years ago. You never know, I might!

Apart from all this I have been cosying up with Andy getting into Scandi noir crime dramas. They are our latest obsession. It started with The Bridge, then we moved onto The Killing, and now I think we’re going to have to try Arne Dahl. I was excited to see the BBC have the third series of The Bridge coming on soon, but not soon enough for our liking. Our well, we’ll just have to wait a few weeks. Is anyone else out there addicted to these Scandi noir crime dramas? I just can’t get enough of them!

BoysWhoGoBump 433x650Okay, that’s the dictated part of the post done with. I’m back to typing now, not that I suppose you’ll notice any difference. The other news is that JL Merrow and I have a short paranormal anthology coming out on Thursday, called Boys Who Go Bump in the Night. Isn’t Lou Harper’s cover pretty?! I’ll be posting more about that on Thursday, so watch this space!

Right, back to formatting that final ebook file…

How’s everyone doing?

Love and hugs,

Jo x

Best Friends Perfect Book 3 – guest blog by Liam Livings

Today let’s all give a warm welcome to Liam Livings, fellow writer and UK Meet organiser extraordinaire, who is here to promote his latest book, the final part of the Best Friends Perfect trilogy. And best yet, it’s out now!

How many frogs does a boy have to kiss, until he meets his Prince Charming?

That’s a bit like asking how long’s a piece of string? Or why does it take so long to grow out a hair colour when you want to change it, yet if you’ve just had a new colour put in your roots show through within seconds. One of life’s many mysteries I suppose. Continue reading

Birthday shenanigans and babyproofing

Elsa Daisy

Hey Peeps, how’s things? I’ve been busy as not only is it half term meaning Daisy is at home every day, but it was also her tenth birthday on Tuesday. I can’t believe my little girl is now in double digits! Her favourite presents were her Elsa dress and wig. There was a definite Frozen theme to her presents and party, as she shows no signs of growing out of that particular obsession just yet, despite me trying to nudge her into Minion fever 😛

We also spent Monday at Crealy Adventure Park in Devon, and although the weather wasn’t up to much we had a really fun day. It was just about perfect for a child of Daisy’s age as there were lots of soft play and outdoor play areas, with a selection of rides that didn’t have much of a queue at all. The only ones that did were the two rollercoasters, and we were given a special pass for people with disabilities that allowed us to skip right to the front of the queue. Fantastic! I haven’t been on a rollercoaster in years and was worried they might make me feel nauseous these days, but I absolutely loved them. It’s only the really spinny things I need to steer clear of, it seems.

Gabriel’s favourite thing at Crealy was crawling around and investigating autumn leaves:

Gabriel and leaf

And Daisy looked great as a pirate!

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Other than those things, I’m struggling to remember what I’ve been doing with my time. Lots of laundry, I think! I am a little more advanced in the anthology project, though, so that’s something. Also, I’ve nearly finished my new novelette, so that’s exciting. Should be able to get both those things published in November :)

Tomorrow I’ll be welcoming Liam Livings onto the blog who’ll be telling us about his new novel, the final part of the Best Friends Perfect trilogy. Hope some of you can stop by to say hello to him.

Right, I have stuff to do. Piles and piles of admin, and some more babyproofing in the living room. That boy is into everything!

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What’s everyone else up to? Please share your news!

Love and hugs,

Jo xx


Email blog subscription testing–please respond if you get this!

Hi there,

I’ve been having an awful lot of bounced email notifications when posting to my blog over the last month, and am wondering if that’s something to do with my hosting change. It’s been awfully quiet in the comments too–I miss you all!

If you subscribe to my blog by email and you receive this, please could you send me a quick “got it” reply either to the email or as a blog comment. If I don’t get any, I’ll investigate further.

Thanks :)

Little and often gets things done (eventually)

Gabriel in bear suit

Gabriel has a new bear suit. Oh, the cuteness!

Hey Peeps, how’s things?

I’m feeling much more energetic this week. I think that’s mostly because I’ve been making the effort to force myself into exercising for half an hour first thing. I don’t particularly enjoy doing it, but always feel so much better afterwards. I’m following an 8 week plan on Fitness Blender, which is a fantastic free resource for exercises you can do at home. I’m already feeling fitter even if I can’t yet see any difference :)

And I’ve also been making myself sit down and write for an hour every day when Gabriel naps. It’s another one of those things I always feel better for afterwards, even if there are a million other chores competing for my attention (or just a nice sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit!). The story is now at about 15k, and I think I should have it finished at around the 20k mark. Now I just need to come up with a better title than Bugger My Neighbour…

At the moment I’m also busy planning for Daisy’s 10th birthday party, which is on Tuesday in the half term. I can’t believe my (not-so-little-anymore) girl is going to hit double digits! Luckily she still wants a fun party with lots of games and Frozen-related things. I have snowflake cookies to make this weekend, but I’ve made life easier on myself by ordering a printed cake topper. Now I just have to work out how to make Gabriel a quick Olaf costume, as Daisy insists he’s a little snowman.

Okay, I’m off now. Lots of work to do while my Mum looks after my little man. I have a story to finish writing!

Hope you’re all well. Give me your news! I’d love to hear what you’re all up to.

Love and hugs,

Jo xx

Yay for feeling well again!

Daisy and Gabriel

Hello peeps, apologies for the radio silence. First I wasn’t very well, then I thought I was better, then Gabriel became ill, and then I relapsed (probably because I wasn’t getting much sleep looking after a feverish, grumpy baby).

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to hear we’re all better now, and Daisy and Andy only had a mild version of the virus. Gabriel is a bit wheezy still (bronchiolitis), but he has an inhaler if he needs it. I thought perhaps he was going downhill again yesterday as he howled for about half an hour after waking from his lap, but then later on I noticed he’d cut another tooth. He’s going for a vampire look, with his lateral top incisors coming in before the middle two. Aww, baby vampire, just in time for Halloween!

As you might imagine, I’ve managed to do the sum total of bugger all as far as writing goes, but at least I’ve managed to sort through all my photos since Gabriel was born and upload them onto Photobox, in order to create a printed album. These things seem to take so much longer in the digital age, but then again, the results are pretty spectacular. I’m really looking forward to seeing the album in the flesh. I never really get prints done anymore, so this will be really special.

I’ve also been doing a very small amount of sewing, but I’m going to write about that on my sewing blog instead of here. I’ve also been watching telly. I’ve only got one episode left to go of Lie To Me (*wibble* Why didn’t they make more? It’s fabulous!), and am in the middle of Netflix’s new series, Narcos, the story of the drug cartels in 1980s Columbia. It’s a period of history I knew very little about, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Plus lots of Spanish to listen to, which I love. I also read Edmond Manning’s new book, King John, which I LOVED! But why did you have to leave it on that note, Edmond? Curse you! I can’t wait for the next installment now!

So, not much to report. I am currently in the planning process for getting out some anthologies of short stories with my partner in crime, JL Merrow, so more on that in the near future.

And I’ll leave you with a picture of Gabriel playing with Henry Hoover:

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How’s everyone doing out there? I hope you’re all healthy and happy!

Jo x