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!

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:


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

Daily Writing Habit Challenge: week two results

Week two of my writing challenge began with a large hurdle, but one I knew I would have to face sooner or later: not getting enough sleep for a few nights in a row (baby wanting to feed at nighttime. Grrr!). I was exhausted on Monday and Tuesday but I made myself sick down at the laptop when Gabriel had his nap. After all, this needs to become a daily habit. Despite really not feeling like writing I spent five minutes thinking about the scene, and surprised myself with managing a full 25 minutes of writing on both days. After that I needed a nap, but at least I managed to achieve a small word count for both days.

Although there were two days with a low word count at the beginning of the week, I got back on track and managed to make up the shortfall on Thursday. And all this on a week I had to rush to get an ebook self-published! It’s no wonder I didn’t get around to any editing.

Things that have surprised me this week:

  • It doesn’t actually seem to make any difference how tired I am as to how fast I write. I assumed I’d write slower when tired, but on the Wednesday I actually nodded off for a moment while writing (lucid dreaming) during the session I achieved my fastest writing speed. And bizarrely enough, it didn’t affect the quality of the writing one bit.
  • I write just as fast after lunch as before. I’d always assumed I wrote slower in the afternoon as I felt sluggish, but it seems once I get over the idea that isn’t a good writing time for me, I can be just as productive as in the morning.
  • Writing anything early on in a day makes me feel so much happier and less stressed about the whole situation (being a writer who hasn’t had a new book out in nine months). The psychological effect of sitting down and writing for even just half an hour is a massive boost, and it really does seem to get easier day by day.
  • And finally, I seem to write snappy dialogue the fastest. Okay, maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I’d always assumed that the speech marks and punctuation were slowing me down. I guess not.

Here then, are the results for this week. I’ve decided to track a few extra metrics so that I can better plan my working week in future.

  • Total days written on: 5
  • Top writing speed achieved: 1982 wph
  • Average writing speed: 1671 wph
  • Total word count: 7569 (all on Custom Fit)

Does anyone else have any writing success stories to share? I love to hear from you all!

Jo x

I haz a new (old) Christmas story out!

TwinkleTwinkle medYep, I didn’t mean to release a book on Thanksgiving–I had intended to release it yesterday but then Amazon took a while to get it uploaded, and since time is of the essence when catching pre-Christmas sales, I didn’t want to wait until after the Americans have finished stuffing themselves with turkey.

So anyway, Twinkle, Twinkle is a short story I wrote back in 2010. It was published by Dreamspinner that Christmas as part of their Daily Dose series. And since I only realised that it had gone off sale last week, I’ve had to rush to get a second edition ready in time for the annual festival of maximum consumption :)

Fortunately Lou Harper came to the rescue with a top-notch cover, and so here you have it: Twinkle, Twinkle was only ever available on the Dreamspinner site before, and now it’s exclusive to Amazon for the bargain price of 0.99 (dollars, pounds and euros).

Kindle US | Kindle UK

(If you want to read Twinkle, Twinkle but your ereader doesn’t work with mobi files, just let me know and I’ll send you a pdf or epub. I’ll just need to see a screenshot of your proof of purchase from Amazon)

And here’s the brand-spanking new blurb to entice anyone not sure about reading (or indeed, whether they’ve read it before!)

When old schoolmates meet again, sparks fly!

It’s Christmas Eve, and down in Accident and Emergency Dr. Tom Berriman really hasn’t got into the festive spirit. Newly returned to his home town, he’s missing the big city he left behind and can’t get enthusiastic about a holiday he’ll be spending on his own. That is until he catches sight of the attractive electrician fixing the lights—who promptly crashes down out of the ceiling and becomes Tom’s patient. Tom can’t believe his luck…until he realises he knows the man already.

Electrician Vince has changed out of all recognition since they were at school together, where Vince was the butt of all the bullies’ jibes—and worse—while nursing a hopeless crush on Tom.

If the newly-hunky Vince can forgive his former tormentor, and Tom can get over his lingering guilt, maybe their Christmases won’t be quite so lonely after all.


Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and happy almost-December to the rest of the world!

Love and hugs,

Jo xxx

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

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

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!