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Joanne Phillips

A Writers Journey

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2015: My Blogging Year In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog (and for all their blogs, obvs) …

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report. It’s fascinating reading (probably only for me, to be honest), but it does list my top 5 commenters, and the the most popular posts, and gives me some helpful low-down info on my blogging habits and where my readers come from.

I’m planning a few changes for 2016, so this info will be really useful. Did you get a blog report, and if so do you think the information is helpful or just a fluffy gimmick?

The Writers’ Blog Tour – It’s My Turn To Shine

I was really excited to be invited to join the Writer’s Blog Tour recently by my lovely friend Anne Allen at www.anneallen.co.uk  I hope you enjoy your visit to my little blog, and that you’ll go on to take a look at the blogs of other participating writers who are listed below. We are part of a growing international community of writers, working to introduce each other’s blog to a wider audience. Christine Findlay, Chair of Bookmark Blair (Blairgowrie Rattray and The Glens Book Festival) in Perthshire, Scotland, invited us to take part.

Anne Allen also invited the writers Rebecca Scarberry and Regina Puckett to follow her on the tour.

So, it’s time for me to answer the four special questions. Here goes:

1. What am I working on?
I’m about to launch my fourth novel, a romantic comedy called Cupid’s Way, on 27th June, so I’m working a lot on the launch, organising promotions and reviews, that kind of thing. Writing-wise I have two projects currently on the go: the second in my Flora Lively Investigates series of mysteries (due for release in November) and a novel for my Masters, which is provisionally titled This Beautiful World.

Cupids_Way_cover

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
One of the most interesting things about writing in a particular genre is the challenge to write a book that fits the expectations of readers who love the genre, but also to stand out and offer something different and exceptional. Cupid’s Way, while having all the elements of a great contemporary romantic read, has that extra element, which comes in the form of Cupid’s Way itself – the title is the name of a Victorian terrace street that is under threat of demolition by developer. Evie Stone, our heroine, is tasked with saving the street, which is full of quirky, lovable characters – including Evie’s grandparents.

I have a similar challenge with the Flora Lively books. I wanted to write a cosy mystery, but they aren’t massive here in the UK yet, and I don’t think the UK market is as receptive to the sometimes very specific cosy genres which are popular in the US. My idea for Flora Lively was a kind of ‘Midsomer Murders meets Bridget Jones’ – it’s a mystery, with a young female amateur detective, but also with a bit of romance thrown in and a lot of heart.

3. Why do I write what I do?
Because I love it. I don’t think there’s any other reason to write. I’ve written in two genres so far, and published a novelette and a collection of short stories; my Masters novel is literary fiction and I have outlines for three psychological thrillers to come in the next few years. And I’ll continue to write rom coms because I love them, although the next few I have planned are a lot grittier than those I’ve written before.

4. How does my writing process work?
I have so many ideas my first task is to focus and commit to what I want to work on next. I usually begin by writing myself into the story and characters, writing and rewriting from different viewpoints, doing character studies and random scenes, with a little bit of planning thrown in. When I get about three chapters into the book I usually stop and put together a more detailed plan – but not always. Sometimes I want to surprise myself, but often I find that it helps to free my creativity to have a rough idea of where I need a story to go.

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This is the point where I’m supposed to introduce you to the three authors who are taking up the baton to answer the same 4 questions on Monday 23 June, but everyone I asked has either already taken part in this blog tour or is already committed. So I’m reaching out to you, my fellow writers and blog-readers – there are three spots up for grabs to post and take part in the next round of the Writers’ Blog Tour. Leave your link in the comments below and I’ll email you with more details and add your bio and blog link to this post. And anything you can do to help us all share our words and ideas through your own networks would be much appreciated. Thank you x

 

Why I Love My Blog So Much I’m Buying It A Christmas Present

A Christmas present for a blog? Have I been at the sherry? Well, yes I have, but that’s got nothing to do with today’s psot. (Intentional – you thought you’d caught me out there, right?)

I was looking at my blog the other day on hubby’s ipad and I noticed – horror of horrors – an advert at the end of the first post. OMG, what was going on? I’ve seen the notices on WordPress about how adverts (carefully targeted my a**e) may appear on free hosted sites in the future, but like any busy blogger and author I just ignored them. And when I look at my own website from my own computer the ads don’t appear. Weird, huh? But now I know they are there, I can’t ignore them any longer. I don’t want ads on my site – or at least, I don’t want ads that I don’t control and that don’t bring me any benefit whatsoever!

I’ve always wanted to make this blog-stroke-website a great resource for readers and fellow writers, and part of my ethos is that it’s a place you can come without being ‘sold to’. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t have anything to sell! There are my books, clearly marked for anyone who’s interested, and coming in 2014 will be a range of consulting services, again for those who are interested. The difference is, it’s all about me. And writing, and books, and publishing. My blog has always felt like a space on the world wide web that’s mine and mine alone. It’s my safe place, my virtual shed (or summerhouse, in fact 🙂 ). I love my blog, I love my readers, and I feel genuinely mortified that this space is turning into ‘that’ kind of website.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, exactly what I should have done ages ago. I’m going to change my website to a WordPress.org hosted site. I have no idea how to do this, but the internet is a wonderful thing and I’m sure I’ll figure it out. You shouldn’t notice any differences, except of course the absence of annoying adverts 🙂 And the brilliant thing is, if I log everything I do I can blog about it for anyone else who might need to do the same.

Just out of interest, can you see an advert at the end of this post? And if you can, what’s it for?

Summer Fun Feature

Today I’m very excited to be over on the lovely Dizzy C’s blog for her Summer Fun Feature! Carol is playing host to an amazing variety of authors this summer, and many (including me) are giving away copies of their books to people who leave comments or share the posts on Twitter. There’s so much fun stuff on the blog you should definitely head over there, not only to read my advice for coping with the school holidays, but also to read about authors’ Writing Spaces, Favourite Holiday Spots, Summer Reading and more.

See you over there! Jo x

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