Those Precious Good Reviews

Writers crave good reviews even more than they crave a big slab of chocolate cake or a really fantastic pen. They make everything worthwhile, even if you were only really writing for yourself. It’s so good to receive validation that you’re not wasting your time. Although no writing time is truly wasted if you love it, or even if you took the wrong path in your writing and stumbled too far along it. (See Writing and Cucumbers for more on that kind of thing!)

This is the first written review I ever received for my first book (well-second book really, but we’ll forget the first one), published in the local paper by lovely journalist Hilarie Stelfox. All thanks to my mum, who shouted about my book from the rooftops and remains my biggest champion. Thanks Mum! xxx


Getting Praised for Daydreaming

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Though, like a lot of writers, I write mostly because I love telling myself stories and getting immersed in worlds of my own creation (otherwise known as ‘daydreaming’), a bonus of making the stories available to others is the feedback.

When somebody totally gets what you were trying to say, understands how your world works, and bonds with characters you gave birth to, it’s like a little bit of sparkly magic.

Here are two favourites out of all my favourite reviews – one by a journalist, and one by someone who is so completely my target audience. With thanks to Hilarie and Georgina.

I hope you don’t mind a little bit of showing off. I don’t do it very often 🙂


The Blackwood Crusade

The Blackwood Crusade BookBook Review by Journalist, Hilarie Stelfox, published in Huddersfield Daily Examiner

“I was hooked from the first few pages – and mightily relieved to discover that it is extraordinarily well written by someone with a finely-tuned sense of humour. In fact, it’s every bit as good as any fiction for the young I’ve read in recent years, including the novels of JK Rowling and Eoin Colfer. As well as being a natural storyteller, Jo never patronises her readers, an attribute that will endear her to teenagers. Nor does she shy away from the odd bit of violence and unpleasantness, another plus for young readers.”

READ MORE HERE

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The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook

Curtain Twitchers Cover“I read this book in three chunks, over a period of two days! I was hooked to the story and literally could not put it down! It’s the perfect read for many teenage girls like myself what with it covering dilemmas we can relate to and also including the interesting element of the ghost story that leaves you desperate to read on to find out what happens next.

I fell in love with Daisy the main character almost instantly and could relate to her throughout the book, I didn’t see the ending coming at all it took me by surprise and completely blew me away! I felt so emotionally attached to both Will and Daisy throughout the book and found myself almost in tears on a few more occasions in the book.

It was by far one the best books I’ve read in a while, for the reason that not only did it have a phenomenal story but it took me on a journey with the characters as I felt I knew them so well and not many authors i know can portray this skill to take the reader on an journey and make them feel emotionally involved with the story but Jo has done this flawlessly and the book has been lingering in my mind since…

Definitely up there in my top 10 best reads and I have already recommended it to two friends, and passed it on to one of them already 🙂 5 stars!!!!

READ MORE HERE

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Featured Photo Credit: Comfreak

11:42 – One Boy, One Girl, One Road, One Long Night, One Long Nightmare

1142 COVER Mockup

Here’s the prologue from my new book, a scary YA Paranormal Romance – Groundhog Day… but on a dark street… with a murderer.

NOW

She sits beside me on the sofa, close but not quite touching. Her hand rests, clenched, on her knee, inches from my own. I daren’t reach for it because I know she’ll flinch. The lights from the TV illuminate her face and flash like fireworks in the darkness of her eyes, reminding me of another place, different lights. I lean back so I can watch her without her knowing.

We’ve only been officially seeing each other for a few weeks and I’m trying my best to act cool about it. It’s incredibly difficult. She sets off explosive charges inside me with just one look. My heart is constantly stuck in my throat. Every rare smile I win from her is a small victory. Continue reading

Sequel Cliches: A Character Chat

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Daisy and Will had a hard time in ‘The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook’, they really did. What with restless ghosts and an age-old murder-mystery, uncomfortable high-school shenanigans and a terrible family tragedy, they didn’t get much of a break.

So to call them back and make them go through even more seems so, so cruel! In two minds as to whether or not to inflict another helping of torture, I thought it would be good if they talked it over first. And so they did…   (Contains Spoilers!)

DAISY: “We have to fall out.”

WILL:   “What?”

DAISY:  “It’s our second book together. We have to fall out in this one.”

WILL:   “Why?” Continue reading

I found Daisy’s Bike!

Daisys Bike

Has anyone else had the odd experience of coming across their fictional character’s name in an obscure place? This is the first time it’s happened to me, and it felt like a lovely little link had been made between the real world and my imaginary one, and gave me a warm glow for the rest of the day 🙂

Daisy May’s bike was leaning up against a fence in the old (for New Zealand) town of Lawrence in Otago, half a world away from Daisy’s home. It might have been ironic, because Daisy is highly allergic to exercise, but it would be just like her to have a bike that was only useful as decoration.

Has something similar happened to you? I’d love to hear about it!


Daisy May plays a hopeless game of netball – an excerpt from ‘The Curtain-Twitcher’s Handbook’

NetballWhen I got to the Sports Hall, the teams were already being selected.

“Aah, there you are, Daisy,” said Mrs Bennett. “You were meant to be choosing today but I wasn’t sure where you’d got to.”

I closed my eyes briefly, thanking whoever was in charge of this whole mess that I hadn’t had to choose a team from amongst all these people who hated me. A small reprieve. Continue reading

Great Goodreads Giveaways: Someone has to Win…

Got a second? Head over to Goodreads and enter the giveaways for one, or both, of my beautiful, solid paperback books. Someone has to win, and it might just be you. Oh yeah! It just might 🙂 Continue reading

New Cover: The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook

Curtain Twitchers Cover

With ‘The Blackwood Crusade’ due for its chance in the spotlight on Sunday, I thought it would be wise to pay some attention to my firstborn in case it begins to feel neglected! Continue reading

The Surprising Story Behind ‘The Blackwood Crusade’

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‘The Blackwood Crusade’ was born after a long discussion with a fascinating man on a train. The man was Dr. Melchior Williams, now a much-loved friend, and he had discovered an exciting collection of old 13th Century manuscripts which spoke of an all-out war against pesky supernatural elements bothering a tiny village in the middle of England.

Most of the records were petitions by the villagers to the Lord of the Manor speaking of events ‘wyked and evyll’, ranging from the bizarre to the seriously scary. There was also a lengthy report from someone called Christiana who was summoned by the lord to ‘soulve the mystry’ (crikey – they were such bad spellers in those days :-)) Continue reading

The Blackwood Crusade : OUT SOON-ISH!

What if the medieval folklore of old was based in truth? And what if just one girl was charged with the task of destroying it?

Adventure, swordfights, love, loss, faeries, battles… and magic. All in one book.

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Coming out in November in paperback and for Kindle. Suitable for ages 10 to 100.

To read more about Blackwood, head this way!

OUT NOW! ‘The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook’ (Kindle Edition)

Curtain Twitchers Cover

OUT TODAY! ‘The Curtain-Twitcher’s Handbook’ (Kindle version). A young adult love story with the odd ghost and some very petulant curtains.

Find it on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Hope you enjoy it – if you do, come back and let me know

For more information on The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook, head over to the book page here.