Wednesday, 24 February 2027

A Beginner's Guide To Family Life is now out as a paperback and ebook.

You can buy signed copies of a selection of my paperbacks here

A Beginner's Guide To Family Life

Below, you can find my blog posts, or you can read my free short stories, catch up with my news or find out more about my books.

While you're here, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive book news and exclusive content and enter my giveaways. Plus, you'll receive a FREE ebook short when you sign up!

Monday, 17 January 2022

Five Writing Tips

Five Writing Tips

Last week, I shared my writing goals for 2022 and I thought I'd follow that up with five writing tips that I've learned along the way while writing 15 books, which I'm sure I'll be putting into practice over the next year!

Writing Tips | 15-Minute Bursts

I first discovered this method of writing back in 2017. It was the school summer holidays and I was in a bit of a writing slump, so getting the words down was tough. But I found setting a 15 minute timer and only having to write during that short burst (with no distractions or looking up stuff on Google) really helpful. Having only 15 minutes to write feels less daunting and it takes the pressure off.

I've used this method loads of times since and I usually get around 400 words down. I then repeat the timer a few times during the day and I end up clocking up a decent word count for the day.

You can see my original blog post about it here

Writing Tips | Read Aloud on Word

I find the Read Aloud function on Word really helpful when it comes to the latter stages of a book. Our brains can trick us into reading what we think is supposed to be on the screen, but having a voice reading out what I've written helps to make any mistakes jump out. 

I blogged about the Read Aloud function here

Writing Tips | Fun Ways To Name Characters

Having trouble thinking of names for your characters? I put together a list of five fun ways to name characters to stop you from staring at your laptop in frustration.

Writing Tips | How To Get To Know Your Characters

So you have names for your characters, but what makes them tick?

I shared three ways to get to know your characters while planning my twelfth book.

Writing Tips | Setting Goals & Marking Milestones

I like setting myself goals when writing - even if they're only loose 'work on Book 15 during January' types ones. It helps to keep me on track and stops me getting too lazy.

I also like to mark milestones - the start of a new book, 10,000 words, The End, etc - as I find these help to keep me motivated.

I blogged about setting goals and marking milestones here

I hope you find my writing tips useful. If you have any tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below :)

Friday, 14 January 2022

The Fear and The Self-Doubt of Writing

There was a lot of fear the first time I filled in Amazon's KDP sections to self-publish my first novel, A Beginner's Guide To Salad. What if I'd messed up the ebook formatting and people bought a mushed-up mess of a book? Worse, what if I hadn't messed up the formatting and people read the book but hated it. Even worse than that: what if nobody bought the book at all?

Mixed in with The Fear was The Self-Doubt, which was pointing out - rather loudly - that I'd be better off not putting myself out there at all. I feared failing as a writer, but there would be no chance of failing if I didn't publish my book.

But there would also be no chance of success. Nobody could read the book and Ruth's story would have to be shelved and I really, really wanted her story to be out there. I'd loved writing the book. Loved getting to know the characters. And I wanted others to love them too, and they wouldn't if they remained stuck on my laptop forever.

A Beginner's Guide To Salad | Jennifer Joyce

So I published the book. Six people bought copies that first day. I thought that would probably be it, but slowly, the numbers rose. People left reviews and while not every book is going to hit every reader, the feedback suggested they'd enjoyed it on the whole. It's eight years to the day since I tapped on the publish button and there are 142 ratings on Amazon, with 87% being five or four stars. I've since published the paperback as well as releasing two more books in the Beginner's Guide series. And my writing hasn't stopped there: I've been published by HarperCollins and have self-published two more books outside of the Beginner's Guide series plus a short story compilation. I'm currently working on Book 15.

There are days when there is still the fear and the self-doubt about my writing, but I don't let them win and I definitely don't feel like a failure.

Monday, 10 January 2022

My Writing Goals 2022


My Writing Goals 2022

Last year, I set myself 5 writing goals for the year and it went so well, I've decided to set myself five more for this year.

I'm being kind to myself this year and have kept my goals quite simple and lowkey. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself as I find this can be counterproductive. I want to enjoy my writing and feeling stressed about it trying to meet self-imposed goals doesn't allow this. If I reach my goals - great! If I don't, I'll have something to aim for next year.

So here are my goals for the next twelve months:

My Writing Goals for 2022 | 2nd Draft of Book 15 | Publish Book 13 | Write Short Story #1 | Write Short Story #2 | Take Part in Nano

I've already started working on Draft 2 of Book 15 and I'm really enjoying it, which is a good start to the year. Book 13 is a festive story, so I'm hoping to publish that later in the year and I'll also be taking part in Nanowrimo in November. In between now and Nano, I want to write at least two short stories, which I'll send out in my newsletters, so make sure you've subscribed if you'd like to read them :)

I will keep you updated on my progress here on the blog. Wish me luck!

Have you set yourself any writing or reading goals this year? Let us know in the comments.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Spotlight Book: A Beginner's Guide To Salad

A Beginner's Guide To Salad | Jennifer Joyce

I'll be throwing one of my books into the spotlight each month during 2022 and first up is my debut novel, A Beginner's Guide To Salad.

A Beginner's Guide To Salad | Jennifer Joyce | Six months to lose weight will be a piece of cake, right?

Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion.

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

A Beginner's Guide To Salad is the first book in the Beginner's Guide series (though there is also a short festive ebook, A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, that is set before and is a quick intro to some of the characters. You can get it for free here)

See more fun facts here

I like to post little 'Book Extras' (like you'd find on a DVD) for my books here on the blog, and for A Beginner's Guide To Salad I created a Playlist, wrote a genre-swap short story and put together quick intros to some of the characters you'll meet in the book.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

My 5 Writing Goals for 2021 - How Did I Get On?

My 5 Writing Goals for 2021 - How Did I Get On?

At the beginning of 2021, I set myself a few writing goals for the year.

We're now approaching the end of 2021, so how did I get on?

1. Draft Two of Book 13

I wrote the first draft of Book 13 during Nanowrimo 2020 and I absolutely loved working on it again at the beginning of the year. It's a festive story and I'm hoping to share it by Christmas 2022.

2. Draft two of Book 12

The first draft of Cleo's story was written during Lockdown 1 and I worked on it again during early 2021. It was such a fun book to write and I loved returning to Clifton-on-Sea and getting to know Cleo.

3. Publish A Beginner's Guide To Salad paperback

A Beginner's Guide To Salad was my first full-length novel, which I self-published back in 2014 in ebook only. So after figuring out how to create paperbacks for Everything Changes But You and The 12 Christmases of You & Me, I really wanted to do the same for Ruth and her friends.

And since I was publishing the paperback for A Beginner's Guide To Salad, I figured I may as well do the same for Book 2 in the series. So I gave myself a bonus goal of publishing the paperback for A Beginner's Guide To Saying I Do.

I'd always planned to write a third book in the Beginner's Guide series but I'd never got it quite right and kept putting it aside. But working on the paperbacks of the first two books relit the Ruth-shaped fire and I started mulling over what was wrong with all those drafts and how I could tell the story in the right way. I was in between projects by this point as it was still early on in the summer and I wasn't due to start my next book until Nano... so I wrote a whole new draft, which finally became the third book in the series, A Beginner's Guide To Family Life (which I published as both an ebook and paperback).

The Beginner's Guide series

4. Plan Book 14

Book 14 was supposed to written as part of Nanowrimo 2021. But A Beginner's Guide To Family Life became Book 14. And then I accidentally wrote a whole new book over the summer, which is Book 15. So the Book 14 I had in mind while compiling my goals is actually Book 16, which I plotted out prior to Nano.

5. Take part in NanoWriMo 2021

I didn't know whether my local Nano group would be able to meet up in person this year, but I was looking forward to taking part whether it was in-person or online (it turned out to be online again this year). I love the community spirit of Nano and it was the Zoom meetings I was looking forward to more than anything, so I wasn't disappointed when I didn't reach the 50k goal this time.

2021 has been a bit of a weird year for me personally with some big changes (and that's without even thinking about the impact of covid) so I'm majorly impressed with everything I've achieved this year: I finished two books, wrote two more, and compiled a short story collection (The Perfect Winter Weekend). I'm not sure I'll get quite as much done in 2022 and my goals will reflect this, but I am looking forward to returning to the accidental novel I wrote during the summer to work on the next draft.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

A Quick Catch Up


Have you put your tree up yet?

It's December, so of course I have to ask. We put our tree up at the weekend and it looks lovely and festive when it's all lit up and gives me the warm and fuzzy feels. December feels much more relaxed than November did - I was taking part in Nanowrimo, there were appointments for my youngest, and there just didn't seem like there were enough hours in the day. It does help that I've finished my Christmas shopping and I've only got a bit of wrapping left to do!

Here's what else I've been up to over the past few months:

What are you working on?

I'm currently working on Book 16, which I started as part on Nano. I didn't reach the 50k (not even close!) but I've made a start and I'm happy with that.

Book 16

What are you reading?

Confession: my reading has been terrible lately (not the books, I hasten to add, just having the time to sit down with them).

I kicked off my festive reading with Ann Cleeves' latest Vera book, The Darkest Evening, which I really enjoyed. I'm hoping they adapt it for the TV series so I can look clever by working it all out.

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

I'm currently reading Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage by Katie Ginger and although I'm reading so slowly at the moment, I'm really loving it when I do manage to sit down with it.

Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage by Katie Ginger

What are you watching?

I've been enjoying this year's Strictly (John and Johannes are my faves) and catching up on crime dramas and panel shows that have filled up my Sky box. I need to make room for all the festive stuff that will be coming very soon!

What have you been Instagramming?

Jennifer Joyce | Instagram grid

Writing, special birthdays, Luna, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

You can find me on Instagram here

So that's what I've been up to over the past few months. Do let us know what you've been up to in the comments below - and don't forget to let us know about the tree!