Wednesday, 24 February 2027




My latest book, The 12 Christmases of You & Me is out now.


The 12 Christmases of You & Me - Jennifer Joyce




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Friday, 22 January 2021

Do You Re-Read Books?

Do You Re-Read Books?

There are some films I'll watch over and over again - 13 Going 30, You've Got Mail, Bridget Jones' Diary and Picture Perfect to name a few - and I'm the same when it comes to books. 



If I've loved a book so much it's like losing a friend (or a whole bunch) when the last page is turned, why not pick it up again and rediscover the story and the characters all over again? I find re-reading books comforting. I already know the characters and I know what the outcome is going to be, so I can really settle in and simply enjoy the journey. I have a handful of books I've enjoyed time and time again and never tire of re-treading the journey with the characters:

Kiss Him Goodbye (Victoria Routledge)

One-Hit Wonder and Thirty-Nothing (Lisa Jewell)

Babyville and Bookends (Jane Green)

Kiss Him Goodbye (Victoria Routledge), One-Hit Wonder and Thirty Nothing (Lisa Jewell), Babyville and Bookends (Jane Green)


These books have been with me for a long time as I first read them during the early 2000s. They're a bit battered after so many re-reads but I love them as much now as the first time I opened them and they have pride of place on the top shelf of my bookcase.


The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson


Sometimes a book has a follow-up and, just like I'm rewatching the first series of ITV's The Bay at the moment as a refresher for series 2, I'll sometimes need a re-read of the original, especially if it's been a while between books. This is the case with Dorothy Koomson's All My Lies Are True, which is a follow-up of The Ice Cream Girls. I read (and loved) The Ice Cream Girls around 2012, so I'm definitely going to need a refresher re-read before I dive into the next book!


The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann


And then there are the classics you've been reading since childhood. In my case, it's The Animals of Farthing Wood, which I've been re-reading since 1993. My copy is so battered and fragile after being read and carried around in backpacks and handbags over the years that I've bought myself a new copy. I still love my original, but it's having a rest on my shelf so it won't fall to pieces during its next outing.


What about you? Are there any books you read again and again?

Friday, 15 January 2021

Writing Book 13: Draft Two

 


I finished the first draft of Book 13 mid-December and I then put it to one side so I could have a writing break over Christmas. I loved getting to know the main character, Zoey and her friends, so I was more than ready to jump back into the book in January. The kids were supposed to be back at school/college by then, but obviously all that changed and we're back in lockdown with home-learning.


Home-learning feels very different for me this time; Isobel's now in high school and her classes are all online, whereas last time, when she was in primary school, she had 2-3 'live' lessons per week and the rest of her work was a list of tasks that I had to organise into a timetable and help with as well as filling in any gaps with worksheets/tasks I found online. It felt a lot more hands-on first time around than it does now, and it was definitely a lot more stressful.


Grey mug in front of laptop


That doesn't mean it's a breeze now - there are still four of us working/learning from a small house (with three of us doing so in the living room) so we're all having to adapt to extra noise, pausing our work when help is needed etc. It's definitely more difficult to concentrate, but a couple of weeks in and we seem to be getting on with everything okay. Luckily, I'm happy with the structure of Book 13, which lessens the task of editing. 


Because I'm happy with the structure, this draft is more of a tidy up and polish rather than having to shift scenes about and rewrite, and I'm about two-thirds through the manuscript. The next stage will be to use Word's read aloud function to make sure I'm happy with the flow of the story and to find any little niggles I've missed during this draft.

Friday, 8 January 2021

My 5 Writing Goals for 2021

 

Laptop


After a little break over Christmas, it's time to dive back into my writing, and I've got quite a few projects planned to keep me busy during 2021.



When I made these plans, I didn't know we'd be back to home-schooling, otherwise I may have been a bit kinder to myself. But I'm going to try to stick with my plan, even if I don't manage to get everything done that I'd hoped to. If I complete one of my goals I'll be a happy bunny.


So what have I got planned?


2021 writing goals


1. Draft Two of Book 13


I wrote the first draft of Book 13 during last year's NanoWriMo and although I still have Book 12's first draft put aside, I decided to continue with this book first. It's a festive book, so it's a bit weird still being in the Christmas zone now all the decorations have been put away, but I don't mind spending a bit more time in Santa's grotto...


2. Draft two of Book 12


I wrote the first draft of Cleo's story back during Lockdown 1 before putting it aside so I could work on my new Nano project. Book 12 needs quite a bit of work, which is probably why I'm putting it off a bit longer and working on Book 13!


3. Publish A Beginner's Guide To Salad paperback


A Beginner's Guide To Salad was my first self-published full-length novel and I think she deserves to have a paperback after all this time. I published the paperbacks of Everything Changes But You and The 12 Christmases of You & Me last year, so I'm confident I can do it again.


4. Plan Book 14


This will be the book I'll be working on during NanoWriMo. I have a couple of ideas jumping around in my brain at the moment, so I'm not sure which one I'll go with yet.


5. Take part in NanoWriMo 2021


I've really enjoyed taking part in the last two NanoWriMos, and having the Zoom chats with my local Nano group last year was definitely welcome after months of barely seeing anybody other than the people I live with. And, as I work from home, those other people were usually fellow shoppers in Asda with their masks on, so there was no socialising involved at all.

So I'm looking forward to taking part again this year. I don't know if our group will be able to meet up in person at the library by then, but I do know we'll make it work and meeting online will be just as valuable if that's what we have to do.


So those are my main writing goals for 2021. I have smaller goals, such as writing a short story (or two) for my newsletter subscribers, and maybe squeezing in a bit of work on A Beginner's Guide Book 3, but the 5 listed are my main focus for the year. 


(And I'm already exhausted just looking at the list.)


Thursday, 31 December 2020

My Bookish Year: 2020

2020 is coming to a close (hurrah!) so I thought I'd end the year on a high by looking back at all the lovely bookish things that have happened during the shittiest of years.


2020 started off with a re-read. As I stated in my first Instagram post of the year, I was in the mood for a really good rom com and as I'd already read The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice before, I knew it would deliver. 


I love re-reading books and I'm going to start off 2020 with another read of Jane Green's Jemima J. It's been a few years since I read it (again) so I'm looking forward to rediscovering the story.


Do you re-read books? Which book are you planning to start the new year with?


Instagram Post: The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice



Reading for me was a bit different at times, as over the spring and summer I got into the habit of taking my current read along to the supermarket with me to read during the 'car park shuffle'. It was a bit weird queueing to get into Asda at first, but even weirder was how quickly it became the norm, and standing on the outskirts of the car park while reading my book no longer felt out of the ordinary.


2020: Supermarket car park queueing with Kindle


I read some fantastic books during 2020, and five of my favourites are:


2020: Five Favourite Books


Our Stop (Laura Jane Williams)


The Mother-in-Law (Sally Hepworth)

The Lake House (Kate Morton)

All I Want For Christmas (Joanna Bolouri)


(I've listed the books in the order I read them, because choosing five was hard enough)


What have been your favourite reads this year?




At the beginning of the year, I was editing Book 11 - which became known as The 12 Christmases of You & Me and was published in October.


The 12 Christmases of You & Me paperbacks


As well as finishing The 12 Christmases of You & Me, I also wrote the first drafts of Books 12 and 13 and published the paperback edition of Everything Changes But You. So it's been a very busy year, writing-wise!


Everything Changes But You paperbacks


I'm going to continue working on Books 12 and 13 during 2021 and hopefully start a whole new book towards the end of the year as I'm aiming to take part in Nanowrimo again. I wrote almost 70,000 words of Book 13 during November and I'm looking forward to jumping back in again to see if I can be just as successful next time round. I'm also looking forward to reading some more fantastic books, starting with Jemima J...


I'd love to hear about your bookish year. Let us know what you've been reading and/or writing in the comments below :)


Wednesday, 30 December 2020

12 Good Things That Happened in 2020 (Because There Were Some, Honestly)

I know 2020 has been a big sack of shit, but there are some good things that happened. So I'm going back through the year and finding some gems that have happened to remind me of that before we say goodbye this crappy year.


1. The Big Garden Bird Watch

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch


In January, Isobel and I took part in our first Big Garden Bird Watch that the RSPB holds every year. We sat in our kitchen for an hour one rainy Sunday morning and looked out of the window to count how many birds landed in our garden.


It wasn't many (I think we had three wood pigeons) but it was still fun and I'm looking forward to joining in again next month. Plus, we might see our new bird visitor who has recently found us. It's a grey wagtail, which I'd never seen before he hopped into our garden. He's been named Bob, because of the way he bobs about the place.


2. Back To The Future The Musical


Back To The Future Musical Tickets


Back in February, when everyone was still allowed to gather, we were lucky enough to go to the world premiere of Back to the Future The Musical. We'd waited a LONG TIME for it to happen, and we couldn't quite believe Manchester was getting the premier (but it was great. No trip to London. No overnight stays) and it was AMAZING. Plus, Bob Gale signed our special BTTF cover of USA Today.


Back to the Future The Musical


3. Rock Painting


Rock Painting: Butterfly, Fish & NHS Rainbow


We decided to spread a bit of cheer during the summer and did a bit of rock painting, which we left outside for people to find. It was a lot of fun, so we did the same thing in October to celebrate Halloween.


Halloween rock painting


4. The Everything Changes But You Paperback


Stack of Everything Changes But You paperbacks

I'd wanted to create paperbacks for my self-published novels, but I was a bit wary as I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off (I'm not good with trying new things!) But I decided to put my big girl pants on and give it a go.


I love the paperbacks of Everything Changes But You so when I released The 12 Christmases of You & Me, I created both ebook and paperback together.


5. Baking Loaves


Lime Loaf


While everyone was baking banana bread during Lockdown 1, I was craving a slice of lemon loaf from the coffee shop in my local town. So I decided we'd make our own. The only problem was, our local Asda didn't have any lemons at the time, so we swapped them for their green cousins and made a lime loaf instead.


Due to its success, we went on to make two more loaves: a lemon one (because Asda finally stocked them) and an orange one. As much as I was craving the lemon loaf, the lime is a firm favourite.


6. First Drafts


Chapter One


I wrote not one but TWO first drafts this year. The first (for Book 12) was mostly written during Lockdown 1 while home-schooling my youngest daughter, and the second, (for Book 13, which I've only just completed) was mostly written during this year's Nano and finished off in December.


The End



7. Baking Pupcakes


Banana and peanut butter pupcakes


When it was Luna's birthday, I made her a batch of banana and peanut butter 'pupcakes'. They're really easy to make and Luna loved them, so the kids and I made her a batch of apple and peanut butter pupcakes (which are going down just as nicely).


8. Flawed Crocheted Sausage Dogs




In 2020, I made two-and-a-bit sausage dogs ('and-a-bit' because the first was started in 2019).

I'm quite new to crocheting, so they're definitely flawed, but they're unique and I love them.




9. The Garden


White rose


Back in 2018, Isobel and I brought a rose bush cutting home from a school event and re-potted it in the garden. It grew taller and produced lots of leaves, but that’s it. Until this spring when it produced a few buds, which resulted in two flowers. I'm hoping we get more next year, plus I've taken a couple of cuttings, which are on my kitchen windowsill.

I spent a lot of time in my garden during lockdown, and it was lovely seeing the bees and hoverflies enjoying our flowers. They particularly liked our forget-me-nots and the cosmos (when it eventually flowered).

We also grew dahlias from seed for the first time. It didn't flower and out of 17 seedlings, only five survived the snail invasion, but it was a lovely thing to do nonetheless.


Pink cosmos with bee


10. The 12 Christmases of You & Me


The 12 Christmases of You & Me



In October, I released my eleventh book, The 12 Christmases of You & Me. I'd wanted to write a time-travel romantic comedy for a long time, so I'm glad it's finally out and (hopefully) being enjoyed!


11. Halloween at Home


Halloween at Home - Trick or Treat Cards


We couldn't do our usual trick or treating this year, so I made some cards for an at-home version. The cards were hidden around the house and Isobel had to find them and then choose which ones to open. Half said 'treat' inside (so she could choose a treat from the box) and half said 'trick' (which meant she forfeited a treat. 
(The real trick was that all cards said 'treat', which she found out at the end when she opened the remaining cards.)


We also did a bit more baking, this time making SLime cupcakes, nicking the idea of the lime icing from our earlier lime loaf, and topping off with sour snakes.


Halloween Baking: SLime Cupcakes


12. Loki's Return


There are some Christmas traditions that we've had to miss out on this year due to Coronavirus, but one tradition that we can keep is our Elf on the Shelf, Loki. He's returned with gifts and silly antics to makes us smile.


Elf on the Shelf


So those are 12 good things that happened to me during 2020, and it was nice looking back and being reminded that despite everything, there were still pockets of enjoyment.


What good things happened to you during 2020?


Monday, 21 December 2020

Back In Time With Maisie: 2018

Back In Time 2018

In my time-travel rom com, The 12 Christmases of You & Me, Maisie travels back in time to Christmases of her past, and we're going to travel back with her and find out what was happening during the years she goes back to. 


2018 was the year the Christmas number one was a song about sausage rolls, comic book-inspired films dominated the big screen, and The Incredibles' sequel finally made it into the cinema.

Back in Time 2018


Christmas Number One:

We Built This City... on Sausage Rolls (Ladbaby)


Big Chart Hits in the UK:

This is Me (Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble)

Shotgun (George Ezra)

Perfect (Ed Sheeran)

These Days (Rudimental ft Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen)

Paradise (George Ezra)

One Kiss (Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa)

Feel it Still (Portugal. The Man)

Girls Like You (Maroon 5 ft Cardi B)

Leave a Light On (Tom Walker)

Youngblood (5 Seconds of Summer)



Highest Grossing Films:


Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Incredibles 2

Aquaman



Events, Music & TV:


War on plastic: Prime Minister Theresa May makes pledge to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042. She proposes a ban on plastic straws and cotton buds in England while supermarket chain Iceland announces it will stop the use of plastic for its own-brand products by 2023

Friends is added to UK Netflix

After four years off the air, Dancing On Ice makes a return to our screens. Jake Quickenden and his professional skating partner, Vanessa Bauer win

Toys 'R' Us goes into administration

Blue Peter reaches its 5000th episode

The 'Beast from the East' arrives in the UK. The heavy snowfall causes widespread disruption and leaves people stranded in their cars


Events in 2018


The tax on sugary drinks is brought into effect

Louis Arthur Charles, the third child of Prince William and Kate is born. He is the fifth in line to throne

The statue of Suffragette Millicent Fawcett is unveiled in Parliament Square, London. It is the first statue of a woman to be placed here

Prince Harry and Megham Markle marry at St George's chapel at Windsor

England reaches the semi-finals stage of the World Cup for the first time since 1990. They play against Croatia and lose 2-1
The Lightning Seeds reach number one in the charts with 'Three Lions' for the fourth time

A 20ft 'Trump baby' blimp is flown over Westminster during the US president's visit to the UK


Events in 2018


BBC One airs its new thriller, Bodyguard

Jodie Whittaker makes her debut as The Doctor

Kim Tate returns to Emmerdale. The return was initially for one week, but it's announced Claire King will reprise the role on a permanent basis

Channel 4 airs the ninth series of The Great British Bake Off, with Rahul Mandal being crowned the winner

Big Brother's nineteenth and final series is aired on Channel 5

Stacey Dooley and her professional dance partner, Kevin Clifton win the sixteenth series of Strictly

Flights are disrupted at Gatwick Airport due to reported sightings of a drone over the airfield

A House Through Time, The Button, The Split, Killing Eve, Derry Girls, and The Circle also have their British TV debuts


Events in 2018




Find out more about The 12 Christmases of You & Me

The 12 Christmases of You & Me Jennifer Joyce


What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?

Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?

When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?

The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.