Today I am so pleased to welcome Barbara Bell to Joyfully Jay. Barbara has come to talk to us about her latest release, Cutie Pies. She has also brought along a copy to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Cutie Pies Tour Banner

My Top Five Writing Tips

When I was eleven I decided I was going to write a book. And, because I was eleven, I decided my book would be an epic fantasy of unscaleable awesomeness, written entirely in a small purple diary that had somehow made its way into my possession.

For weeks I stayed up late, recounting my characters’ wild adventures. Eventually the ink in my pen ran out so the text changed from black to blue. Sometime after that I realised I no longer liked my heroine, so I unceremoniously killed and replaced her with a far more appealing candidate (who may or may not have been Xena). Finally, just as I was about to finish, the pages in this – not very well made – diary started falling out and I had to commandeer one of my father’s bulldog clips to hold it all together.

But it was all worth it in the end because it meant I had written a book.

As a child I had no words to describe this feeling, and as an adult I still don’t.

Writing is frustrating, slow, and (at times) depressing but it is still my favourite thing to do. Finishing something for the first time feels amazing, finishing it again after editing feels even better, and giving it to people to read is both the scariest thing I have ever done, and the most rewarding. I know there are a lot of people out there that feel the same way I do so, in honour of my little purple diary, and Cutie Pies, my debut novella coming out this March, here are my top five writing tips.

  1. Ignore advice.

Yes, you heard that right, my first piece of advice is to ignore advice. But, wait, before you click out of this blog hear me out. Writing is such a subjective thing and what works for one person might not work for another. Being given strategies by other writers is amazing and can be such a privilege, but if those strategies aren’t working for you, don’t be afraid to put them aside.

  1. Write first. Edit later.

Writing a first draft is a little like being a baby bird pecking your way out of an egg. If you stop to think about what you’re doing you’re probably never going to get the job done. Just remember, any problems with the first draft can be fixed later. The most important thing is to finish it so you can look at the whole manuscript and edit with the power of hindsight.

  1. Trust your editor.

Speaking of editing, there is no one more valuable to a writer than an editor. At times you may hate them, especially when you see your manuscript covered in squiggly red lines. Swallow that feeling, make the changes, and marvel at how much better your story is for it. Seriously, editors are amazing and they know what they’re doing. Trust them.

  1. Not everyone will like it…

…and that’s okay! Everyone has different tastes and what might turn one person away from your work might be exactly what draws another in. Don’t think too much about that face your boss or your father made when you told them what you were writing. Write something you want to read and trust that there are heaps of people out there that will want to read it too.

And finally…

  1. Have fun.

Writing should always be fun. Even when it’s not fun, it should still fun. If you’re writing and really not having a good time, step back and shake it out. Remind yourself what you enjoyed about the story idea in the first place and take that with you as you dive back in. Life is too short not to enjoy what you do.

Do you agree with my advice? Do you have more writing tips to add? Do you want an excerpt from my purple diary? If so, you’re going to be disappointed because that is never leaving my draw. The world is not ready for eleven-year-old-me’s storytelling genius. But, if you’re interested, you will be able to read my novella Cutie Pies from the 19th of March. Follow along with my book tour to learn more about it!




Cutie PiesJoey works at Cutie Pies, the smallest adult store in Sydney. After his parents kicked him out years ago, the haphazard shop became his home away from home and is the only place where he can embrace his queer, quirky, and—okay—sometimes a little awkward self.

When Mick, a new-to-town customer, walks in asking for a dildo, Joey thinks it’s all a part of the day’s work. Except Mick’s large dark eyes, shy smile, and kissable lips—along with the ten-inch dildo he bought—quickly win him a starring role in Joey’s nightly fantasies.

Joey can’t stop thinking about him, and Mick’s continued visits to the store make him even harder to forget. Mick is shy and sweet, but also secretive and uncertain. As the two grow closer together, Joey starts to wonder what Mick really wants from him, and whether he can risk falling in love with someone who might not be free to love him back.


Barbara Bell grew up on a sheep farm in rural Australia, moved to Brisbane when she was nineteen to study film, and now lives in Sydney with an ever changing cast of housemates and a colony of bees.

She is an avid traveler, a proud geek, and loves telling stories about human relationships and how strange and silly (but also beautiful) they can be. She began writing when she was eleven years old and believes it’s probably too late to break the habit now.


To celebrate this release, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Cutie Pies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 24, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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