Monday, 6 July 2020

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Moving Towards Mystery


If there's one thing I love about being a crime writer, it's that I get to weave mysteries through my stories and leave the readers all trying to put together the clues of where, when, who and why. It's always been something that attracted me to the genre both as a reader and a writer, and it's something that I think will always appeal to me. But I will say that I'm being drawn more to telling mysteries these days than I am to telling crime, and I wanted to talk about it.

I know that the two genres are more intermingled and sometimes it's hard to tell them apart, they usually go hand in hand if something is a crime novel, it's gotta have a hint of mystery to it, right? Not so. If you're aware of who the killer is, or even have a POV from their perspective, then it's simply crime. The mystery genre falls into place when you, the characters, have no idea who's behind it all. I think crime is also more associated with police procedural plots too, but since I've only ever written one of those really, I am much more of a mystery writer, with some crime elements in it.

But why the change? Why not just hover between the two as I've been doing for the past, almost fifteen years? Simple, my stories have changed in the way the ideas come to me. Having just finished my first thriller, and having also branched out into the popular genre of paranormal/mystery I feel like a lot of my ideas are taking me in that direction. Now, I won't stop being a crime writer, or a crime reader, but I will go where my characters, and my stories take me.

I have fallen in love with so many characters over the years, I have learned to adore them, to write their stories and to tell them in their own voices, and that's never going to change. I have so many books awaiting their turn to be written, and just as many who are still in first draft finished status, and I know that over the years I will branch out into other genres, and will write different stories, while my heart has always loved mysteries and in a way crime too, I do want to start to tell more mystery focused books.

Now this doesn't change anything per se, I'll still be delving into what it's like as a crime writer, as I know that it's an area that I don't think I would ever fully turn away from, and I have thoughts and opinions on matters in the reading and writing of crime. So don't panic, I will still be doing these pieces from time to time, and I will still answer questions about crime writing, but it's time I acknowledged that I adore mysteries and always have, always will. I have loved writing dystopian, have branched out into Urban Fantasy and am adoring where that series is going, but at the end of the day, I am and always will be a mystery writer.

And there's nothing wrong with that, it just where the mysteries take me that control which genre they fall into. I didn't really know what I'd say in this post, so didn't plan it out like I do my usual ones, but I think that's all I have to say on the matter, as always, questions and the like, leave them down below!

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Friday, 3 July 2020

Review of Breaking The Barriers by BB Swann

It’s 1986 and high school seniors Mike Ryan and Cindy Wilson have a secret totally bigger than Who Shot J.R.—their hidden relationship. According to her mama, Cindy can’t date until she’s out of college or one hundred, whichever comes first. Mike longs for an end to the secrecy and thinks everyone will accept them. Really, they’re in love, how hard can it be?
But to Cindy, family is everything. She’ll do anything to protect her ailing father from the stress caused by the prejudice toward her interracial relationship with Mike. Afraid of losing Mike, Cindy compromises and agrees to reveal their relationship at school. The resulting negative reactions from some of their peers only add to the strain.

Things turn frenzied quicker than Gremlins in the kitchen after midnight. Social tension, jealousy, and rumors of an unwanted pregnancy threaten to destroy everything. Even Mike’s mother voices concern that he isn’t ready for the stress of dating a girl like Cindy. And one terrible confrontation between Mike and Cindy’s twin brother triggers her greatest fear—her father’s illness turns critical.

They struggle to overcome the barriers erected by their families and peers. Desperate to convince everyone he’s right for her, Mike makes an act of supreme sacrifice that could save their relationship, and a life. But it just might cost him his own.

My Review:5 STARS
I picked this up because of the cover and the blurb, and I adored the book. I loved the way Swann created a vibrant world with the dual POV. A lovely love story that has you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see if things are going to end happily. I laughed, I cried, and I was right there with Mike and Cindy as they went through the curveballs life throws at them. Highly recommended.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020


Lana has her own mission and she'll do whatever it takes to win


[ID: A graphic with a smoky grey background and the header of: Lights On, with a small header underneath that reads: out now in ebook and paperback. The excerpt reads:

Lana rolled over and switched off her alarm, glancing at the space next to her. Empty. It was still strange to wake up and Lock not be there. Of course, that would change. Lock would realise what she’d given up, and she would come back. She had to.

At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.


Monday, 29 June 2020

Spoonie Writer: Goals That Work For You


I decided that since I was reviewing the yearly goals I set myself last week (found here) then I should also talk about how, as a spoonie, I try to set goals that work for me. It can be daunting to look at everyone else making lots and lots of lofty goals and then looking at what you've achieved and feeling like you don't belong. Or even just not knowing how much you can get done in any one period because of your conditions. They can be tricky, they can make it seem like you're not doing enough, but actually you're in the midst of a flare and there's nothing you can do about it but keep going.

I know that to most people looking at my social media, my "highlight reel" they might think that I don't find it hard to meet my goals, or that I don't struggle some days to get the work done, and that's simply not true. Like right now, I'm writing the coming months blog posts, while having a flare, and have been putting stuff off until the final day of the month thinking I would be able to manage it, and to be honest, I'm not. I've been struggling to stay sitting at my desk, and so have been doing a lot of my days work in bed, on my iPad. It works for me, I get what I can done, and then I move onto things that will help relax me, and deal with the flare.

So how do I know what goals work for me? I have the experience of having been doing this for a long time, but also because I already know my limits, and that's what I'm gonna focus on today because I know how lucky I am to be in a position where I do know my limits and also have the time to take extra breaks if I need to because writing is basically my job. Today I'm gonna talk about finding those limits, and making sure your goals aren't gonna push you to breaking point.

A lot of the time people assume that because you have x condition and they have a friend with the same thing, then you'll both experience the condition the same way, and it's just not true. Part of getting to know your limits, if a lot of trying things, and seeing what's too much and what's okay. There's no such thing as too little, you know I fully believe that it takes as long as it takes and that's okay.#

So take this first step and remember that this isn't about pushing yourself into payback and a flare, this is about working out what you can safely do on a good day, a bad one, and all the others in the middle when it's just kinda okay but not.

When I first started using sticky notes to plan my time, I already knew that at a push I could do two things on a bad day, so I only ever set myself one thing a day. This was so that even if it was a bad day, I could at least manage one small thing. I also made sure that I had lots of days off so that if I did too much, or my conditions flared, I didn't lose the progress I'd made. Once you know where your limits are, then you can work out just how much is doable on the worst day, so long as you're able to actually work on those days. I'm not gonna shame anyone who doesn't, just because I can, doesn't mean everyone else can.

But starting small with your goals allows you to get a little done, and know that you're on the right path, so that when you choose to set goals long term, you have some idea of what's manageable and what isn't. And again, I can't be more clear that you will need days off. Even if the little thing isn't taxing, you still need time to recharge and relax. That is not optional!

I say it like this because people are different. I personally know that if I set goals so high that I'd have to push myself into a flare to achieve them, I would do it, because if I set a goal, I want to reach it. So I don't aim too high, but rather stick to just above what I could normally manage and then some months, weeks, etc I don't hit them, and that's okay.

Other people like to push themselves, feeling that if they aim too low that it's not really a goal. I don't agree that it's not a goal, but if you're that kind of person, go and aim for whatever your comfort level is. At the end of the day, you know yourself, and your conditions best and I'm not you.

So those are my three steps for goals that work for me, I wish you all the best of luck with your goal setting, and if you have any questions or want to add to the piece, then please do comment! 

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Friday, 26 June 2020

Review of A Witch Called Red by Sami Valentine


In the dark underworld, she is known as Red, a witch trained as a supernatural bounty hunter, where she came from is a mystery.

When a murdered model washes up on a beach, Red knows the bite marks on the victim can mean only one thing. Teaming up with Lucas, a punk rock vampire with a soul, Red goes to Los Angeles to investigate.

Instead of angels in the shadow of the Hollywood Sign, she only finds more bodies. And a city run by a vampire queen in Lululemon teetering on the brink of supernatural civil war.

Red needs to keep her wits sharp. And her stake sharper. Or she'll die before she even learns her real name…

My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because the cover and blurb were amazing. I was super excited to get into the story, even though I'm not usually one for vampires. I was hooked from the first page, and couldn't help but carry on through the story. Valentine has a way with words, a way to frame the story with just enough intrigue to keep you turning the page without giving away too much too soon. I adored the mystery and kept picking at the clues to try and solve it before the end. It was an amazing read and a series that I plan to follow to the end. Overall, very much recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020


It all seems to be fixed, and yet Lock can't deny something isn't right...

[ID: A graphic with a blue background the header reads: LIGHTS OUT, with a small header underneath reading: out now in paperback & ebook. To the right of those is a New Apple award seal. The excerpt reads:

“Hey, Lana, did you find that fifteenth name?” I asked.
I could hear a loud squeak on her end and wondered what she was doing.
“Name? I told you, I didn’t…,” she said, sounding far away.
“Is it possible the mainframe found her when it went back online?” I asked.
“What’s the name and I can check?”
“Martha Connors, her file says she’s received all three prompts and due process has gone through.”
“Well, the server must have found her then, because I didn’t,” Lana said. “I suppose that’s one crisis averted. You should let Chris know we found her.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul and her website and in bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Six Month Check In With Goals - The Creative Process


I do this every year because I make yearly goals and want to check on my progress through the year. I will usually make the goals themselves on my Authortube channel, but then I review them here on the blog about six months into the year.

This year I made fifteen goals, and I'm just gonna go through each of them and let you know how I'm doing on them!

1. RELEASE LIGHTS ON IN MAY 2020 - DONE! I released Lights On on May 12th, and it went swimmingly well. I'm adoring reading reviews and seeing other people with it on their Kindle and bookshelves, and just basically enjoying the response to this release.

2. RELEASE CRAMPING CHRONICLES: THE FIRST TWINGE IN OCTOBER 2020 - STARTED! This is obviously not done because it's not yet October, but I do have the book with the developmental editor, and it should go to the line editor on July 1st and from there continue on to the release in October. I have the cover reveal next month and if you're interested, the link is here.

3. READ 200 BOOKS - OVER HALF-WAY. I ended upping my goal to 250 books as I was so many books ahead. I think the pandemic and lockdown has just fuelled my reading. I'm over 110 books read and still about 12 ahead of schedule for 250 so this is definitely gonna be done!

I finished both of these at the end of April and am very happy with how that went! I'm hoping to finish two more books this year, but we'll see!

I started these at the beginning of May and am writing my way through them both, but this can be checked off the list.

I still have plans to try and squeeze in a livestream, but with my health still being difficult, it's not yet been something I've managed!

7. COLLAB WITH AT LEAST 5 OTHER AUTHORTUBERS OVER THE YEAR - 2 DONE. I did both the No More Ableist Books Collab & Workstock 3 on the channel, so I'm doing good on this one. I think I plan to try and do some more in the coming months.

8. KEEP UP WITH WRITING LOG - DONE SO FAR. I've been keeping up with this every time I write!

9. KEEP UP WITH AUTHORTUBE CHANNEL - DONE SO FAR. Again, been doing my Thursday posts every week and haven't missed any days, or struggled to keep up with it all.

10. KEEP UP WITH MONDAY AND FRIDAY POSTS ON BLOG - DONE SO FAR. And this one is another that I've been doing really good at keeping up with. I adore my Monday posts, and I'm finding it easier to find Friday authors as well!

11. DO 50 REVIEWS IN 2020 - IN PROGRESS. I've managed to get about 20/25 reviews done this year so far. I'm hoping that I'll manage this one!

12. START EDITS ON LIGHTS OFF AND CRAMPING CHRONICLES: THE SECOND PANG READY FOR RELEASE IN 2021 - HALF DONE. I've started the revision process for Lights Off, and am on the fourth draft after which I think it'll be ready to go to betas, and then start the editing process. I won't start on Cramping Chronicles: The Second Pang until November time.

I don't think this is gonna be possible to do, not with the lockdown, my health and all of that, but I'll keep trying.

. I've managed to do this one every month so far, so that's another good one!

. I've been going easier on myself and trying to squeeze in at least a day off, two if I can manage it, it's good for my mental health and just makes me refill the well.

So from looking at that, I've done a lot of them, and am progressing on track to finish the end of the year with more than half achieved which is a bonus! How are you doing on your yearly goals? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 19 June 2020

Review of A Rebel Witch by Ashley McLeo

The evil queen of demons is after me.

But as long as she remains in Hell, I’m safe.

I hope . . .

Now that I’m participating in the Spy Games—a dangerous competition between magical spy academies—I’ve increased the risk of the queen’s minions finding and dragging me to the depths of the underworld.
In fact, with each passing Spy Game event, it becomes more obvious exactly why the queen wants me.
Most of the time my studies, relationships, and the tournament keep the looming threat of abduction out my mind.
But when someone I love is taken by the demons, I must act.

And face the powerful queen of Hell head-on.

My Review: 5 STARS
I read the first book in this series and was delighted to see the second one out! I picked it up and dived right in. I loved slipping back into the Spellcasters world. Odie is an amazing character, one that you can relate to, and cheer for as she faces all the trouble thrown in her path. McLeo has a way with words, and weaves the world into them. I adored the book, found myself unable to put the book down and wanting to read all the way to the end so that I knew what was going to happen to Odie and the others. The ending almost killed me, and I'm desperate for book three! Highly recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.