Tuesday, 17 May 2022

#TeaserTuesday

This is the first Tara is hearing about a family history for her ability, and she's not happy about it...

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[ID: A cracked yellow wall background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback above the title. The except reads:

“Why won’t you talk about it?” I demanded.
“Talk about what?” he replied, giving me an innocent “I-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about” look.
“Mum.”
“What about her?” I swear I am going to scream!
“You know what I’m talking about,” I told him. “I want to know why you told Dr. Ashton Mum had the same problem as me yet you never told me.”
“Ah, that.” Yes, THAT!! “It’s nothing important.” Not to you maybe.
“What do you mean?” I asked, resisting the urge to throttle my own father.
“Exactly what I said. Your mother had similar episodes and they could never discover what was wrong with her either.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday, 16 May 2022

Why Reading Is Important - The Creative Process

WHY READING IS IMPORTANT

I'm sure that as a writer, like me, you have been told many, many times that reading is important. You don't need me to list all the basic facts because it's something that's been ingrained in us from a young age. If you want to write books you need to read them, you need to read in your category and genre and you need to keep doing so, otherwise how are you going to know what works and what doesn't? How are you going to know what you like and what you don't? It's been told so many times that I honestly believe that I could recite the same speech people give me from memory.

I'm not going to do that because you're not here to have it repeated to you again. Instead, I'm going to do something different, or at least I'm going to attempt to, you can be the judge as to whether or not I pulled it off.

Writers are, by definition, people who tell stories for a living. Whether that's imagined ones, or real ones in the case of non-fiction. We, as humans, are natural story tellers. There are some who are better than others, like with any other art form, and there are some who strive and work and never quite get to the point where they want to be. That's normal, it happens to all of us. We learn by doing, by exploring, and yes, by admiring other people's way of doing things, which is reading in this case.

If a painter wants to get better at their craft, then they study, the work, they get critique and insight from other painters and those with skill in their art. They may go to museums and look at what's on display, get inspired from something they've seen tried, a particular technique, and they learn and grow at what they're doing by putting the brush to the canvas and painting, trying this and that and going from there. It's how it works.

I say that as someone who has never managed to paint anything bar a few paint by numbers, and has no artistic talent for drawing, painting or anything visual. I assume it works the same for them as it does for writers because I do admire art and I have friends who are very much talented in that regard. My best friend, B, who designs my book covers is a talented artist as is her seventeen year old, though they also do writing as well. Despite not being related to me by blood, they seem to have picked up both our habits as we've brought them up.

So when it comes to writing, you can do many things to try and improve your craft. You can write and write and write, but you may find that you stagnate. You may find that you get better, but not as much as you could if you were to engage with others like you. So you can go to school and pick up creative writing classes, and again, they can help you. You might find yourself finding a certain technique talked about in the course and actually be able to apply it to your own process and bloom from there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

You may also find that dealing with critique partners or groups will help you grow too. You'll be getting feedback from other writers, who are also readers, and you'll be able to see things in your own work that maybe you missed because you didn't quite have that critical eye. It happens to all of us because we're too close to our own stories. You may do something like watch Authortube, and find that the advice given there really helps you move up a level or two, or more, and you manage to get to the point where you know you're improving and you know that you're getting better with your work. Again, absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. We all learn different ways and we all have different techniques and styles, and it's great that you've found something that works for you.

But, and I'm guessing some of you saw this coming, one way to be sure that you will always keep moving forward is to do as much of that, and, do some reading. I know that people will look at my stats and think they have no time to read as much as I do. And that's completely okay. I'm edging closer to 200 books this year, and already had to increase my goal. To be honest, since the pandemic happened, I'm still in awe at myself for managing to read so much. It used to be that I would manage 150/175 books a year and that was more than enough. You don't have to strive to do what I do, but you do need to find a level that works for you.

If that means reading one book a week, or one book a month, whatever works for you is completely okay and valid. Reading is going to help you spot so many things that yes, you might be able to learn from other places, but the way it brings all of the above together into a finished piece is something that, personally, I don't think you can beat.

Reading is important, and having down time to recharge is important, and if doing both at the same time works for you, even better. If it doesn't, there's nothing wrong with that. You work to your pace and to your ability. No one can ask more than that.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

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, 13 May 2022

Review of Compliance by Clare Littlemore

A gender experiment. An exiled community. A forbidden love.

Sixteen-year-old Faith is proud to attend Danforth Academy, a cutting-edge school in the all-female province of Bellator. But when tragedy strikes a fellow student, she suspects there is a darker side to the prestigious institution. Determined to protect herself and her friends, she goes looking for answers.

Her investigation brings her face-to-face with Noah, a boy from Eremus: a community the Bellator authorities claim they destroyed years ago.

Faith has been taught that all men are monsters. She knows she should turn Noah in. But she is drawn to the intriguing stranger and his unfamiliar way of life. As she learns more about him, she begins to question everything she’s ever known.

When a vicious attack involving both communities rocks the city, Faith finds herself at the centre of a web of lies.

Can she count on Noah for help? Or will he turn out to be the monster she’s always feared?

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I was in the mood for a dystopian and this one came up on my radar, and I was happy to jump right in. I ended up finishing it all in one sitting as I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages, desperate to find out how things were going to turn out. I loved Noah and Faith, loved the way the world building was spread nicely between the words and the twists and turns kept me guessing the whole time. It’s a series I will want to read more of, and I really did like that ending! Overall, a good read for anyone who like dystopian with a romance twist! 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, 10 May 2022

#TeaserTuesday

Tally doesn't remember what happened to her, only that this wasn't her life before...

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[ID: A midnight blue background with the title BLACKOUT at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback above the title. The except reads:

No one had really told me what had happened to me – I mean, I knew it was supposedly drug induced but I didn’t know what I was supposed to have taken. I asked Mum but she kept telling me it wasn’t important and I shouldn’t worry so much about it. In the end all she would say was that I was very lucky to only escape with a bit of a dodgy memory. So people keep telling me – though I would call it no memory! I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, it was dark out and Mum was talking to the Anti-Dad in the kitchen. More like Mum was talking and the evil one was yelling.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite Review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday, 9 May 2022

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Ideas Fun

 
THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: IDEAS FUN

Over the years, I have thought up a lot of different crimes, and the execution, clues and ways that the bad guys will get caught. I've also read a whole ton of crime novels and generally find some that surprise me with the way they do things. It's something I've loved about writing in that anything is possible, you can pretty much choose any kind of plot and if you can pull it off, it'll work and the readers will eat it up.

That said, I do want to enjoy my work. Someone, many years ago now, told me that because I wrote young adult, and because, at the time, one of my main genres was crime/mystery, I shouldn't have the 'bad' crimes included because that would be detrimental to my readers. I laughed it off because as a teen, nothing interested me more than a mystery or a crime novel. I wanted to devour them all and learn all the different ways things could be done, and yet I've grow up to be a, somewhat, respectable human being. I've certainly never committed any crime!

So when it comes to being a crime writer, I've always wanted to make things fun. Yes, I write mostly dark fiction, but that comes with the territory of dealing with the genres that I do. I've found that over the years I'll think up a new twist here and there and find myself having a lovely time doing so. Now, before you close the browser and back away thinking that I'm some kind of weirdo, I am only talking about fictional crime here. I don't condone anything bad that happens in my books. Sometimes the characters go places that I never would, but that's the beauty of fiction. You can see how things work, and never actually feel the need to experience it first hand yourself.

I know it sounds like I'm some deranged individual, locked up in my office and thinking of new and interesting ways to kill people, but I promise that's not the case. Having fun with your work isn't something everyone gets to do, but when I became a writer, all those years ago, it was one thing that always helped me look forward to getting up in the morning and doing my own thing. I enjoyed getting to put pen to paper and actually write out the scenes that were clambering up in my mind. I still do enjoy that.

But how do you keep that spark to your work? When you've drafted as many books as I have (almost forty to date), and while all of them haven't been crime related, you start to wonder if the ones you do write will be stale and uninteresting by the time you're done and they make it to the bookshelf. I've always been very strict with myself when it comes to plot and such. I don't want to be predictable, I don't want my readers to see the killer or villain a mile off. I want to give them that spark of astonishment when it comes to the big reveal. If I can't do that with the majority of my readers, then I kinda consider that I've failed at my job, and that's not something that I can ever aspire to do.

So I make sure that when I'm plotting (if you can call what I do plotting, but that's a piece for another time, if you're interested, here's one here) I have a clear idea of three things. The crime, the victim, and the bad guy. If I don't know all of that, then I can't be sure to be able to leave in those clues along the way. While yes, I have changed course mid-story, those are always a pain to revise, and I like to avoid doing so when possible. It has happened, and I have managed to achieve my objective that way, but I'd rather not have to go through all the drafts to do so.

If I have a clear idea of the victim and the crime, then I have my starting point. I know what to do to lead up to that crime happening, and I know who it is that I'm going to be writing about. I will also, generally speaking, have some idea of who will be investigating since the majority of my books are written in first person. Since I'm a planster - a mixture of a planner and a pantser - I know that along the way I will discover new bits and pieces that strengthen the case against the bad guy. Sometimes I find other things that will help me build a stronger argument for someone else being guilty and other times I just find little snippets as to the real motive of the crime. Either way, I'm having a whole lot of fun doing it, and it's one thing I do love about diving into a new project, especially when it happens to have an integral mystery to it.

That said, I do, sometimes, find out along the way that the initial bad guy was actually a red herring, and that someone else makes more sense. If that happens, then yeah, it's a lot of work with revision, but it gives me that same spark of astonishment that I'm looking for in my readers. I adore my job, I love getting to tell stories for a living and I love getting to explore and create new worlds and all of that. But at the end of it all, I am just someone who loves crafting a good mystery and getting to discover all the ins and outs of it as I write.

After all, if you can't have fun while literally making something up, when can you?

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

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, 6 May 2022

Review of The Rhythm Of My Soul by Elin Dyer

Welcome to Roseheart Ballet Academy, where the best dancers have the biggest secrets…

Taryn Foster has her eyes set on becoming the first aro-ace ballerina in the academy’s company of professional dancers, and all she needs to do is graduate. But she’s haunted by the ghost of her dead sister—and now she’s living for the two of them.

Teddy Walker has a serious illness. But he’s determined to hide how ill he is and continue dancing—even if it kills him.

Jaidev Ngo was arrested the last time he danced. Now, he’s having a new start at Roseheart Academy, but someone here knows about his past—and that person wants revenge.
 

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the whole blurb and cover spoke to me. I’ve read some of Dyer’s work before and loved it and this one was no different. I didn’t know much about dancers, or ballet, but the way the story is told, you don’t need to to enjoy it immensely. I loved Taryn and the other POV characters, loved the twists and turns that came along with the story and loved just how it all came together. This is definitely a series to read again and again. Very much recommended and highly enjoyable for those who like a bit of mystery and intrigue in their stories!

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, 3 May 2022

#TeaserTuesday

Lana refuses to let Lock and the rebels get the best of her...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/LOFF

[ID: A smoky grey forest background with the title LIGHTS OFF at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback below the title. The except reads:

If she didn't get an answer soon, she may not be sent for a final sleep, but Maggie would be passing it up the chain of command all the ways Lana had failed in her missions.
She couldn’t let Lock’s betrayal be the thing that defined her. She wouldn’t let it.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite Review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday, 2 May 2022

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Managing Targets & Goals

THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: MANAGING TARGETS & GOALS

Those who have been following me for a while will know that I'm very much someone who does goals and the like. I do them on Authortube, as well as on a private blog, in my planner and all over the place. I'm someone who likes to track words, and pages and chapters, and how many books I read. I do all of this, and it works for me. However, it's taken me a long, long time to be able to get to the point where I am at now, working out what the best goals and targets are for me on any given month. So I thought that I would break down how I manage my targets and my goal setting for you today.

#1 NARROW DOWN WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
By this I mean, don't throw in goals on a monthly basis, if you know that it doesn't have to be done right away. Or if it's something that you can't manage in a month. I will generally break down the goals on a month by month basis. Like I know I want to read 350 books this year, so I'll break that down into what I need to read every month, and every week. The same can be applied to writing. I know that in any given month, I'm, usually, aiming for about 20 chapters and 45K words, so I make sure that I break it down week by week about how much I need to get done.

If you jump in at the deep end and set a goal or target of writing 50K words in a month, and you don't really know what you're going to put those 50K words in, then you're setting yourself up to fail. While yes, you can hop around projects, hell I do the same, but you need to be, somewhat, aware of what you're planning to do with those words.

#2 A TARGET IS NOT THE SAME AS A GOAL

I mean they are similar in that both are things we aim to achieve, but they're not the same thing, at least to me. For me a target is something on a smaller scale, like hitting a certain word count on your projects, or reading a number of books. That, to me, is very much a target because it doesn't really have any end date in sight. If you set the target to get to 10K words, and you manage it, there's no reason that it has to be over a certain time period.

A goal on the other hand is something with a deadline. When I say I want to write 20 chapters by the end of the month, that, to me, is very much a goal. It's something that I am actively working towards the whole time that I'm writing that month. I know where the words need to be project wise, and I know what I'm going to be doing. Goals, I think, go over a longer time span than a target which has a smaller threshold and no end date needed. Like I do monthly goals on that private blog, but I also do bi-monthly ones on my Authortube channel. They are all specific to a time period and I make sure that I keep trying to tick them off.

#3 BE SPECIFIC WITH BOTH

I say with both because there's no good have a target or a goal where the end result is a hit or miss as to whether you reach exactly what you initially planned to. Like if I say I'd like to finish a book this year. I take that to mean do a first draft, but others could take it to mean have the book ready and out by the end of the year. It's different context for everyone and so you gotta be specific when you talk about hitting your targets or goals. It might even be that you personally change you mind about what the end result was, and then you're either making it too hard on yourself, or not hard enough.

So always remember to be specific with both because if you're going to be working on them, you need to know what you, the person making the goal, wants the outcome to be. There have been times when I've made a goal and called it done, when actually I realise that it changed at some point in the time between starting and finishing.

#4 GOALS AND TARGETS AREN'T SET IN STONE

Coming off that last point, you don't have to set things in stone. Life and other things will have an impact on you. It might be that you end up going through a period when you can't do something, and because of that you end up behind on your goals. True, you can try and make it up, but using NaNoWriMo as an example, the words missing pile up quickly and it makes it harder and harder for you to reach that end results.

So if you find that you're struggling, don't be afraid to change that target or goal, and remember to be kind to yourself. Don't set yourself up to fail, and keep going.

Any questions? 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