Friday 30 August 2019

Review of The First Time I Fell by Jo MacGregor

Living on the edge can be murder.

Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown, all set to finish her master’s thesis in psychology, and convinced that the paranormal experiences of recent months are now behind her.

Then she stumbles across a body in the strangest of places, and starts getting unsettling visions of the woman’s life and death. Local police assume it was suicide, but Garnet is sure it was murder.

Egged on by her eccentric mother, Garnet starts investigating. Police Chief Ryan Jackson is intrigued by the “readings” she gets about the case, but others are determined to stop her amateur sleuthing. Meanwhile some inexplicably strange things are happening at home.

Garnet is determined to find out who killed the beautiful woman loved by so many, but that will mean taking the leap into trusting not only others, but also her own growing psychic abilities. Yet every vision puts her in greater danger. As she gets close to discovering the truth, Garnet realizes that the killer will do whatever it takes to keep the truth hidden.

Even if that means killing again.
My Review:5 stars
I read the first in the series and adored it, so when this one came out, I had to have it. Garnet is back in her small hometown, and she's determined to finish her thesis and not get involved in anything spooky, despite what her mother says! The book was highly engaging, beautifully written and I adored the dynamic between the characters. Garnet's way of thinking was refreshing but also interesting to see how she coped with the changes but also bring her analytical and logical mind around it it. I very much adored the book and will keep reading this series. Highly recommended!

You can follow Jo on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

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 27 August 2019


Tara is struggling to cope with everything going on and it doesn't look like she'll get a break any time soon...



[ID: A graphic with the background of a waterfall and the header of Dying Thoughts - Eighth Ending with the release date below as October 9th 2019. The excerpt reads

“What happened?” Kaolin asked as she pulled away.
“Dad’s not getting better, memory wise. This morning he thought he was off on tour, I had to break it to him again.”
“What have the doctor’s said?”
“I don’t know, because he tells me not to worry and he’ll tell me later and then…”
“He forgets about it.”
“Exactly!” I groaned again. “I love my father and I know none of this is his fault, but with that and the exams and Mike’s investigation and all of the other stress in my life? I just need something to give!”
“Breathe, Tara,” she said, pulling over to the side of the road.


Monday 26 August 2019

5 Tips For Promotion - The After Process


I've just passed my fourteen years as an indie author, and while I'm still very much a small fish, I have been doing this for a while and starting to learn some good ways to get the word out about both my books, releases and just me in general. Part of being an author, especially indie, is developing your brand (piece found here) and part of it is knowing that you can't do everything. But when it comes to promotion, you know you're going to have to, usually, spend some money. But it doesn't have to be a lot, and it doesn't have to be at all depending on how big your social media count is and how early you started building your platform.

So, as someone who's only just, after many years, reached 1K followers anywhere, what do I have to offer you? I'm being upfront that I don't have a huge following because I don't want it to seem like I'm talking from a place of massive success when actually, I'm not. I'm known in some circles, but I'm not in the grand scheme of things. So what's worked for me, and why do I recommend it? Let's get down to business!

I learned this early on, but I didn't have the network that I do now. For that I highly recommend two sites. One is free to join and the other has a small cost every month, but leaves you open to forging friendships and connections that are invaluable. On top of that, they offer marketing plans, e-press kits and all of the like. So, the first one is The Book Robin Hoods. Founded my author, MC Frank, it's a way for both readers, bloggers and authors to meet in the middle. You can request to join the site and from there make a whole heap of connections. You will have to do the work, but that's the point of it all. It's also free. There are some restrictions, such as no erotica, but for a young adult author, that's not a problem. MC Frank is always looking for ways to help other authors and this site is a treasure trove!

The second one, with a cost of $35 a month, is Storiad. They offer you a quick step marketing plan that actually is very detailed and allows you to work out what you need to be doing. There's also the e-press kits which you can customise and use everywhere. They have a massive database that allows you to narrow down your searches. You can friend people and make connections with other authors in your genre, and it gives you a place to start when all else fails. I've found it very helpful and it's one of the reasons that I've stayed with the company even though that $35 was, for a while, a bit too much for me.


I'm talking about ads, whether they be on Amazon, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram and all the rest. I'm a member of a lot of author groups on Facebook and while some of them are more authors yelling: BUY MY BOOK at each other, others will help you work out how to make the ads work for you. I've done Facebook ads and not had much luck. This was a number of years ago and I'm told they're better targeted now. I've also done Instagram ads and had more luck with those. If you try something, do your research to make sure that you're using the right keywords for your target audience and also the right kind of post. It can all make the difference between a successful campaign and one that falls flat. That said, if you do try it and it doesn't work for you, don't feel like you have to keep doing it because it works for other people. Different strokes for different folks, y'know?

This is a big one for a lot of people. I don't have a lot of spare money and what I do have I don't want to pour too much into advertising. A lot of my progress has been made by sharing and reaching out to bloggers, but that doesn't mean that I do no ads at all. I just make sure that I set a budget, and here's the thing, I stick to it. I've been planning to start look into Amazon ads and I'm hoping that it's something that I can find will work for me, but again, gotta do the research first. But if you're worried about pouring money away, work out what a decent budget is for what you can afford and make sure that you stick to it!

This is one mistake I think a lot of newbie authors make. They have a following on Twitter or any other social media (though I see it most on Twitter) and all they do is post buy tweets. They don't talk to people, they don't engage. They just post tweet after tweet about how this book is for sale and here's a link. Some even go as far as auto-dm'ing you and asking you to buy their book. This is a HUGE turn off for readers. I've unfollowed, and muted people who do this because it's not nice. While it may sound like a good idea, it's not. You'll end up being unfollowed or muted and the silence will speak for itself. It also won't really generate sales because no one cares about your book because they don't know who you are behind the blasts. The occasional post about your books are fine, especially around releases and the like, but every tweet is too much!

And finally, #5 - GIVE AND TAKE WORKS TOO
It can be something where you've made friends with other authors in your genre. I have a ton of author friends who also write YA, and between all of us, we've managed to do some cross-promoting. Whether that's me reviewing their books, or them including mine in their newsletter, it's a way to help each other out. That's why The Book Robin Hoods and Storiad are such important tools because it's not just bloggers and readers, but other authors too. It gives you a chance to make some connections and friends and have some help with promotion that you can reciprocate. You don't always give, but you also don't always take and you'll find yourself with some people who have your back, like your work and are willing to share.

So there we have it, my five tips when it comes to promotion. As I said above, I'm not a huge fish, but I'm learning as I go and getting better at it all the time. Lemme know in the comments if you have any tips!

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 23 August 2019

Guest Blog - Joy Jones - 5 Practical Tips For Writers

"Planning to write is not writing.  Outlining... researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing.  Writing is writing.”            -E. L. Doctorow                                            

Everybody says they want to write a book. Great idea, but it needs to be supported with some solid practices. Here are some that have proven their worth in my own work.

  • Make a habit of writing. Keep a journal. Always have a project in progress. If you can't write a lot, then write a little. Early in my writing career, I felt that I had to set aside big blocks of time to do my work. That’s good if you can manage that, but I can seldom manage to do that. So, I write when I can. Over time, the words, the phrases, the pages add up. Eventually, you have a completed work.
  • What are you scared to talk about? That may be the very thing that you need to write about. Good writing tips into the issues that are deep and meaningful. Working through what your place in the world is and what your personal issues are often resonants with others.
  • Join a writer's group. Being around others who are writing encourages you to keep going. I know I would not have finished my novel if I had not been in a writing group. Knowing that I have to produce a chapter at the next meeting spurs me to get that chapter written. Especially since I have to read and critique the work of everyone else in the group. No way am I going to read your work and miss out on having my work read and reviewed, too!
  • Read. Read books within the genre you wish to publish.  Read books on the writing life.  Read just for the sheer pleasure of it.  Some of my favorites:

◦ If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland

◦ Walking on Alligators, by Susan Shaugnessy

◦ Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

Stein on Writing by Sol Stein

  • Understand the market. Write about the things that capture your interest and stir your passion but be sure to ask the hard question - "Who will pay money to read this?" - in order to identify a market for your work. Some writing is just for you. Some writing is for the public. Once, a friend who likes writing poetry asked me where could he get a collection of poems published. “Where do you buy poetry?” I asked him. The answer was, he didn’t buy poetry. He wrote poems but never read the poetry of others. His words - as is much poetry - were mostly for his own soul. There’s not a large market for poems. So, if he wants to get published, he needs to study the market to see what people really want and actually buy. You need to do the same thing.

  • Don't be envious.  Sometimes there’s a bit of professional jealousy among writers when someone is successful. I’m guilty of feeling, “Why him, and not me?” Use that energy to prod yourself forward. Tell yourself “If she can do it, so can I.” There's enough for everybody. Your progress won't be diminished by someone else's success.

• And finally, pay attention to that still, small voice.  That's the best guide for figuring out what the next step is.


Joy Jones is a trainer, performance poet, playwright and author of several books including Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers; and Tambourine Moon, Her latest book is Fearless Public Speaking. If you like observing the creative process in progress, check out interviews with artists of every variety on her Instagram feed on Fridays at #joyjones1433.

You can follow Joy on Instagram and Twitter.

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 20 August 2019


Tara is having to deal with the effects of her father's accident on a daily basis...

[ID. A graphic of a waterfall in the distance with the heading of Dying Thoughts - Eighth Ending and below that the release date of October 9th 2019. The excerpt reads:

“You’re back,” he said. “I thought you were spending the night at Kaolin’s before I go on tour? I thought I had the house to myself.”
I sighed quietly, telling myself that he’d already made progress and that nothing was guaranteed. I knew getting frustrated and angry with him would not help matters.
“Dad, we talked about this remember?” I said, trying to sound more patient than I felt. “You were in an accident, then a coma and now it’s June, you’ve got some problems with short term memory but you’re making big steps. You remember?”


Monday 19 August 2019

Spoonie Writer: Writing When You Can Revistied


I haven't written on this subject in a long while and it felt like, since I was revisiting over post similar to this one, that it was a good one to focus on. If you're interested, the first post can be found here. I will just clarify that a spoonie is someone who has, through mental or physical disabilities and conditions, limited energy that impacts how much they can do in a day. I started these pieces because I felt very much like a lot of the usual writing advice posts that I saw focused on getting as much done as possible in one day, and didn't really account for those of us who just... can't.

So, in the time since I first talked about this, I have been dealing with a number of new health conditions. I have also gotten a whole lot more organised not just with my working life, but my personal one too. I have a routine that helps me stay on track with my goals, but also allows me time to rest, recuperate and get stuff done.

I could talk to you about organisation, but I've done that before. It is something I intend to touch on again at some point, but this piece is for the spoonies out there who know that no matter how organised they become, they will never hit that point of having written 10K words in one writing session. Or taken part in a twelve hour writeathon, or something along those lines. This isn't a jab at those that do manage that, more power to you, but this piece isn't for you.

I wanted to write something because I've noticed a lot on online spaces for writers, whether that's on Tumblr, or Twitter or somewhere else, that a lot of pressure is put on people to achieve massive amounts of work in the smallest amount of time possible. I do that to some degree, but what people don't see, and did when I did a day in my life vlog on Authortube (video found here) is that I spend half of the working day relaxing and the other half up in bed, ready to call it a night by at least 6pm.

Now I am productive, I know a lot of you know that. One of the reasons I stopped posting the monthly word, pages and chapter count for #JoWriMoGo was that it felt like I was saying to people that: hey I'm disabled and sick and managed this, why can't you? And that's not something I ever want to do. I don't want to be the disabled person that abled people use to make you feel bad. On top of that, I know that a lot of what I manage is done because I've tried and played with my schedule to make sure that I know what I can complete and what I can't. I know that there are bad days when I just can't do anything, so matter how hard I try.

So when it comes to writing, and when it comes to spoonie life, just be gentle with yourself. You know what you can manage and while it may be hard to see other people doing more, and feel that peer pressure to be up there with them, just remember that it takes as long as it takes and that's completely okay. You are battling against things they are not, and it's okay to need to take breaks. There's nothing cool about working yourself to the bone.

On top of that, there are some circumstances where you can find your limits and make sure you are as productive as you can be on your good days. Like right now, I normally don't do blog posts until the end of the month, but I wanted an extra day off and today is a good day, so I'm pushing myself just a little to get all of that done now so that I can spend the few days after Mepo relaxing and just doing no work at all.

Sometimes you have to take what you can get, and writing is no different. So even if you will never win Nano, or you'll never write for a full 12 hours, or you'll never hit 10K in one day, hell, even 2K, that's okay, because so long as you put words on the page, you're still winning. You just gotta go at your own pace. It's not a race, and you will get there.

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

Sunday 18 August 2019


Tara has a choice to make. She can trust Nate with her gift or she can keep silent and hope he understands the deceit. 

[ID: A graphic with a waterfall in the background and the words Dying Thoughts - Eighth Ending across the top. Underneath that is the release date of October 9th 2019. The excerpt reads:

I knew that telling Nate, while possible, would be too much of a risk.
If he even believed me, what happened when, not if, because I was pretty sure we weren’t going to stay together for ever, we broke up? What if he told someone, like Gareth? I had to protect myself and I wished I could tell him that my secrecy was me doing just as he wanted: keeping myself safe.
Did I want to tell him? Sure, there were times it would be nice to share that side of myself. I couldn’t risk it though, it wouldn’t end well and at best, he’d think I was lying or joking.
At worst? It didn’t bear thinking about.


Friday 16 August 2019

Review of Summer Heat: Imperfectly Yours Anthology

Summer Heat Anthology – Disability & Romance Authors

Footprints on My Heart – Julie Rowe
Gemma Foster had the perfect life until a horrific crash took her husband and her hearing. Every day is a struggle but she finds strength, love and support from her guide dog and maybe…possibly…hopefully from her dog’s trainer. Hank wants more than friendship but he’s afraid to make a move and Gemma needs to know why.

Emergency Love – Dianne Drake
Doctor Anna Quinn has been running for years, trying to keep her daughter safe as well as provide a good life for the two of them. Finally, she’s found the place where she feels safe, and settles in with Evie to begin their new life. But a familiar face in the hospital causes her to want to run, again.

The Deep End – Teri McGill
Harper and Brady briefly met as teens fifteen years ago. She was drowning, he gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and she never forgot that first kiss…even though she was unconscious for most of it. Now Harper’s a single mother of deaf twins and Brady hides behind scars, both visible and invisible, in addition to PTSD. Fate steps in when they are reunited at a camp for special-needs kids. Will their shared vision for the camp’s future include a happy forever after of their own?

Jeopardy – Lucy Marker
Trish is happy to bond with Charlie over comedies and cartoons but fears the vulnerability and intimacy of romance. He challenges her to recognize true beauty runs deeper than the appearance and limitations of her arthritic, mature body.

Rip Current – Susan Sheehey
The rip current of love is dangerous and unyielding, but it might be the only rescue for two adrift hearts. Even for an imperfect lifeguard who struggles with trust, and a psychologist, masking years of grief. Will embracing their flaws and accepting love save them from the tumultuous waters of life?

Snooze You Lose, Baby – Karen Chesley
Snooze You Lose, Baby, and you might miss the chance of a lifetime to find the one love destined to hit you like a rocket. Lucas was unprepared for such a moment, as was Sela. Together they fight their way to bliss and avoid the kiss of death…or do they?

Lakeside Kisses – CJ Matlyn
A shy businesswoman struggling with social anxiety connects with a hot guy who’s a communication guru and brings new meaning to the concept of opposites attracting. Both think mixing business with pleasure is a no-no. Or is it?

Second Chance Summer – Libby Kay
Maggie and Elliot were made for each other. Can they overcome their past and find a way back together? Elliot knows he can be the man Maggie deserves, but she’s been shaken by her MS diagnosis. Can she trust Elliot, and her own body, again? Follow the pair as they search for their happily ever after.

Guiding Light – Dal Cecil Runo
Hurley Morgan, a blind Folk-Metal musician, travels with the band to Iceland for a very special gig inside a lighthouse. There, a landscape photographer prepares a photo exhibit. An invisible force pulls these two strangers closer, reviving unexpected memories from their pasts.

No Protocols for Love – Jen FitzGerald
Tyson Collier swore he'd never go back in the closet. Hockey player Semyon "Semka" Novikoff can't ever come out of it. They embark on a secret relationship with an expiration date. When they part ways, both miss the other, but they can never be. At least that's what they tell themselves.

Between the Pages – Joelle Casteel
Joon and Adam enjoy their trip to the library. Afterwards, Joon recounts their first date with Adam adding cherished details. At home, Adam helps Joon feel better with massage and lovemaking. After they score a new power scooter for Joon, seeing how it works for impulsive, hot sex gives them moans and laughs.

All Royalties for this eBook will go to: @PetsForVets

My Review: 5 stars
I've never really been someone who read anthologies that much simply because I'd never found the right one. And this was the right one! All the romance in bite-sized pieces and all about protagonists with disabilities by authors with disabilities. I adored every story, I fell in love with the way they were told, each new voice bringing a different feeling to mind. I liked the way it didn't stick to male and female romance but branched out. The stories were beautifully told, the authors all having that talent to make you want to ship their characters, and will be checking out their longer novels soon enough. I adored the whole thing, and I especially loved Guiding Light, No Protocols for Love and Second Chance Summer. Overall an amazing read and one I highly recommend for all!

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 13 August 2019


Tara has a choice to make, but it doesn't really feel like she has much say in it..

[ID: A graphic with the background of a waterfall, with the heading for Dying Thoughts - Eighth Ending and the release date as October 9th. The contents of the excerpt read:

“Do I have a choice?” I asked, softly.
“Of course you do,” he said.
“But it could mean that they, my bosses I mean, decide that the trauma is too much to expose a minor to.”
“So I don’t really have a choice, then do I? I mean, Clare doesn’t know half of it, she doesn’t know about my gift and as far as she’s aware, I just volunteer here with my time. How do you plan to ask her for a mental health report, if you can’t even tell her why?”


Monday 12 August 2019

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Revisiting New Ideas

One of the things I hear going around the writing community a lot is the thought that your idea that you've come up with for your novel isn't "new", that it's been done before and therefore is invalid as an idea. I'm here to tell you that's just not true. I wrote a piece about it way back and you can find that here. I wanted to go back over my points simply because it seems to be something that keeps going around and I felt like adding my two cents would be a good thing.

So, what can I tell you that someone else hasn't? There's really only so many ways you can say that every idea has, in some form, been done before, but it's not just that. For me, thinking up new ideas is a process that has changed a lot over my years as a writer. I used to sit and brainstorm for ideas. I didn't have anything solid and would just think up plot points and try and connect them together. Of course, I was 19 and didn't even think about the fact that they'd all, most likely, been done before. I was just happy to start creating whatever I could think of.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I see some of those other ideas linked tangibly to the ones I wrote. I don't know whether I was influenced by books I'd read directly or if it was just a subconscious thing, but I do know that my ideas whether at the basic premise level they were the same, did not end up that way. Because that's the thing when it comes to writing. Everyone tells a story a different way and while the nuts and bolts might be the exact same thing as the person next to you, you're both going to tell wildly different stories. Which is awesome and something that's worth remembering when you get struck by that self-doubt and thinking that you're just copying someone else.

In my time writing I have had, quite a few, ideas that have been tangibly similar to either books I've written before (and abandoned) or stories that I've read. I read a whole ton, usually over 150 books a year so I have a lot of influence from fiction. However, I know that when I sit down to write, I'm thinking about my own characters and my own way of doing things, and I'm not reading someone else's work to do that.

Touching on that books being abandoned point. When I first had the idea for Lynne & Hope, it was basically the same as what is now Destination: Unknown. I abandoned the first draft of Lynne & Hope because I couldn't get into it, and I didn't like where the story was going. I filed it away and planned to pick it up at another time. In the end, it was only once I finished a book and didn't have anything else to write that I went looking through that pile in my storage cupboard. I found the bare bones of Lynne & Hope and changed it completely into the story it is now.

However, that idea never really left me because it then got turned into Destination: Unknown, something I only thought to write when we moved from my flat into the house I live in now which is part of my town's history. It was that link that made me think: hmm, what if? And then I got writing and the rest is history. My point is, that I was able to use the same idea twice and neither book were anything alike. Ideas are the bare bones, the rest is up to us as writers to do with what we will.

I'm pretty sure there are no completely unique ideas, but books are unique in their execution. So when someone says that your idea is too close to this book or that, remember that you, as the writer, will have a lot of power at how that plot and story goes and don't shove an idea away because it's been "done before". Unless you were the one to tell it, you can probably tell a different story. And even if you are the one who told it, you can still add twists and turns that are nothing like the first.

So keep writing and remember that no idea at its core is unique. It's the writing it out that makes the story and only you can do that.

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