Monday 30 September 2019

Revisiting Tara & Kaolin: The End Of Dying Thoughts


Well, fifteen years in the making and we're finally at this point. I wrote years back about what it was like writing Tara and Kaolin, (piece found here) but I thought it would be a good idea to revisit them both now that the series is almost over, and the final book is coming out in a few weeks.

Tara was just a seed of an idea when I sat down to write the first book, and then as I grew as a writer, she came along for the ride. Even though I officially penned the last word in December of 2016, the book is finally ready for people to read her last story. It was a heart-wrenching one to write, but I somewhat knew as I approached writing book eight, that it was going to be. I had the idea for the very end from the start, but the contents of that final story didn't really come to me until I started writing book seven.

So how far has Tara come since then? Well, she was fourteen, in year 10 and desperate to get her schooling days over with. In the time the series in set, it was still legal for kids to finish their mandatory schooling at sixteen, with the optional choice to go onto college, but Tara never wanted that. At the very start she didn't know what she wanted to do, but she was damn sure it wasn't going to involve more exams and school in whatever form that may be.

By the end of the fifth book, Tara's mind has changed. She has a direction, a purpose, a choice of what she wants to do and while A-levels are necessarily required she will have two years to wait before she can join the police force. So off to college she goes, and the eighth book brings a final end to it all.

Writing Tara is second nature to me, even though it's been almost three years since I ended the series, I can still slip back into that character and know exactly how she will react and why. As I've gone through the editing process, it's nice to be both saying goodbye to her, but also to be allowing all my readers to finally know the end of Tara's journey.

And along the way, Kaolin has been a constant for Tara, from that first meeting in the first book, to the end of the eighth, they have been firm friends. There's been ups and downs for both of them, but one thing has remained true and that is that they are very close, and are going to be, probably for the rest of their lives. Even when Kaolin moves on to her own studying without Tara there, the two are not out of touch for long.

As Tara has grown, she has learned a thing or two about her past, about the mother she barely remembers, about the father who's shielded her from so much of her own life, about Mike, about Kaolin, and about herself. I feel like the end of the series is both perfect for what it is, and bittersweet to be finally saying goodbye and closing the book on Tara and everyone involved in her story.

People have asked whether I've thought about doing small stories that involve her, and the answer is not really. I know that Tara is the bigger of my main characters because her story spans eight books, but I am happy with the way it all ended. I hope my readers will be too!

So just as a reminder, Dying Thoughts - Eighth Ending is out on October 9th! You can pre-order the ebook here and if you do pre-order, I'm sending out some awesome SWAG which you can claim here.

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 27 September 2019

Interview with Joey Paul

I decided that since I spend Fridays promoting other authors, that I might do something a little different and answer my own questions today! It felt like something fun to do!

So you all know about me already so let's get onto the interview!

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
I'd have to say characters that I've written more recently, like Jessie from the Cramping Chronicles series which is starting next year. She's disabled, with similar conditions to me, and I can't help but feel like I get her on a deep level. That could be because I wrote her, but also because I relate to her so very much!

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
I do! Depending on which genre I'm writing in at the moment. I think the only one I don't read that much is fantasy, and that's simply because I've never really been one for that genre even though I ended up writing a whole series in it! I think my favourite genre has to still be the crime/mystery genre and I love YA. I could read YA until the day I die and never grow tired of it!

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Relatable, Intriguing, Real

What was the first story you ever told?
I think it would have to be the one I wrote when I was about six or seven. I was staying with my great-nan and she loved cats so I wrote a whole "book" about cat people and their lives. There was even a murder mystery which I'm sure worried her no doubt!

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
Yes and no. I didn't plan to be a writer when I grew up, that was always going to be a back up plan, but the majority of my life I wanted to be a doctor. It was something I knew from a young age and it was really only when I got sick and had to stop college, and then stop working, that I fell into writing. I'd always loved telling stories, but I kinda saw it as something I'd do in my spare time!

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!
I do! I have my desk, which is a huge corner desk from IKEA and it's basically my go-to writing space. It has room for all my notes, my pop vinyl army and everything I need. When we moved to this place, there were two rooms for me since the lift goes through them, and so I finally got an office, which is where I do all my creating! Unless I'm writing in bed and then I have a nice set up there too!

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?
No, not for me. I have a hearing issue and it makes it impossible for me to listen to any type of music and still concentrate. I can just about manage with background noise like cafe sounds or such, but music is a no-go when writing!

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
Hmm, I think for me the big ones are Twitter and Instagram. I love meeting new people on both and I do seem to spend most of my time split between the two! I think it also depends on what genre you write as to whether or not you hang on on Facebook and the like. I personally have as many as I can, but obviously I'm not hugely active on all of them!

Where do you hang out most online?
I'd have to say an even split between Twitter and Instagram. I do daily posts on both and will do Insta-stories throughout the day as well. It works well for me!

Do you have a favourite app for writing? 
I use Open Office. I used to do Word but it kept losing my work and so now I only use that for formatting and such. I'm pretty happy with Open Office though I do have OfficeSuite Pro on my tablet and phone for any writing away from my computer.

Organised or not?
I'm pretty organised. I have my time slotted out, I know when I'm supposed to be writing and what. I make sure that everything has it's place, which is really weird because in the planning aspect of writing, I am not organised at all!

What's your favourite book you've read?
Why did I put this one on here?? LOL. I would have to say that I love the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton. I was devastated when she died since it meant the series would stop at Y, but I do love it. I re-read it at least once a year.

Morning or evening writer?
I'm very much an afternoon writer. I will be setting up to get going around 11/midday and then will write until I finish, but usually for a good few hours and then I'm done by about 4/5 time.

If you had a hashtag for your books, what would it be?

You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or my Youtube channel!

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 24 September 2019


Tara has lost the one strong force she thought she could always rely on...

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

“I’m sorry, Mr. Clifford died. We did everything we could, but we couldn’t get him back,” she replied.
The words kept playing over and over in my head and all I could focus on was that word: died. Mike was gone, there was no long recovery for him. There was no future where I’d witness his pride when I got my first job with the force.
There was nothing. Mike was dead, and I would never see him again.


Monday 23 September 2019

Spoonie Writer: Writing In Pain


It's been a while since I've talked about this, and as it's never really been about the pain so much as about the thing the pain causes, such as hospital visits and down time (pieces found here and here.) But given that in the last month I spent a week in the hospital and have, since then, been diagnosed with a new fun symptom of my chronic pain conditions, I wanted to touch on it specifically, because I feel like too much time is spent telling people how to work around being sick, and not what happens when you just... can't.

I'm guilty of that, I have spent a lot of my time on the blog, in my career, on my Authortube channel, talking about how to manage your time and be as productive as you need to be. And that's both true and it's not, because sometimes it's not the pain that's stopping me from writing, it's just my want to be lazy or to avoid a problem I'm finding in my work. And in those cases, yes it's a good thing to push yourself, but when you're chronically ill, when you have a chronic pain condition, sometimes you can't push yourself without it coming back to bite you in the backside.

So what do you do when you can't write? When the pain is super bad and all the painkillers in the world won't help? You stop. You rest. You take as long as you need, and you take your time. Because no matter how much the abled world likes to tell us, we're valid whether we're being productive or not. It's a hard lesson to learn, but it's one that I feel the need to spread.

Here's some things that might help with that, but be aware that they're just my tools and they might not fit in your toolbox, but that doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you if they don't! Everyone is different and it's taken me a long time to be okay with using these tools, and managing to be okay with taking the time to refresh, to relax, to be in pain and still function through it all. I hope they help you too.

Sometimes it can feel like work to read, but other times it's good to just lose yourself in a book. Even if it's something you can only do in small doses, it can be enough to take your mind of the pain and allow you to get some restorative rest.

I will usually only turn to this if there's nothing else that works. Simply because I have a hearing issue and sometimes when I feel worse, I'm not able to focus all that well on the sounds and what's happening on screen, but it can be a great way to spend your downtime.

Depending on how you do with voice, sometimes just texting can be enough. Personally I prefer using Skype or voice to talk because it allows me to close my eyes and just focus on the words. My editor is great at this, when I was in hospital she kept me company, kept me sane through Skype calls and good headphones. It helped in the darkest times and it allowed me to stay somewhat connected to work without having to actually do any.

I did this while I was in the hospital, during some down time when I actually felt well enough to be doing something. I wasn't up to actually writing, but I did have my phone and good headphones and was able to use the memo app to record a few bits and pieces of dialogue and action scenes as a way to make sure I didn't forget it before I got back to my computer.


Sleep can be a great healer, it can be something that allows you to both get better from a current issue, and also give you the tools to keep fighting the pain. I did a whole ton of this in hospital. For the first few days, I was actually falling asleep mid-conversation and it was annoying, but so very much needed. It allowed my body to rest, but it also gave me a chance to spend some time away from the pain. I don't know about you, but I don't feel pain in my dreams.

So while this piece is titled about writing while in pain, I wanted to give it a better sense of the idea that we don't have to always be productive to be valid as either writers or people. We are allowed to take the time to recover. Yes, there are no days when I'm not in some level of pain, and on those I'm able to write. But there are way too many when the pain is just too much and I feel the need to keep pushing myself to meet my goals. Which isn't healthy either for my body, or in general.

So remember that you can take rests, that breaks are important, and keep fighting, you will get there. The time it takes doesn't matter, it's just the destination that's important.

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 20 September 2019

Interview with KB Benson

I am delighted to welcome KB Benson to the blog for an interview! Here's a little bit about her:

KB is the author of the 2019 release Call of the Sirens trilogy. Absolutely in love with her family, KB can never say no to a chocolate brownie (or any dessert for that matter) and enjoys taking afternoon naps. She's a huge advocate for following your dreams and making them come true. 

A convicted sleepwalker, highlighter collector, and compulsive list-maker, KB writes Clean YA Fantasy. Before an author, KB is a busy stay-at-home mom who loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever. When she’s not writing, she’s usually trying to keep up with her baby girl. 

And onto the interview!

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
Ironically, I relate most to my main character, Iris, who happens to be a siren. Over the past seven years writing the Call of the Sirens trilogy, I’ve often had friends and family say, “Wow, you just seem so nice and happy. How did you write something so dark?” I can’t help but laugh 😊 In all honesty, as I got deeper into the siren world, I found myself going through a lot of the same trials Iris went through especially in book three (minus the blood and murder and fighting, of course).
Call of the Sirens is a trilogy of boy meets monster and falls in love, but it’s also a lot more than that. It’s about learning to understand who you truly are and loving yourself for that person because the simple fact that you are you makes you pretty amazing and worth something. That’s a lesson I learned a lot about as I wrote the trilogy.

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?

Yes! YA Fantasy is my favorite! Add in some romance and I’ll be hooked.

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Poetic. Descriptive. Dance-like.

What was the first story you ever told?

Aside from the little two-page stories I wrote in grade school, my first story/novel was about time travel to a place of kingdoms and princes, secrets and spies. It’s still unpublished, but I hope to get back to it one day and make it a worthy read!

Was writing always your dream choice of career?

It was one of them! My three dream jobs were to be a stay-at-home mom (check!), an elementary teacher (I changed my mind after starting the program almost a decade ago) and being a writer. Honestly, I thought the writing career was probably the least likely to happen!

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!

Oh, I wish I had a writing nook but my favorite place to write... is my bed! Haha. It’s so comfy and is big enough to give me almost unending space to spread all my notes out around me while I’m working. If my daughter wakes up and I need to take a break, it’s also high enough to keep all my notes safely out of her reach so I can leave my mess and come back to it later.

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?

Absolutely! Music helps me so much during the brainstorming process of outlining my books. Whenever I hear a new song or one that speaks to me, I write it down so that I can add it to my playlist for a particular series and listen to those songs on a loop while I write the outline. They help me set the mood I’m going for within a book, and I always discover new music and artists!

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?

Instagram is huge! I’ve also seen a lot of authors use Twitter, though I’m not on Twitter :/

Where do you hang out most online?
I spend most of my time on Instagram and Facebook. I love getting to see everyone’s creative photos on Instagram (Have you heard of Bookstagram? It’s pretty much the most amazing thing ever)!

Do you have a favourite app for writing?
I guess I’m old-school and like to just use Microsoft Word. I’ve tried apps like Scrivener and a few others, but I like the simplicity with Word.

Organised or not?
Very organized. When I wrote The Harvest (Call of the Sirens Book One), it took me six years because I “pantsed” the crap out of that story. I had no idea where I was going; and each time I hit a roadblock, it’d take me weeks to overcome. The Hunt (Book 2) and The Harrowing (Book 3) took me a total of just over a year to take from little ideas to publication because I spent the time to create very detailed outlines. If I ever hit writer’s block, it would take me max a day or two to solve. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to just “pantsing” a story.

What's your favourite book you've read?

This year I read Mary Weber’s new release To Best the Boys, and it was amazing! I’ve also always loved Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.

Morning or evening writer?
Morning. By the time evening comes, I’m usually too tired to be much of anything, let alone creative.

If you had a hashtag for your books, what would it be?
I’m glad you asked because I do have a hashtag for my book, though it isn’t widely used yet. #CalloftheSirensTrilogy

You can follow KB Benson on Instagram and Facebook.

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 17 September 2019


It's all going wrong so fast, and Tara doesn't know how she'll cope without Mike, the threat of losing him is almost too much...

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

“Zara, call a code!” she shouted and I saw the nurse scurry into action. “You guys need to go back to the waiting room, now, we need room to work!”
I wanted to stay, I wanted to hold Mike’s hand and tell him he’d be okay, but Dad pulled on my arm. I didn’t get emotional, and I didn’t panic. I just felt numb. I turned my head as Dad led me out of the ICU and caught sight of a number of nurses and possibly a doctor or two rushed towards Mike’s room.  


Monday 16 September 2019

Revisiting Social Media - The Creative Process


I made a post about this ages back, (found here) and thought that it was time to revisit the subject and give you all my thoughts and ideas about social media and how it can help you as a writer, an author, and as a person looking to grow your platform and reach. Because it's not just about making connections, but meeting the people who are going to become friends and help you along the way.

I talked about hashtags in a recent piece (found here) and they make up a lot of the advice when it comes to social media. But it's not just about growing numbers, because a lot of the time, that's where the focus is, but also gaining people in your corner. Not just as fans of your work, but as cheerleaders of you as a person and a writer. It's something that I've talked about before, that engagement is key, but it's taken me a long time to take my own advice and now I've gotten to the point where I actually feel like I'm doing it right.

So what advice do I give you, either as a newbie writer, or long-time author or anything in between? Glad you asked, strap in and let's go for a ride!


Now I say this knowing that you're not going to get responses to every post and tweet, but sometimes it can be tempting to vent that frustration into the void and figure no one is going to answer you anyway. Don't do that either. But when it comes to making those first forays into the social media world, make sure there's things for people to respond to. A tweet that talks just about what's going on, with no question to answer, or advice to give, will, most likely, fall flat. People will read it, but they don't have anything to say to you telling them about your day. With Instagram, the usual thing is to include a question with your post so that people have a reason to comment. It doesn't always mean everyone will, but it's a start.


Now as with most things, there are different rules for different sites. On Instagram it's usual to have a lot of hashtags either in the post or in the comments. That's the way the algorithm works. Facebook and Twitter are usually better when you use them sparingly, as in you don't fill your whole tweet or post with them. And the same can be said for other sites as well. You also want to be using the right hashtags. What works on Instagram might not on Twitter and so on and so forth. A little research, and you can find the ones that are the best fit for both your post and the site itself. Know them, use them, and answer other people using the same ones, this is a great way to make friends.

While it can be somewhat tempting to do a follow for a follow, unless you're someone writing in the same genre, or you actually talk to the person, then it's probably better avoided. All that does is clog up your timeline with things that either don't interest you, or you actively don't want there. It's much better to make sure that you're following the people who you actually want to talk to. When I first started out on Twitter, I followed everyone who followed me. I have people who would just have their facebook/tumblr feed on their page and nothing else. It was a nightmare because when I added people who I actually did want to read, my feed just went so fast that it was next to impossible to keep up. So I did a purge and since then I only add people I've actually got a connection with, or who I want to hear from.

I've talked about this before, in writing pieces and on my Authortube channel, but don't be that person who spams everyone hourly, daily, with a blast of what's on sale and why you should buy it. Not only does it annoy people, but because the posts are usually exactly the same, it just feels false and misleading. Now, you get a good review, yes share it, interview, something new, then of course share it, but be careful with how much promo you do. This applies to both yourself, and anyone else who you might want to share with your followers. It's all dependant on who's online and such, but I find that posts that are spammy just get you muted or unfollowed, or people scroll past without even reading.

For the longest time, I would have things automatically cross-post. I do have some of that still, like my Instagram pictures go up as actual picture on Twitter through a site called, and that's a great way to do it, because they're not the same thing over and over. But when it comes to retweeting, or reblogging something of your own, don't be afraid to repeat yourself. On top of that, when you want to cross-post, sometimes the interaction will be key to the fact that it's you actually doing the cross-posting and not a site doing it for you. It allows you to tailor the post to suit the site and also gives people a good idea that you're both present and active on your sites.

So there we have it, my top five tips for social media. A lot of my experience right now is with Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, simply because that's where I'm active a lot of the time. I do post on Tumblr, and I feel like that's a forgotten site from time to time which has a thriving writing community and also some really big name authors. It's one of those that you kinda find your corner and go from there. I've found a bit of my corner but not completely.

Lemme know any tips you have 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 13 September 2019

Lights Out Won An Award!

Lights Out won an award!!

Lights Out was chosen as an Official Selection in YA Scifi/Horror  in the 2019 New Apple Literary Summer eBook Awards!

 You can buy it here:


Review of Starbound by S E Anderson

Home is where the heart is. Or maybe the pizza.

There’s no better feeling than being back home after a long week exploring the galaxy, though being abandoned by one’s friends and left to fend off a glitching evil robot spoils it. All that’s left is to settle back into life, preparing Marcy’s wedding and job hunting. If only mysterious midnight SWAT teams and crop-circle crafting-sessions weren't constantly getting in Sally’s way.

When an old foe returns, and Sally is the only person on the planet to recognize it, it’s up to her, her sullen ex, and an overly-excitable FBI agent to save the planet. But first they have to get the president safely out of his favorite sushi bar without starting the war of the worlds.

It’s hard maintaining a long-distance relationship when your crush is light years away and thinks you died of old age, but that hasn’t stopped anyone yet. Sally must save the planet, the universe, and herself - though maybe she’ll take a nap first.

My Review: 5 stars
I have loved this series from the start so when I saw the next book up for pre-order, I had to have it. Picking up almost immediately after the end of the last book, Sally is thrown back into somewhat normal life, but along the way she finds out that what passes for normal isn't actually all that normal. The writing was engaging from the first page, I was hooked and reading along with Sally and Zander's story and couldn't help but get lost in the pages. Sally looking to undo some of the things she's done in the past and save Earth but all without Zander by her side. As the pieces of threads started to be pulled together, you can't believe what's happening! It was an amazing ride and I adore Anderson's way of sitting you down and keeping you in the story. Overall, an amazing book and one that I highly recommend!

You can follow S E Anderson on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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 September 2019


Tara isn't show how much of a witness she'll be. It all happened so fast...



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

“I don’t know how much help I’ll be, I can only remember parts of it and I don’t recall the man’s face.”
“But it was a man?” she asked.
“I assume so because of the build and height, he used something to disguise his voice so I can’t be one hundred percent sure.”
“It’s fine, we don’t have much physical evidence, though obviously when the DCI wakes up, we’ll be questioning him as well,” she said with a smile. “Just tell us what you remember.”
“Okay,” I said, my voice shaking a little. 


Monday 9 September 2019

Writing Life & Hashtags - The Creative Process


Last week's piece was a tad heavy and so I decided that this week, I would go for something a little loose and carefree, and that's writing life and all the hashtags of twitter, Instagram and the rest of social media. If you're part of any of those, you'll know that hashtags are a great way to direct the right people to your posts and start a conversation.

One of these that I find myself using a lot on Twitter is #WritingLife. It's basically one that I follow, since I use Tweetdeck which allows me to track hashtags in a different window and still keep up with my feed, along with the funny #WriterProblems and #WritingCommunity, as well as a couple of others that I won't mention. But one thing that always makes me smile is that the community there is so welcoming and so happy to help that it felt like something I should write about.

As you all know, I'm a spoonie, I try and keep myself going when I have bad days and I try to make sure that I follow the goals I set myself on my Authortube channel. Well, this past couple of months, one of the goals has been to post to Instagram and Twitter at least once a day. Part of this was because I have a bigger following on Twitter (and have just recently crossed over to 1K and above!) and part of it is that I feel like a lot more writers, young and old, and readers interact with Twitter because it doesn't have the same algorithm problem that Instragram and Facebook have where it's all about how popular your posts are before they get seen. On Twitter, you see it if you follow the person.

It's been a whole new learning experience and I'll admit to having picked up a lot of tips from Authortube, and from other Instagram big names. Such as making sure you're using the right hashtags, where you put them (in the post or in the comments) and all of that. It's always nice to learn new things, and how they'll help your reach. But one reason I didn't click with Twitter so much was because a lot of the people I was following were just tweeting out buy links and never really interacting. I'll admit that I made the same mistake in the beginning, and then kinda let it sit idle while my Facebook page and Instagram and Tumblr cross-posted and it's really only been in the last three years or so that I've started actively using it as a way to meet people.

And I have met so many nice people, from my CP, to other Authortube friends, to fellow indie authors, to people looking to connect with certain writers. It's a brilliant place to be and I really do feel that a lot of that is tied into the hashtags. And it blows my mind how simple, but yet ingenuous it is. From using one simple hashtag I have found people I now consider close friends. I have made connections with other authors and with other writers who are still on the beginning stages of their process. And it's just an amazing place to be. The idea that we all share one simple thing and yet we all know what it feels like to wake up with an idea, only to forget it in the morning. Or to not have enough time to write something down, make a note of it, and then come back to find that it doesn't work. I could go on and on, but my point is that it's a wide open space out there, and it's so welcoming and it's so friendly, and it's just a nice place to be.

So that's my piece for today, when it comes to meeting other writers, or sharing ideas, hashtags are an amazing thing for that. Come join us on Twitter or Instagram and make friends, you never know you might end up having a whole load of fun and really loving every moment. I know I do!

Lemme know your favourite social media and your favourite hashtag 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