Monday, 3 August 2020

Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge - Writing Jessie & Meera


WRITING JESSIE & MEERA

I am super excited about the release of the first book in my new Urban Fantasy series, Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge, and part of that excitement is getting to revisit the characters and remember how it felt writing them, their dynamics and everything in between. Today I'm gonna focus on the main character Jessie, and her love interest and the source of her pain, Meera.

Now if you don't know, the series is about newly disabled Jessie Oliver, who's 15, and in a wheelchair with chronic conditions while also having discovered that she has the ability to feel other people's pain. She's an empath and while to begin with she's not all that sold on it meaning anything, she soon finds out that it has a big meaning in both her life, and the world around her.

So starting with Jessie, let's talking writing characters.

JESSIE
Jessie is a character that I've wanted to write for such a long time. I always knew her name, and I always knew that she, like me, would have both M.E and Fibromyalgia, but I didn't really know her story. It was only when I had the idea for an empath and the world around her, that she really came to shape in my mind, and on the page.  Jessie was a joy to write, I always felt like I could easily channel her thoughts and feelings without really needing to think about it too much. And the idea of being an empath while also having her own pain gave a new level to the story that I think really made it work so well.

I knew from that start of the book that I wanted Jessie to have a love interest, I haven't tagged it as romance because it's only the first book, and while their relationship grows, I also wanted to take my time with it, being that I'm someone who does the same in my own romantic relationships. There was, of course, always the possibility that Meera didn't start to let Jessie in, because as you may know, a lot of my writing time is spent being driven by the characters on the page, rather than me always knowing what lies ahead.

I will say that ending to this book was completely different to what happened in the first draft, but I adore what I came up with, and I'm super happy with how it's come together in edits. Jessie is an amazing character and one that's very close to my heart because of her name. I lost a friend in 2008 who I'd known as Jessie Oliver, but I won't give you her real name. Anyway, that's why Jessie is named for her, and given the way my Jessie acted, she'd be very happy to have lived on in the pages of one of my books, though the similarities end there. It's just a name, not a whole personality.

MEERA
Meera was a hard one to get a read on, a lot of what happens in the book didn't really come to a conclusion until I'd gone through revisions and editing. I knew that Meera had her own problems, had her own secrets, and was, of course, a source of pain for Jessie, not just because Meera seems to hate her for no reason. Meera is snarky, a little bitter and while she mellows the more she hangs out with Jessie and her friends, there's a good reason for her hard exterior.

At the end of everything, Meera finally happier in her life and surrounded by friends that she hadn't seen coming, she and Jessie make a cute couple, and I loved writing the bits and pieces that brought it to that conclusion.

Overall, I adored writing both, and keep an eye out for the other characters in the coming weeks! You can pre-order Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge here, or sign up to be an ARC reader 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, 31 July 2020

Review of One Final Vinyl by Savy Leiser


ONE TEENAGE GIRL. ONE 90-YEAR-OLD WOMAN. ONE FINAL ROAD TRIP BEFORE THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THEIR LIVES.

At 18 years old, Emma Pelican is pretty sure she's already experiencing a midlife crisis. She's spent the summer after her senior year listening to her depressing vinyl record collection and isolating herself from her friends, so it's not much of a surprise when no one shows up to the graduation party Emma throws the night before leaving for college; no one but Daisy Lycroft, a ninety-year-old stranger with mild Alzheimer's who escaped from her retirement home in the middle of the night.

When Emma leaves to drive Daisy home, the two end up on an unexpected all-night road trip, complete with Canadian whiskey, Billy Joel mixtapes, romantic interludes, near-death experiences, and lots of impromptu dancing, causing them to find some much-needed companionship in each other, and revealing that they have a closer connection than they ever could have expected.
My review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because I adore Savy’s writing and couldn’t wait to dig into the story. Emma is an amazing character and one I loved from the first line of the book. I was pulled into the story, along with Daisy and couldn’t put it down, I just wanted to read and read, and find out how this road trip ended. It was a delightful read, and tugged at the heartstrings, I loved the glimpses back into Emma’s life, getting to see how she came to the point she’s at now. Overall, an amazing book from this author, who is one to watch! Highly recommended!

You can follow Savy on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube!

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, 28 July 2020

#TeaserTuesday


Jessie just wanted to help, and she got snapped at in return




[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:

She turned back to look at me. “Yes, and you're Jessie,” she said.
It didn't sound friendly or welcoming. She actually gave the impression of being quite cold and distant.
“I mean no offence, Jessie, but I'm actually trying to look for a book here. I have an essay due and unlike some people, I can't wait for someone to do it for me.”
“What's that supposed to me?!” I said, losing my temper a little.

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

END ID]

Monday, 27 July 2020

Juggling Two Projects - The Creative Process


JUGGLING TWO PROJECTS

It's been a long time since I talked about writing two projects at once (piece found here), but I thought that I would broach the subject again because it's something I do a little differently now that I've been doing it for as long as I have. At the end of the day, I'm not a rare unicorn, a lot of writers will juggle projects, and they'll do it better than me, but I also now have, usually, two other projects on the periphery that I haven't talked about before.

So, the long and short of it is, that I used to be a one project writer. I couldn't think of how to write two and my focus was all over the place. It wasn't until I was writing Waiting On You, that I got a severe case of writer's block and found myself stuck. At that point in time, I had the idea for the fourth Dying Thoughts book, but I didn't want to dump the project I was working on to start it. Making a deal with myself, I would write up to the same amount of chapters with the new idea, and then reassess where this stood. At the end of that, I was hooked on writing both stories, and I've not really looked back since.

You all know all of that, so what are the two other projects that I have going on? Well, usually while writing the two first drafts, I'm also revising a project that's due to go into edits at some point soon. So on the days when I'm not writing, I'll be working on revisions and getting those chapters written and all the rest. Since I also have stuck to the schedule to release two books every year, I also usually have a book at some point in the editing trenches. So right now for example, I have my two first drafts, revisions for Lights Off, and line edits for Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge. And while the edits for Twinge will end in September, I'll have a couple of months before the process starts again for Lights Off.

People are probably wondering why I'm telling you this, and what it has to do with juggling the two writing projects, and the answer is simple, the reason I'm able to juggle all of that, is because of how I plan my time. It's about being organised, being strict with myself, and knowing ahead of time what will be doing what when. So do I have any tips? Yes! Glad you asked!

#1 KNOW YOUR LIMIT
I say it like that because the reason I'm able to juggle all of this is because I am highly aware of my limits. I know what I can achieve and how long it'll take me. I'm acutely aware of just how much is too much for me to manage, and I make sure that when taking on a project, be it revisions or edits or a brand new book, that I know how I'm going to manage it with both my health, and my writing, and other commitments as well.

Following NaNo 2019, I stopped doing 24 chapters a month as standard. It was, to begin with, a way for me to slow down after such a heavy month. But now over six months later and I've only done one month that was also 24 chapters and that was planned in advance to give myself the best possible outcome. I stick to the 20 chapters because I know, unless something catastrophic happens, I can easily manage that and still take time to recharge and time off and all the rest. So this is a big big tip, you have to know your limits.

#2 PLAN YOUR TIME

This is also a big one for me, because if I didn't have my planner and didn't make sure I knew when I was supposed to be doing what, I think I'd get really overwhelmed pretty quickly. Part of having a lot of big goals and tasks, is breaking them down into smaller chunks and part of that is knowing what you need to do by when to be able to fit it all in. I know that planning comes, somewhat, naturally to me, and it doesn't for everyone, but this was a huge thing in helping me get to the point where I am now.

If you can't plan meticulously, then just make sure that every working day (because you should have breaks and days off) you plan to get just one thing done from one project. Whether that's a chapter, or a word goal, page goal, whatever, just have that one thing in mind, and then go from there. It's how I started out, setting myself one thing I knew I could do and then moving up to other things when I got better at knowing my limits, and planning my time.

#3 BE STRICT WITH YOURSELF
This one involves you being honest with yourself about what you can manage, and also being strict with how you spend your time. If you know that you'll spend all day on social media and waste the time and get nothing done, then get an app that stops you from doing that, or learn to have self-control during your writing/working time.  No one else is going to be there to tell you what to do, you have to be the one to do that, and if you can't be strict and stick to your schedule then it's only really setting yourself up to fail.

I will add a caveat here. Being strict with yourself does not mean working at the expense of your health, it means making sure that when you are able to work, you do so, and do what's on the schedule for the day. It doesn't mean beating yourself up, or pushing yourself too breaking point because you've had something else going on, flares, illness, stressful time, etc, whatever that is, you need to be able to take the time you need to rest if nothing else.

So those are my three big tips when it comes to juggling two, or more, projects. I will say that it's only really been the last year or so that I've been able to juggle all of this. Last year I tried to release three books, and I managed it, but everything that could go wrong, went wrong and so this year I'm trying to be kinder to myself, trying to make sure that I'm aware of what I need, whether that's breaking off early to nap, or working first thing in the morning to ease the stress, whatever it is, I listen to my body, and you should too.

So any questions or tips? Lemme know down 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, 24 July 2020

Guest Blog: What Indie Authors Should Know About Book Design - Desiree Villena

What Indie Authors Need to Know About Book Design

As an indie author, you’ll know you’re not just a writer. You’ve got to handle all sides of designing, producing, and marketing your book yourself — which is why you need to understand the basics of exterior and interior book design.

In an ideal world, readers wouldn’t care about what’s on the cover of your book, or how your text is formatted; they’d concentrate exclusively on the prose. But book appearance does matter because it can act as a magnet for new readers. That’s not to say that a beautiful book without substance would succeed on the basis of appearance alone. Still, if you’ve written a great book and paid little attention to the design, you may be doing yourself a disservice.

As manager of your own author brand, there are two sides to book design you need to be aware of. We’ll start with the first thing readers will see: your book cover design.

Book Cover Design

Your cover is super important! It doesn’t just make your book aesthetically pleasing — it contains a lot of implicit but crucial information about what kind of story a reader can expect.

Ideally, you want your cover to clearly communicate your genre. This can be done through typography (like a serif/sans serif font or hand-drawn lettering by a professional), the cover art itself, and the “copy” on the cover in other words, the promotional blurbs.

To test the effectiveness of your cover, you can show it to acquaintances who don’t know what the book is about and ask them to take an honest guess about the genre and story. They don’t have to pick up on every single detail. But if you’ve written a romance novel and they think it’s a crime thriller, you’ll know you need to make some serious cover adjustments.

The best place to start brainstorming about cover design is, of course, the Internet. Look up authors writing in your genre and take some notes about the appearance of their covers — you’re trying to appeal to the same audience, so you can take inspiration from how another professional has attracted readers. Depending on whether you’re planning to sell print copies of your book or ebooks only, you’ll also need to look into the different dimensions demanded by your chosen format.

No matter which decisions you make, remember to aim for a balance between a sparse and a hectically busy cover. Not every bit of blank space has to be filled. Similarly, unless you’re going for a purposefully minimalist look, your cover should include something beyond the title and your name.

I know, design concerns are a lot to take in. If you can afford to, the best thing you can do is consult or hire a professional designer, who will ensure that your book looks professional enough to compete with well-established authors. (They’ll also take charge of various important practical matters, e.g. the cover’s file format and resolution, as well as color requirements for printing).

Finally, remember that the exterior of your book isn’t just the front cover: you’ll have to factor in the spine and back of the book as well. The back cover is an excellent place to curate reviews along with a quick synopsis. This shouldn’t give too much away, and its tone should reflect that of your story. You’re a writer, so use your craft to make this copy pitch-perfect!

Interior Design

Of course, it’s not all about the cover. Book design, when done well, should maintain a consistent level of professionalism on both the outside and the inside of your book.

Make sure nothing distracts your reader from the words on the page. Unlike on the cover, the focus with your interior designer falls on the text itself. You don’t want your audience to be squinting at a loopy Monotype Corsiva font, or wondering why there’s so much empty space between words.

To achieve that, you’ll want a clean font and a professional-level typesetting software (something better than Microsoft Word) to ensure that your font, spacing, margins and pagination are all flawlessly in place. A professional typesetter can also help with this, but for most authors, research and a solid piece of DIY software will suffice — and if you only have the budget for a pro cover designer or a pro interior designer, you should choose the former.

There’s nothing more satisfying than holding a flawlessly designed book and knowing that your hard work paid off. Now that you understand book design a little better, your project will open up to so many new possibilities! Assuming you’re finished editing the prose, your next focus in the process of publishing your book should be marketing it to the best of your abilities. Do that, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful author in no time!

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, 21 July 2020

#TeaserTuesday



Jessie has a new problem, a new trigger for the twitch...




[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:

“Are you okay, Jessie?” he asked.
I looked around to see if there was anyone close by. There was. The girl I’d seen in the canteen, the beautiful girl who had drawn my gaze was in the library stacks, not three steps from our table.
Oh great, she was activating the ever-present twitch. My luck sucked balls.

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

END ID]

Monday, 20 July 2020

Authortube: Must Do Things


AUTHORTUBE: MUST DO THINGS

I know I've talked a lot about authortube on the blog, and I also know that I've done similar topics to this one, but I thought that I would bring together some of the bits and pieces I have mentioned, and throw in some that I haven't when it comes to authortube and the things that I think are must do things.

As you all know, I've been on Authortube for over four years now, it's only been recently, say the last year or two, that I've had a lot more interaction, and have started to actually grow my channel. That's because I did a whole lot wrong when I first started and the point of this, is to tell you how to not do that! So there are a few things that I think are really important when thinking about starting a channel, and joining the community as it grows.

#1 THUMBNAILS, AUDIO & VISUAL
I think the most important thing is you make sure that your video is as good as it can be. Whether that's making sure you have a good camera, or making sure you have an external mic is needed, or even just being sure that when you put up your thumbnails people are gonna want to know more, and not cringe at the design or be unable to read the text or anything like that. People always say that first impressions are important, and that's true when it comes to youtube in general. So make sure that you've got the right video equipment and also have a thumbnail that catches people's eyes.

#2 CUT AND SCRIPT IF NEEDED
One thing I didn't do when I started was have any idea of what I wanted to say. I would have a topic sure, but I didn't write anything down on what that topic should cover, and that bit me in the backside. I had a hell of a lot of umms, and ahhs, and pauses where I tried to catch my train of thought, and half the time I completely forgot the salient points because I was so nervous and my memory isn't all that good, which just made me look like an idiot. So now I script my videos and because of that, I, usually, am happier with my videos and know that the people watching are getting everything I wanted to put across.

#3 ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY

Another thing I didn't really do, but something that you really have to do, and that's engage with other authortubers, watch their videos, leave comments, make friends, do tags, do collabs, and all the rest. Make sure that people know you're there, and make sure that they have an idea of what kind of videos you do, and also know that you're supporting them as well.

I didn't do this for the first couple of years, and then when I started to, I met a load of different people and because of that, I made so many friends, but also learned so much. That way when it came to my videos, I was bringing in my own audience from outside of just other authortubers. This is so very important. There's a facebook group for authortubers, there's a discord and everything, and it makes so much sense to be a part of that. It makes the whole thing so much more fun!

And finally, #4 BE CONSISTENT
This comes to your posting schedule. If you say that you're going to post on Thursdays and Sundays, then make sure you do that, and if you need to change that schedule, make sure you communicate that with your audience. I know some really big channels who don't have set days to upload, but they do post at least one video a week and people are aware of it. I made sure that I had a consistent day from about two years into it, with mine being a  Thursday for normal videos and Sunday as any bonus content that I happened to pick up.

Now when doing collabs, you won't always be able to choose the day, but if you are part of them, then the word spreads so it's not like people won't know to come to your channel. I've done a few big collabs this year and part of that is getting to be a big part of the community, but also getting to work with other channels, and see their take on things.

Overall, just make sure that you're engaging, that your content is of a good quality and that you have some idea of what you want to say. The whole process can be hard work, but the outcome is worth it and the community you have around you is also worth it.

Any questions or tips? 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, 17 July 2020

Evergreen Writing Oasis Virtual Retreat: Writing Disabilities & Self-Care [CC]



Part of the Evergreen Writing Oasis Virtual Retreat, I'm talking writing disabilities and self care! #Authortube

COMPLEMENTRY PLAYLIST:


Review Of Beyond Forever by Annie Woods

True love is a promise you keep forever. But what if there's a difference between first love and true love?

Picking up the pieces of her broken heart, Erica Lindell has started to believe in a future again. A future together with her former archnemesis Tyler, who has not only married her to keep her safe, but has taken on her son as his. Only to find her whole world being turned over again when her lost love, Sasha, aka Prince Alexandre, suddenly returns from the dead and forces her to make an impossible decision. A decision that will break hearts and change lives forever.


In the heart-wrenching finale to the enchanting Angelheart Saga trilogy, dark secrets will be revealed, devastating choices must be made and the fate of Erica, Tyler and Sasha will be determined once and for all.

My Review: 5 STARS
I have been reading the trilogy from the start and adore Erica and all the characters, and this final instalment, the end of the Angelheart saga was something I was desperately ready to read! The story was engaging and a whirlwind of a romance. I loved watching Erica reunited with her prince, their son growing up and all the intrigue and suspense around the attacks. The ending was perfect, and I will be looking for more stories from Woods as she tells a gorgeous love story that has you hooked from page one until the very end. Overall, very much recommended!

You can follow Annie on Instagram, Twitter 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, 14 July 2020

#TeaserTuesday




Jessie has no idea why the pretty girl hates her...


COVER REVEAL COMING THURSDAY!


[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 2020. The excerpt reads:

As our eyes met again, I couldn’t help but smile back, a warmth filling me just for a heart beat, lifting my hand to wave, before she cut me down with a glare.
She looked royally pissed off, and I didn’t have the first clue why.

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

END ID]

Monday, 13 July 2020

How Long Does It Take Me To Finish A Book? - The Creative Process


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE ME TO WRITE A BOOK?

This is something that a lot of people have asked me, you'll all know that I write two books at the same time, and you know that I'm a pretty fast drafter, depending on who you ask of course! But I wanted to go not just into the drafting of the book, because that's not really 'finished', it's just the first draft and from there you have revisions and edits and all of that, and that whole time you're writing in it, whether huge chunks or bits and pieces, you're still writing the book.

So rather than sit here and say, oh it takes me x amount of time to write a book, I thought I would tell you how the whole process takes me since it's about the same as a lot of the authors I know, whether they do the indie route or the traditional route.

DRAFTING
This takes me anywhere from four months to six, it really depends on the months, how I'm feeling, what I'm up to and all of that. I will say that if I didn't write two books at once it'd probably only take me two to three months to finish, but that's also because a lot of my projects are longer than maybe they will actually end up being. I am very much an overwriter!

RESTING PERIOD
When I finish a draft, I'm pretty much done with it for a while. I usually print it off, put it away and then move onto the next project, and will come back to the draft about a year or so before it's due to be published for revisions. So going by my current speed, this process is about a year to eighteen months, sometimes longer!

REVISIONS
This is the process that takes the longest, I will be taking that first draft and making it into a second and so on, and that can take months if not a whole year or more. Currently I am on my fifth draft of one project that's due to come out next year and I'm only just at the point, having been revising for a good six months or so, where I feel like this book is ready for betas, and from there it'll be a good few months and more drafts before I'm happy to send it off to my editor.

So for this one it's hard, because it really does depend on the shape the first draft is in. Now I edit as I go, but that doesn't mean that it irons out everything as neatly as I'd like. If I take the current project in revisions, then I'd say about a year to get it into shape ready for the editor!

EDITING STEP ONE
I always go through developmental edits and this usually takes about three months. We'll be going through chapter by chapter and sometimes I end up having to rewrite the whole thing, and other times it's just a few tweaks here and there. On top of that, while editing, I'm going through the coming chapters and making changes that need to be made because of corrections in the previous chapters, and this can take a whole lot of time. But generally this is about three solid months of work before moving onto the next stage.

EDITING STEP TWO
This is the line edits, and these usually take a month. By this point the book is pretty clean, and I'm just changing a few clunky sentences and such like that. Sometimes there can be issues that need to be rewritten, but it's pretty rare, so that adds on another month and onto the next stage.

EDITING STEP THREE
And the proof read only takes a month, sometimes less depending on how busy my proof reader is, like the last book, she'd just had a baby, so obviously that took priority. She'll point out small errors and the majority of the writing is done, it's putting commas here and there, and maybe a few bits and pieces that need correcting, but it's not major overhauls.

So let's add that all together. Six months to draft, eighteen to sit, a year to revise, five months to completely edit it to completion, where does that leave me? 3 years and five months, give or take a few months here and there. I still think that's pretty good, but it's why there are books I've talked about in the past that have only just started the revisions and such, but it all comes together to give my readers the best book it can possibly be, and you can't rush that!

How long do you think it takes you? 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, 10 July 2020

Interview with Kelsey Clifton & review of Fire And Lightning, Ash And Stone



I'm delighted to be welcoming Kelsey Clifton to my blog for both an interview and my review of her book - Fire And Lightning, Ash And Stone. Here's a little about Kelsey!

Kelsey Clifton is a science fiction and fantasy writer who hoards books the way dragons hoard gold (seriously, it’s becoming a problem). She lives in Houston with the bossy cat from her websites and too many succulents. 

And onto the interview!

Do you have a set routine for writing?
I'm generally a morning writer, so my routine involves either making coffee and planting myself at my desk, or heading out to a local coffee shop. I sound like the stereotypical millennial writer, but I really do find that it helps me focus on the task at hand. Coffee shops are my office space, so when I sit down I automatically think, "Okay, time to get to work." This routine is so ingrained in me that even when I finish projects, I find myself wanting to go anyway.

What's your favourite tip for newbie writers?

Unless you're writing for academia, any "writing rules" you come across are like the pirate's code: More what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. Spend some time learning the guidelines and why they're considered the norm, and then do whatever best serves the story. At the end of the day, there's only what works and what doesn't work.

What was your experience writing your first book?

As cringy as it is to think about, the experience of writing my first book laid the foundations for the writer I would be one day: Dedicated, meticulous, and ready to push conventions. None of the fulfilment and joy that I've experienced these last ten years would have been possible without it.

Do you have a favourite place to write outside of your usual space?
Indie coffee shops! Nothing against chains, but there's just something about local places, the quirkier the better.

Which genre is your favourite to write in?
Fantasy by far. Every sub-genre is just bursting with wonderful possibilities, like a sparkly little glitter bomb. You can be as inventive as you want, and as long as you end up with something coherent, there are no rules. I also personally believe that every story would benefit from at least 20% more dragons.

Which social media do you enjoy using the most?
Honestly, tumblr. Not only has it expanded my platform far beyond what I expected, it allows me to be a little more myself. When I start a Facebook or Twitter post, I'll start with something bland like "Hey everyone, here's a little update," etc. But on tumblr, I can start a post with "WHAT'S UP GOBLINS, here's what ya girl's been up to."

How old were you when you were first ready to start publishing?
There are two answers to this question: I was 19 or 20 when I first believed myself to be ready, and 28 when I was actually ready. At 20 I had exactly one (1) shiny new manuscript that I was desperate to show off, even when I was wildly wrong about which genre it belonged in. At 28 I had seven under my belt, including the one that became my first published book, A Day Out of Time. At this point, I had been through the querying song and dance for so many years that I was completely burned out on it. When a friend suggested self-publishing, I was finally in a good place to actually listen. Within a month of our conversation, A Day Out of Time was live on Amazon.

Do you keep good reviews and reader comments?
I don't keep them, but I do read all my reviews, even though it's generally considered inadvisable. For me, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, so those reviews make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Negative reviews do happen, but I have enough confidence in my writing to look at those and shrug. If my writing was for absolutely everyone, it would be the blandest garbage ever printed.

Paperback or ebook? And why?
I love and cherish any version of a book. Nothing beats the feel of a paperback in my hand, and I love giving a used book a new home. At the same time, I love how affordable ebooks can be, and I dig the convenience of carrying a massive digital library around.

Where do you see yourself, and your writing, in ten years?

I'd love to dive deeper into sci-fi and fantasy territory, especially when it means blurring the lines between sub-genres. I've got a hard drive full of current and future projects, so ideally I see myself with ten more books in print, heaps of praise and positive reviews, and a couple of indie awards!

But no matter what happens - wild success, abject failure, or something in-between - I see myself continuing to write. It's the only thing, in fact, that I can imagine doing for the rest of my life.

 This isn't the way the stories are supposed to go.
Jaelin and Aldwin have heard legends of the Grey Princess their entire lives. When it comes time for his first heroic quest, Jaelin naturally chooses her rescue - but the princess from Aldwin’s stories is a pale imitation of the sorceress that they find at the top of a lonely mountain tower.
Known across the realms as the Grey Princess, Liana has been the subject of stories and songs for over two centuries. Every bard and historian thinks they know the truth, but the reality of Liana's power - and the secrets she has hidden under layers of stone - is something that no one is prepared for. And Liana herself is hardly prepared for two adventurers to show up on her doorstep with a doozy of a quest…and the key to undoing a choice she made many years ago.
Can a bratty lordling, a witty librarian, and an irritable sorceress bumble their way through an enchanted forest, survive the ruins of a haunted city, and defeat a centuries-old dragon with only a few hours of planning?
The better question is, can anyone stop them?

My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because the story sounded intriguing the cover caught my eye. I was happy to dive in and ended up reading the whole book in one sitting. Once I started, I couldn't help but be drawn into the story with Jae, Aldwin and the Grey Princess, I was along for the ride wherever it took me! The story was beautifully told, I loved the chronic illness rep, and I adored the characters, all of them! It was a delightful read and one I recommend!

You can find Kelsey on her website, Twitter, 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, 7 July 2020

#TeaserTuesday


The world has always been this way, so why does it feel wrong?



[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:

“We’ve got Jonathon Baker, but he’s also got his granddaughter with him, don’t know how old she is, too little for this that’s for sure. I promised him a quiet corner. You think you can manage that?” I asked her.
“Sure thing, Lock, I’ll take good care of him,” she replied as she walked beside me.
I wheeled back over to the desk and introduced them. “This is going to be your nurse for the event, Clara, she’s a good one and she’ll make sure all your needs are met. May your sleep be ever peaceful,” I said to Jonathon as Clara caught the eye of Sadie.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and her website www.joeypaulonline.com and in bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books.
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Monday, 6 July 2020

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Moving Towards Mystery


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

#TeaserTuesday




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


OUT NOW!


[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 www.joeypaulonline.com and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.

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