Friday 28 February 2020

Review of Called By Darkness by Sean Fletcher

A darkness grows outside the Academy. But the biggest threat comes from within…

It’s finally here: After four boring years of underclassman studies, I’m beyond ready to move up into the New York Academy of Magic’s advanced program. Tougher classes, real-world assignments, supernatural thrills. It’s gonna be epic. 

Until someone releases a manticore at the entrance ceremony. 
And my best friend is kidnapped. 

And I find out the kidnappers really want me.

A new baddie is gathering power in New York, someone even the shifters, Vamps, and undead fear; someone with insanely powerful magic who will stop at nothing to see the Academy and everything I love destroyed.

Now partnered up with some of my classmates—including the devilishly handsome, so-infuriating-I-want-to-strangle-him Asher Dunadine—I need to figure out who wants me, and why.

But to defeat this new darkness, I’ll need a little darkness of my own…
My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up thinking it would be a nice read, and I was very happy with it. Skylar was so relatable and down to earth in some ways, not in others, but given the world she's in that's understandable. I adored the writing, the way the plot twisted and turned and you couldn't always see what was coming. It was a fast read for me, and I couldn't put it down. Overall, a fun, book that many would enjoy!

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.

Thursday 27 February 2020

Author Tag: Defiying Writer Stereotypes Tag [CC]

Doing a Tag today! Defying all the writing stereotypes! #Authortube


1. What are 3-5 writer stereotypes that don't apply to you?
2. What part of the writing process is hardest for you?
3. Do you ever feel imposter syndrome as a writer? What about as a YouTuber?
4. Do you generally receive support or skepticism about your writing?
5. What is one piece of advice you want to give to new writers?




Tuesday 25 February 2020


Lock knows something is wrong, but she can't seem to work out where to turn...

Sign up for the #LightsOn cover reveal here.

[ID: A graphic with a fading lightbulb, 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:
“Everything okay, Lock?” he asked, as I turned back to the screen.
“Yeah, I think so,” I mumbled as I ran over the names again and again, trying to remember who was missing.
“You look like something’s wrong,” Chris said, sitting down in the chair next to mine. “What’s up?”
“I dunno, I think I’m missing someone,” I said, glancing at him.
“How many names do you have?” he asked, pulling one of my screens so that he could check my work.
“Fourteen, but I can’t find the missing one anywhere in the system,” I said. 

Monday 24 February 2020

The Trials Of An Indie Author: My Editing Team


This was a topic requested by a number of my followers, who wanted to know more about my editing team and what it's been liked working with the same people over and over, with various different releases. I do have a video planned on my authortube channel and by the time this piece goes live, it will also be live! (Video here) But I didn't want to just do it on the channel, and thought that I would give you a different take specifically on my editing team and what it's been like working with them over the years.

I've been friends with Kim for almost ten years now, and she's been my editor for a number of books, but for a time we didn't work together and I used someone else for both Developmental and Line edits. However, since she's done the majority of my books, and is the person I use now, and plan to continue using, it made more sense to focus on what it's been like working with her.

So for those who don't know, a developmental editor goes into the manuscript looking at the book as a whole, and pointing out plot issues, as well as spelling, grammar and the like. They can, sometimes, be similar to beta readers, and some people will say that if you use betas and go through several rounds then you can skip this stage. Personally I don't agree, not just because Kim has found issues that betas have missed, but because it's the biggest edit you will do.

Kim's been working as an editor for a number of years, and we work exclusively in Google Docs. That way we can go chapter by chapter, and can also make comments rather than have to have two documents open while editing. She'll go through and make the grammar changes that are needed, as well as commenting on any issues with the plot. I'll then go through afterwards and make the changes needed, and usually we then discuss them over Skype so that we're both on the same page as to what edits work and which ones don't.

This process usually takes just over three months. This is for a number of reasons, mostly down to me because I can't always go through the edits the same day they're done. As well as that, it gives me time to work through plot holes without having to worry too much about a deadline. Same goes for Kim, she doesn't have to work on my book every single night of those three months and it works well for us both.

I adore working with her, she's made sure that I've got books that stand up and are telling the exact story that I want to tell. She offers amazing insights and she works on helping me make the book better. In the years I've worked with her, I've seen the quality of my final book increase, along with the quality of my drafts because I'm learning from what she's saying. Editing, as you know, is not something I find easy, but at the same time, having someone who can go through it with you whose opinion you trust and who you know is not going to steer you wrong is a big relief.

So once the developmental edits are done, off it goes to the next step.

I've known B since we were at school together. She also designs my book covers, but when I had to switch from Toni who did both, to other people, I knew B was the right person for the job. She's actually been one of my final readers before the book goes to ARC readers for a lot longer than she's been my line editor. And so I know she can do the work.

A line editor is someone who goes through the document line by line. They'll correct any grammar but also tell you about sentences that don't work, or need to be changed. Again, B and I use Google Docs, and she'll make the grammar changes directly, and make comments on any of the lines that need changing. She'll also make comments if she catches a plot hole that needs to be filled.

This process usually only takes about a month, and I make the corrections as we go through it chapter by chapter. Again, we'll discuss the changes to make sure that it's all working better.

Once the line edits are done, it goes off to the final step!


I've been working with Natalie for a number of years. She's a friend, a fellow writer, and someone with the training for proof reading, same as all my other editors. Natalie's job is pretty simple. She's reading through the final draft and pointing out any issues with it. Either things missing, or things in the document that shouldn't be there.

I love working with Natalie as well because she's always been someone to leave comments along with reading, when she likes a certain aspect of the book or things like that. We also use Google Docs and again, I make the changes in the document while she's going through it.

And once the proof reading is done, that's it, the book is ready for ARC readers!

So those are the people that make up my editing team. I love working with them, and they make the process of editing, a hell of a lot easier and less stressful for me. Have you worked with a team? Or are you wondering about who to choose for your editor? Lemme know in the comments below!

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

Friday 21 February 2020

Interview with Erin Kinsella & Review of Heart And Seoul

I am delighted to be welcoming the wonderful Erin Kinsella to the blog for both an interview and my review of her long-awaited book Heart And Seoul. Here's a little bit about Erin.

Erin Kinsella is a romance and historical fantasy author dedicated to sharing stories of love, heartbreak, and triumph. You can also find her on YouTube, where she educates writers about the publishing industry, world building, and how to make your readers swoon. She attended the University of Alberta where she studied psychology and history. When she’s not writing or YouTubing she’s hanging out with her husband and three cat

And onto the interview!

In your own writing, which character of yours do you relate to most?
For this specific book I would say that I relate most to Tessa. We obviously share the same career, albeit she's far beyond me in terms of success since her book is turned into a drama. Her sexuality (panromantic demisexual) is ownvoices for me, so I'm extra attached to her since she's the first character I've ever written that shares that with me.

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
Absolutely! I adore romance so much. It's 100% my favourite genre to read and my bookshelf is full of romance novels.

What was the first story you ever told?

Honestly, my memory can be terrible so I have zero idea of what my first story might be.

Was writing always your dream choice of career?

Nope. I always liked writing, but it had always been placed on the side burner because I felt pushed more to towards a career that was practical, stable, and lucrative. I decided on being a writer in my early 20s and just pushed forward from there.

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!

I have a desk set up in the living room since we're low on space in our apartment. It's not very thrilling lol. Sometimes there's a cat on the desk though and that spices things up.

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?

I love playlists. I have them more for first drafts, or if I need to get into a specific mood. Typically I will have an initial playlist for whatever book I'm working on, and then I'll refine that as I go, adding and removing songs as the book develops. If I'm editing or reading over my work then I stick to instrumentals so I don't get distracted by the lyrics.

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

I wouldn't say that it's any one social media that's 100% essential. To me what matters is that you enjoy the platforms you've chosen to work with. If you hate one part of your platform it's more likely to get neglected and people will probably notice.

Where do you hang out most online?
I'm pretty much always on Discord. I have my writing group on there, my Patreon group, my street team, friend's Patreon groups, and a romance writing group. I used to be on Tumblr a lot more before the purge, but I've definitely graduated to Discord because it's so easy to develop a community there.

Do you have a favourite app for writing?
I just use Google Docs so that I can access it from anywhere.

Organised or not?
Very organized. I have to be or I'd never get anything done. I love lists, agendas, organized folders, all the things that make my life a little easier.

What's your favourite book you've read?
This is a cruel question LOL. My top books that I will probably love forever (I'm choosing more than 1, you can't stop me lol) are The Savior's Champion by Jenna Moreci, Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and Poison Study by Maria V Snyder.

Morning or evening writer?

Definitely evening. Mornings and I have never been friends. I used to write in the mornings before work out of necessity, but now I work from home so I have a lot more flexibility.

She’s living her very own K-drama.

Beside herself with excitement, best-selling author Tessa Hale flies to the vibrant city of Seoul, South Korea, where she’s meeting the cast and crew of the film adaptation of her book. The thrill shifts to star-struck panic when she discovers the actor cast as the lead is the idol she’s been high-key crushing on for years.

The last thing he wants is more real-life drama.

Baek Eun Gi is part of one of the biggest K-pop groups in the business. Music has lost its lustre, and he’s hoping a shift in focus will bring back that connection he craves. Although he’s estranged from his family, he has his friends, a thriving career, and a healthy respect for the dating restrictions imposed upon him.

Meet cute,

When their paths collide in the most unexpected—and embarrassing— of ways, they try to put it behind them. Too bad there are photos. The music company is irate and offers them a way out of the scandal—a marriage of convenience. Their lives are about to turn upside down, but it just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

My Review: 5 STARS
I was super excited about reading this book, and the day it dropped, I dived right in. Kinsella's writing style is engaging, intriguing, pulling you along on the journey with Tessa and Eun Gi! I fell in love with the characters and the setting, I adored the whole book and especially the way Kinsella dealt with consent, it was a dream read, and one I savoured! If you love romance, you can not give this one a miss, you must read it because it will give you everything you need. Highly recommended!

You can follow Erin on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, and 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 18 February 2020


Lock and Clara have to keep moving forward to get to where they need to go. The fate of the country is in their hands..

Coming May 2020

Sign up for the cover reveal here.

[ID: A graphic with a smoky grey background and the header of: Lights On, with a small header underneath that reads: Coming May 2020. The excerpt reads:

It wasn't the end, it wasn't even the middle. Our journey was stretched out ahead of us, and we had a long way to go, but we'd manage it together. Today we would rest, tomorrow we would move forward, and we'd keep moving forward no matter what.

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


Monday 17 February 2020

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Retaining The Mystery


When I was a kid, one thing that drew me to crime books was that there was always this hint of mystery around them. There were always clues in the text, but a lot of the time, it wasn't something you picked up on until you knew the whole story. They needed the right context to make you jump to that conclusion. Having almost written thirty books, with a lot of them staying in the crime/mystery genre, it something that I've prided myself on being able to do well.

But how do you do that? How do you know if you've foreshadowing enough, and not just dumping huge clues that's going to have people aware of the villain way before you're ready for them to? I'm glad you asked, because I'm gonna give you my tips on how to retain the mystery when it comes to writing crime novels.

It doesn't have to be a killer, can just be a garden variety bad guy, but with mystery books, it's usually a killer. I'm not someone who really plans out my books, as you'll have heard me talk about, I'm a planster in that I do minimal planning and will, mostly, fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to that first draft. However, I do, generally, have some idea who the bad guy is gonna be, why they're committing the crime and how they plan to go about making sure that no one catches them. I do this because it helps to them be able to drop in little clues when it comes to foreshadowing. You want to know, if you can, in advance, because it's easier then to know what to say when writing scenes with that character or just with the main people investigating.

I want to empathise the small here. You can't be having a stalker who is the only one who has access to the main character, because that's pretty damn obvious, and while you can write it that way if the main character takes a while to work it out, they do seem pretty oblivious if they don't make the connection, given that the stalker is the only one able to do these things. You want to sprinkle rather than dump, because this way you can have little clues here and there, and know that the majority of the time, the reader won't think anything of it until they have the full story and the context within it.

These basically refer to having someone else seem like they're the baddie and then it all turning out to be someone else entirely. This can be done well. You can have readers thinking they're sure it's so-and-so and having all these reasons why, but then when the big reveal comes, they're completely surprised. I did this a lot in my novels, where I've had people set up to completely be obviously the bad guy and then they're actually just not, and it's a great way to build the suspense, especially if we're following the main character as they try to solve this crime.

I left this one until last because like I said above, I'm not a huge planner, but I am someone who likes to edit as I go, meaning that if something massive changes and I'm not solid on how the foreshadowing and clues are going, I will go back through my draft and change things here and there to make sure it all flows to the right person, along with the scapegoat I've slipped in there along the way.

Now if you do plan, then that's something that you can do in the planning stages. It means that you can make sure that your book follows the right structure, that you've hit all the beats along the way and that it will all come nicely together in a cohesive way. I do want to add a caveat here, if it doesn't work out, there's always revisions and the plus side of those is that you know the story backwards and forwards now, so you know what needs to be where. So don't lose hope if you're not a planner, or someone who's not managed to get it right in that first draft, revisions save you every time.

So there we have it, my four tips on retaining the mystery when it comes to writing a crime or mystery novel. I would love to hear your thoughts on any tips you might have, and please do let me know in the comments! It's always good to get new tips along the way, no matter where you are on your writing journey!

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 16 February 2020

Author Tag: New Years Writing Tag [CC]


Fireworks: The colorful explosion is a sign of celebration. What character has the most cause to celebrate in your world?
Auld Lang Syne: The song we still really don’t know how to sing from but it means “long days gone by.” What is an important memory for your characters?
Good Luck: There are traditions all over the world for welcoming in good luck in the new year.  What are symbols of good luck in your WIP OR who has the best luck in your WIP?
Black eyed Peas: A traditional dish to bring new year prosperity in the American South—what is a unique food in your WIP?
Noisemaker: It’s not New Years without making some noise! Who is your character that cannot be silenced?
Confetti: Throw some joy around! Confetti makes the scene! What is your favorite setting in your WIP?
Toast: Give yourself a toast! What are you most proud of in your writing?
Resolution: The New Year is the time to make new goals! What are your goals for the new year?




Friday 14 February 2020

Review of Death Warden by CJ Stilling

A teenage assassin. An impossible choice. The fate of everything hangs in the balance…

Sixteen-year-old Reen swore she’d never take another life. Divinely selected to assassinate a few in order to save many, she learned to jump from shadow to shadow and claim her victims without question… until she was ordered to kill the boy she loved. But when an ancient plague returns threatening to infect everyone she knows, she is forced to resume her deadly duties.

Battling a disease that turns people into nightmarish monsters, Reen must track down and terminate those responsible before the city falls, and the evil spreads beyond its borders. But the closer she gets to the source, the more she uncovers sinister secrets that will shake the foundations of her world and everything she believes.

Can Reen defend her realm without losing her soul? 


My Review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because of both the cover and the blurb. I went into it knowing that it would be an interesting read and I wasn't disappointed. Reen was an amazing character and as the story moved from past to present, you got a very rounded view of what had brought her to that point in her life. Chosen to be a death warden, forced to kill even though she doesn't want to, Reen is given a choice when she finally finds a way to end the visions, a tale of life, loss, love and more, and an overwhelmingly brilliantly crafted story. I very much recommend it!

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.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Award Announcement!

Lights Out was among the 25 titles chosen by In The Margins for their 2020 Fiction Titles

You can see the other titles chosen here.

I am beyond honoured and proud of my work!

Tuesday 11 February 2020


Lock and Lana can never agree on the events, but the least Lana could is not ask Lock to lie for her....

A graphic with a fading lightbulb, 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:

She whipped her head round to glare at me. “Wow, that’s your advice? Suck it up? You realise why I don’t like these things, don’t you?”
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. How long was she going to beat this horse?
“I know, you don’t like to watch them, you don’t agree with them, but Lana, it’s your job. It’s not like this is a new thing, you knew it was part of the job when you were hired, so it’s not like it’s some new thing that’s been sprung on you. I get it, you think everyone should die of old age, but that’s just not how the world works! You want to find the answer to how we achieve that without all starving to death, you’re more than welcome to try, but I can’t cover for you when it’s something like this. You know that, and you know that Chris is more than aware that I’m lying to him. I hate lying!”


Monday 10 February 2020

Building Your Audience - The After Process


This is something that I've talked about in other pieces, about growing your social media platforms (found here, and here), and while I could do another piece about this, it feels like the wrong thing to do. Today I'm gonna be talking about not just your platform growth, but actually building a reading audience, and all my tips that I can give you to manage that.

An author platform, for those who aren't aware, is basically a social media, website, blog, etc, presence that shows people where to find you and interact with you, and learn more about your works. A reading audience can be those same people, but it's also about getting people who don't yet know who you are, interested in your works. It's something where I'm still learning, so I am not going to claim to be an expert on this. I am going to say that after fourteen years in publishing on the self-published/indie side of things, I have picked up a few things that help you along the way.

So what are those things? And how can you get them to work for you? Glad you asked, because I'm going to share them with you now!

This might seem like an obvious point. After all, why would you promote a fantasy book with no romantic sub-plot to romance readers, right? That part is obvious, but I'd also want to point out that sometimes it's not as easy to know your genre, or the sub-categories of that genre that your book falls into. Ideally you want at least two when you're promoting, so like with the Dying Thoughts series, it was both paranormal, and mystery/crime. Therefore I promote it to people who love both of those genres.

However, when it comes to choosing a genre, you'll be aware that there are some overlaps. For example, my upcoming new release, Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge could fall into paranormal OR urban fantasy. Because it's a series, I've decided to look at the overarching plot rather than the books one by one for the MAIN genre, and in this case it slots into Urban Fantasy. Now you can have sub-genres, and they are useful when you're promoting, but for the point of this piece, I would say stick to your MAIN genre(s). You want to be sure that you're reaching out to the right people to read your work, otherwise everyone is just gonna be disappointed and that won't reflect well on you.

I know that this sounds like another obvious one, because again, why would you promote a Middle-Grade or Young Adult book to adults? Or vice versa? It's true that a lot of the readers of YA are adults, but the idea isn't to market to them, because while they may buy and enjoy your book, they're not the target audience. If you want to write books for adults, then you need to be making sure you do that.

It's pretty simple to work out the intended audience when it comes to age-range. MG is between 10 and 13, YA between 13 and up to 25 in some places, and adult is over 18. However, there are some cross-overs and even then it's better to know which audience you are trying to reach to make sure that your marketing is hitting the right spots. If you're writing YA, then you're going to want to target social media that most young adults use, like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. You want to make sure that libraries are aware, and able, to stock your books should someone request it. All of this goes into building your audience, so be sure of who you're trying to attract to your works.

I know you've heard this. Hell, it's something that a lot of people talk about, but it's also true. Reviews are the best way for you to spread the word either by people seeing them on Bookstagram, or seeing a Tweet about your book, if there's a review attached then people are able to judge whether it's something they might enjoy. Reviews help readers decide, and they help authors build their audience, so if you have the chance to contact reviewers, be they bloggers, or bookstagramers or just other authors who do reviews, then take advantage of it. This is a big way that you can build your audience, and just be aware that not all the reviews will be 5 star and that's okay. Liking something is subjective, and one reader might choose to read your book because of the reasons another reviewer listed for why they didn't like it!

And finally, #4. EVENTS HELP
I know that it's not always possibly for people to attend in-person events. Whether it's a case of time, money or just not being in the right part of the world, I get that. I will say that these kinds of events don't always have to be in-person, there are Facebook groups that will hold takeovers, there are ways to go live and read a part of your book, or just chat with the people there. All of these work. And they can be a big way to build your audience.

As far as in-person events go, those are awesome. They don't have to be massive multi-author signings, they can be doing a talk at a school, or a library, or a signing at a local book store. All of these are ways to get your face in front of readers and have them be interested in talking to you, and getting to know more about your books. I've done four multi-author signings and they've always been great! I've also been asked to go to secondary schools and talk about being an author, and those have gone amazing too. It's all about putting yourself out there and seeing people.

So there we have it, my four tips on building your audience. If you have any tips for people, then please do lemme know in the comments, and share them with us all!

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