Tuesday, 28 April 2020

#TeaserTuesday


Clara and Lock have made it to the border, but will they both survive the crossing?

 Coming May 12th 2020


[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:

Frick! Clara must've connected the dots before I did, and now she was letting herself be bait. I wanted to call out but I couldn't. Some of it was fear and a good sense of self-preservation, but there was also a part of me that realised why. She could easily tell them that I'd died from the snake bite. If they shot her, or took her into custody to work out how far the treason went, I would then have a clear path to the border.


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 April 2020

How I Edit - The After Process


HOW I EDIT

I've made no secret of the fact that I find editing and revisions really hard. It's something that wears me down, pings my stress levels and just makes me want to stop writing. Of course I say that, but I know that it wouldn't actually do that, I also know that it's a very necessary part of the editing process and not something I have ever skipped. Whether it's my self-edit, betas, or the many steps of editors, I always make sure to go through every step and take a little cheer when each one is finished.

I've talked about my editing team (piece found here) but I thought I would touch on how I approach editing as a whole. I'm going to be talking about both the revision process and the editing process, which, for me at least, are a little different. When I'm talking about revision, I'm not thinking of it being a final draft, I'm reading through it, strengthening sentences, rewriting bits and pieces, and leaving some of it alone to think about how to better execute the impact I want that scene to have. When I talked about editing, I mean the professional process (bar the one final read through of my self-edit) and how I make changes to the document meaning for it to be one of the final steps.

REVISION PROCESS: STEP ONE
To begin with, I'll read through the manuscript and I'll both make notes in a journal, and also in the document about things that I want to fix. Either scenes that need strengthening, character arcs that are in place but not up to scratch, sub-plots that need to be weaved through, any foreshadowing and other such things that I know need work. I'll write in brackets in places where I know I'm not happy with the scene or chapter itself and plan to overhaul the whole thing.

REVISION PROCESS: STEP TWO

This is when I make the changes. Either I'm going through chapter by chapter, or note by note. I'll deal with the big plot things first, and leave the little stuff for the next stage. I made sure that I have time to both rewrite, and to read, without distractions. This usually takes me the longest because I am constantly coming back to the same scenes and rewording, rewriting them after some time away. I try to go through it in order first before going back over it again chapter by chapter, and then see about how the story reads.

REVISION PROCESS: STEP THREE

The small changes come now, this is when I'll look at word choices, adverbs and all that, I'll look at repeated phrases, crutch words that I know from previous edits, I lean on. Like for Dying Thoughts, I would cut down on the tea Tara drank, and with other books it's been things like 'just' and 'a little' and such like that. I go through each instance and make sure that I can justify every one if need be.

REVISION/EDITING PROCESS: STEP FOUR
The final read through of the book. I will usually be on draft five or six by this point, having gone over and over it several times. Sometimes I'll let an app read it out to me since I feel subconscious reading to myself, and this is a great way to pick up anything that doesn't sound right, or is an outright mistake. I have the app on my tablet, and will usually do a couple of chapter a day, more if I have time.

MOVING ON TO EDITS!

EDITING PROCESS: STEP ONE

This is after the revisions, after reading through it, which would be my self-edit, the first of many. Once I'm sure that the book is as good as I can make it, then I go to beta readers. I usually have around ten in a round, and I send out the book in chunks. This is usually when I go through another couple or more drafts, making changes here and there and making sure that everything is still as clean as I can make it. Once I'm done with betas, when their feedback is mostly positive, or things that I can't or won't change, I call it finished.

EDITING PROCESS: STEP TWO
The developmental edit is the next step. You all know I work with Kim, and she and I go over the book chapter by chapter most days for the next three months, and hone everything to the point where I'm happy with it.

EDITING PROCESS: STEP THREE
I'm gonna combine the line edits (done by B) and the proof-reading (done by Natalie) because at this point, there really aren't many changes to the book. It's been worked on over and over, I know the story backwards and forwards, and I know the weak areas if any remain. Generally speaking, by the time it gets to this stage, I'm very happy with it, and am ready to move on to the final stage.

EDITING PROCESS: STEP FOUR
The final read through. This is something I do, making no changes because the proof-reader has come in at this point, and make sure there's nothing missed. If something does need changing (which is super super rare) then I'll be careful how I go about it. That done, and the book is ready to be published.

So there we have it, the way I approach revision and editing and all the steps I go through in the process. It's something that's worked for me for a long time, and I find that I've honed my skills enough to be happy with how things work. I have recently started doing the revision stages earlier but that's simply a personal choice to give myself, and my team more time to work.

How do you approach editing and revision? 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, 24 April 2020

Review Of Piranhas In Pink by Nova Knightley

Lennox McRae has an unquenchable thirst for revenge.
After the tragic death of her sister, Lennox and her mom move to Everson Falls for a fresh start. Once she crosses paths with the PIPs, a group of perfect girls in pink, she’s warned to stay away from them. According to the students of Bainbridge Academy, the PIPs are nothing but trouble. Once Lennox learns this, her mission is clear. She must destroy them. As far as Lennox is concerned, girls like the PIPs ruin people’s lives, so she’s determined to bring them down. To do that, she needs to become one of them.

Unfortunately for Lennox, there’s way more to this clique than meets the eye. Everyone calls them Piranhas for a good reason. Lennox must complete three tasks to earn her place in the clique. She completes the first two effortlessly, but when the third ends in disaster, the PIPs help Lennox conceal a terrible crime. Now that the girls are holding a life-shattering secret over her, Lennox finds herself at their mercy. She must do everything she can to keep her life from falling apart and someone else from getting hurt. Lennox is hiding a dark past, but so are the Piranhas.

Becoming a part of the in-crowd was easy. Getting out will be impossible.

My Review:5 STARS
I picked this up because of the blurb, and I dove right in and devoured the book in one sitting. Lennox has a dark side, she also has a plan, and she's pretty sure she's in the right for what she does. Of course it means aligning herself with the PIPs and doing what they command. The story pulls you in from the first word, you end up cheering for Lennox even as things start to go seriously wrong. I adored the easy-going attitude with which Lennox writers, even when dealing with serious subjects. Overall, I was desperate to know what happened, and loved the twist at the end. I will be reading the second one ASAP. 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, 21 April 2020

#TeaserTuesday


Lock may not make the laws, but she does carry them out, no matter how wrong they may seem...


PRE-ORDER LIGHTS ON: http://www.books2read.com/LON

[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:

"You don't?" she asked, raising an eyebrow as if she was amused. "You honestly don't see what they do... what you do as violence? You take the citizens of this cityship and you inject poison into their veins and stand idly by waiting for them to die. That, in our book, is murder plain and simple."
"I don't make the laws," I said, my arms sore from the iron grip of the people holding me.
"No, but you do carry them out and I bet you're one of those who fully believes in the system. For the good of the country and all that," she said, in a mocking tone.

END ID]

Monday, 20 April 2020

Lock & Clara in the Future: Lights On


LOCK & CLARA IN THE FUTURE

As usual when it comes close to the release of a new book, I thought I would talk a little bit about writing the characters and the book itself. I've done this with every book I've released so far, and given that Lights On is a sequel, I thought I would just focus on the act and characters of this book rather than the series as a whole.

So brief overview for those who don't know, Lights On carries on almost immediately from the events of Lights Out, and both are young adult dystopians. Lights Out is set in a world where aging stops at 25 and all life ends at 60, the United English Cityships are led by the King, and each individual cityship is isolated from its neighbours. Everyone has equality, and the day following their 60th birthday, people are humanely euthanasied. Lock is 19, and works in the events. She checks every ID, every retina chip and helps to call people to these events. In book one, she started to see a strange pattern emerging where people were claiming to be younger than 60 and yet were still sent to their deaths. Without knowing who to trust, Lock started to ask questions, the kind of questions that got you aged up and whisked off for your final sleep. Lock has no one but Clara and between the two of them, they start to search for answers.

What changed for me in writing and editing the sequel was that a lot of what I'd thought would work in the first draft, was rewritten in subsequent ones and then rewritten again in edits. There were a lot of aspects that I'd thought about, and changed and there were a few where I'd not realised the implications of my decisions. I adored writing the sequel, and am very much looking forward to working on the final book, the first draft of which is in revisions right now, because I adore Lock, Clara and the whole world that I created, and watching the characters grow into the people they are by the end of the book.

LOCK

Lock was the first character who came to me when I had the idea for the book, she was someone who I felt I knew really well even though she only existed on paper. I adored seeing her grow from an idea into the character that she is now. She goes through a lot in the first book, and the second one isn't any different. Lock has to navigate the unknown, question what she's been told, and decide where she wants to stand at the end of it all. She's been disabled the majority of her life, having lost her right leg above the knee in an accident when she was 7. She's been using a wheelchair ever since and until recently had never really been treated as different.

Part of the journey she and Clara take, involves Lock having to rely on people, something that she doesn't do all that well. She's unsure about whether they're doing the right thing, but she also knows that it's not like they have any choice. It was leave or die, and she was never going to let Clara take the fall for everything. Thrown into the thick of things, Lock has to work hard to gain trust from people who might not be all that trustworthy themselves. She's learning things about the country, about the people around her, that she didn't know before, and she's starting to question everything.

CLARA
Writing Clara has been a journey on its own. When I first started Lights Out, I didn't think that she and Lock would end up together, I'm a planster, and to be honest, I planned the first book as a standalone. It was only when I got to know Lock that I realised it not only needed a sequel, but was a trilogy. And from there, the divide between Lock and Lana became unfathomable. It made sense that Clara would end up with Lock, and would go on this journey with her. Clara is feisty, ready to battle for what's right and has a couple of years on Lock that allow for her to see things from a different perspective. On top of that, her parents are actively involved in the protester movement, so it made sense that Clara would go on the path she has.

Clara loves Lock a lot more than I think Lock either realises, or to begin with, understands. Lock having only just come out of what was a toxic relationship, she's not all that sure about her feelings for Clara. The journey the two of them take brings them both closer together and makes them realise that out of everyone around them, they can trust completely in each other, and that was something that I really enjoyed writing, exploring and going through in subsequent rewrites and edits.

OTHER CHARACTERS
There are two other points of view in Lights On, one if Lana, who's still on the base trying to save her own skin. The other is Hayley Lightson, who was the catalyst, or one of them, for Lock to make the choices she did, for Clara to join her along the way. Overall, I have adored writing and editing this book and I can't wait for you all to read it, and enjoy it as well.


To pre-order Lights On, you can go here, and don't forget to grab the SWAG that goes along with it 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, 17 April 2020

Review of Every Wrong Right by MC Frank

In the second installment of the Outlaws series, there are more deadly secrets, more pining and more danger to be found.
You'll discover the answers to many of your questions from book one, and new ones will keep you at the edge of your seat.
Will Robin Hood find out the truth about Ru?
Will Robin and Ru kiss?
Will they finally share the truth about their origins?
Will they stay alive?
Will every wrong be made right?
My review: 5 STARS
I picked this up because I loved the first book, I adored the world Frank had created, as well as the characters. This book picks up almost immediately after the first one ends. Ru and Robin are both in the fight for their lives. I adored Frank's way with words, I love the way she weaves the words into an enthralling story. I am very much looking forward to the third instalment. The book ends leaving you desperate for more, highly recommended!

You can follow MC Frank on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, her website, and The Book Robin Hoods.

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 April 2020

#TeaserTuesday


  Lock knows that she and Clara will make it through, because they'll do whatever it takes to survive...

 Coming May 12th 2020


[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:

“You watching me, Lock?” Clara asked, with a shy smile on her face, her eyes focusing ahead.
“Yeah, just thinking that you’re beautiful, and I wouldn’t wanna be here with anyone else,” I said, trying my best to not stumble over the words.
She laughed, a tinkle of a sound that filled the space, and just made me beam with joy, drowning out the worry in my mind, just for a beat.
We pressed on, our moods lifted, or maybe I was just lightheaded. It was only when the topic came back to the King, that the bubble burst 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, 13 April 2020

The Trials Of An Indie Author: That Feeling Before Release


THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: THAT FEELING BEFORE RELEASE 
 
I thought that since Lights On is being released next month, I would talk about not just what goes into being an indie author before release, but also the feelings and anxiety that goes along with it. I feel like it's not talked about as much as it should be. We talk about the highs, but we don't too often talk about the lows, and while I don't want to do a piece that talks completely about those lows, I feel like it's worth talking about.

So, for people who are new to my blog, or me, I have published sixteen books now, and Lights On will be number seventeen. I am solely an indie author and usually do two releases a year. I'm not a big fish, but I'm getting there, and I write young adult fiction through a variety of genres. So with that out of the way, let's talk about those highs and lows!

HIGH #1 ARC REVIEWS
The one thing that I really look forward to is getting ARC reviews back. I love checking to see if they've arrived and reading through them. Now I know not every author reads their reviews, but I do. I love seeing what a reader liked, and didn't like. I don't ever comment on reviews, but I adore getting to see them pop up. So in the run up to release, once the ARCs have gone out, I do love the anticipation of waiting for those reviews to come back. And so this is a definite high for me!

LOW #1 STRESS LEVELS
This might seem a big changed from the first high, but along with all the work that goes into a release, there's always a certain level of stress that goes along with it. The worry that people won't be done in time, like the cover design, the edits, the proof-read etc. You want to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch and from time to time, you do end up getting big issues along the way. Mostly this time around, things have been less stressful, but that doesn't change the anxiety that goes along with a release. It's a huge thing to release a book, and there's always gonna be that low-to-high level stress threaded through everything.

HIGH #2 HYPE BUILD UP

Now as I said above, I am still very much a small fish. I don't get the same amount of hype as some authors, but I do get some, and that build up, of readers either pre-ordering or getting ready for release can be a huge mood lift. It can keep you going and get you just as excited to hit that release day as everyone else. I personally do a seven day countdown when it comes to release day. I love getting to post that every day and I love the response I get to it. It's a great mood boost!

LOW #2 BURNOUT & FATIGUE

I don't know if this is just me, I'm pretty sure it's not because I've seen other authors talk about the burnout and fatigue that go along with a release. The fact of the matter is, you're pushing yourself for months before it, and then months afterwards. The promo and all the rest don't end when the book is out. You'll still be trying to market, still be keeping that hype build, and for me at least, still working on other projects. It's a quick way to end up barrelling towards burnout.

Now because I do two releases a year, I used to have them back to back. That was hell. I've since learned from my mistakes and release one in May and the other in October, giving me, and my editors and such, some breathing room. I have been done with all edits for Lights On since the end of March and am now in the thick of the developmental edits for my next release. Once I finish those, I'll have a month or two off before I start the next edit for the next release. And during that time, I gotta write other projects, so you can see where I'm going right? I am working hard, and because of that, the burnout has to be dealt with in small doses to try and not completely lose in during a developmental edit. It's an uphill battle, but one that I'm happy to be on.

HIGH #3 THE FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
I know this seems vague but I didn't want to end on a sour note. I don't know about other authors, but for me getting that book out, seeing it in the wild and seeing other people enjoy it, gives my mood a lift like nothing else. I've been published for almost fifteen years and I've never managed to lose the joy that comes from having my book out there in other people's hands.

At the end of the day, there are many highs and many lows that I've not mentioned here. Releasing a book is hard work, writing a book is hard work and all the steps in between are, you guessed it, hard work. There are a lot of behind the scenes stuff that goes along with being published and the work doesn't really ever end. Every author goes about it differently and everyone has a myriad of emotions when it comes to release day. Personally, I'm looking forward to people finally getting the second book in the Lights Out trilogy, just because the first was so well received, and I know a lot of my readers feel the same way, which is amazing to think about.

What are some of the highs and lows for you when it comes to releasing? Lemme know down in the comments!

To pre-order Lights On, you can go here, and don't forget to grab the SWAG that goes along with it 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, 10 April 2020

Review of Dream Walker Academy: Remember by Joanna Reeder

Dream Walker Rules:
  • Observe, don’t interact
  • Keep track of your reality
  • DON'T change the past
Welcome to Dream Walker Academy! A school for time-traveling dream walkers who want to hone their gifts and not lose their sanity in the process.

Tessa Stewart wants out.

As the daughter of Dream Walker Academy’s directors and founders, she’s lived at the academy her entire life under the shadow of her parents' greatness. When the opportunity to attend a school across the country presents itself, she jumps at the chance.

She's a rare dream walker who remembers every timeline, no matter who changes it. Even if the change happened by accident. Her rare gift makes life confusing and stressful when she's surrounded by other dreamers 24/7.

So, she could use the break.

But then a time shift turns Sebastien Penn—a fellow dream walker and longtime friend—into the new kid at school. Tessa is the only one who remembers the old him, and she's certain the time shift made his life worse.

Things have to be changed back, but this new version of Sebastien is showing her all kinds of attention. The kind she’s always wanted.

The problems don't stop coming, and soon, she catches wind of serious troubles involving her parents. If nothing changes, it could mean the end of her happy family, and even the end of Dream Walker Academy.

The past is broken, and only Tessa has the power to fix it. If she doesn't lose everything first.

My Review: 4 STARS
I picked this up because it sounded intriguing, and the plot didn't disappoint. It was engaging from the first word, the idea of people able to dream walk. The only issue I had with the book was it felt disjointed and rushed in some places. The main plot was great, and I loved reading and working out what the changes would do to the current timeline, but there were times it was confusing to read. Overall, a good book!

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 April 2020

#TeaserTuesday



Lock thinks something more is going on, and she's determined to find out what...


PRE-ORDER LIGHTS ON: http://www.books2read.com/LON

[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:

“Xavier Clement & Zara Mackleby,” the bored man said, handing me two files. “Though next time be clear about the dates.”
“Sorry, I thought I had the right ones,” I replied, taking the files.
“You’re lucky I was able to find them,” he said. “Please return them to me when you’re done, so I can be sure they’re in the right place.” He looked at me with an expression that said he was explaining it as he would to a child. “Now, Officer, is it okay if I go back to work?”
“Of course,” I said, fake smile on my face as I watched him turn and leave.

 
END ID]

Monday, 6 April 2020

Spoonie Writer: Working Within Your Limits


SPOONIE WRITER: WORKING WITHIN YOUR LIMITS

I've talked a lot about how to work within your limits as a spoonie, but I don't think it's something I've gone into too much depth about as a subject on its own. I've been a spoonie now for nearly twenty years, I've also been a writer for that amount of time, and published for over fourteen years. In that time I've written nearly thirty books, and have almost seventeen published through my label, Bug Books. I don't say that to make you think, wow she's doing so well, I must also do that much to be valid. Nope, that's not going to come from me, because it's something that I really struggle with, the idea that I have to be productive member of society otherwise I am a burden and invalid. It's a toxic mindset and one I'm still breaking out of.

So what am I here to tell you? I thought I would give you a few ways in which I've made working within my limits a priority in my working life. Just some quick background, beyond what's above. I was retired from the working world at nineteen, I was also told that I would never work a conventional job again because of the severity of my conditions. I am, by all accounts, a full time writer, purely by default, and it's something I've been doing for the majority of that time. I would go into how and why, but I feel like talking about what's wrong with me just makes me crabby, so I'll link here to a video on my Authortube channel that breaks it all down for you.

#1. REST IS NOT LAZY

One thing that I really struggled with is the idea that resting is time I could spend doing actual work. It took me a long time to work out, to get that toxic head space cleared, that resting is okay. That I am doing something, I'm letting my body heal so that I don't end up in a flare because I pushed myself too hard. Resting isn't time away from work, it's time to allow you to continue work.

#2. SELF-CARE TAKES MANY DIFFERENT FORMS
For a long time, I struggled with self-care, simply because the things I would see people suggesting weren't something I either enjoyed, or could even do. I can't just go out for a walk, I can't just pop over to the cinema and take time out. It's all got to be planned. I can't just take a trip away from home to get out of the house. I focused too much on what I couldn't do, and didn't really think about what I could. I love reading, I get through books on a regular basis. I beat my all time record last year with over 250 books read, and I'm aiming for 200 this year and am already ahead. My point is that resting, and self-care can be simple things. I can take time away from work by focusing on a book, or reaching out to a friend, or just curling up and having a nice nap for the sake of it. All of these are valid and they work well for the spoonie who can't quite manage a huge day out.

#3. PLAN YOUR TIME, BUT BE READY FOR SURPRISES
I've recently started using a planner as well as my sticky notes, and I like to plan my time extensively. Now that doesn't mean that you also have to go to that level, but if you do plan your time, leave room for things that might pop up and knock you off schedule. I have lazy days, days off, days when I'll be done by ten am, and days when I don't really have much to do. These are all days to allow me some breathing room in case things get a little stressful or I get hit with a flare, or a deadline that needs to be met. If you're gonna do a plan, make sure you have room to breathe.

#4. KNOW YOUR LIMITS
For the past few months I've been doing only twenty chapters a month when I know that I'm quite capable of twenty-four, even with the days off and such. It started as a way to make sure I could still do Hydrotherapy, but it became clear after NaNo 2019 that I was really struggling and needed to take time to have more down time. This became something that I struggled with a little, but actually, I prefer doing it this way than ending up burnt out, because that's where I was heading. When you threw in my health issues, it was clear that I was going down a road where I might end up really stuck, so knowing my limits means I can plan and adjust for times when that fatigue or pain is too much to work with.

#5. DO A LITTLE EACH DAY
Now this one is more for those who are having to hold down a full time job rather than a full time writer, or someone who has the ability to write when and how they choose. If you work a full time job and you're also a spoonie, hats off to you, because that is not easy! But if you're also wanting to make sure that you get some words in, set a time, a place, and just do a little each day. Don't push yourself to do more, and this goes back to knowing your limits, because if you push and push, you're gonna end up flaring out and that's just not going to help matters. It doesn't matter if it takes you years to finish, you're valid, and you're doing the best you can. It's times like these that I look to that saying my friend, Kim told me all those years ago: It takes as long as it takes, and that's okay!

So there we have it, the five things to keep in mind when planning your writing time as a spoonie. I know that there is a lot of talk about the hustle, about making sure that you put in all the hours you can, all the time, otherwise are you really trying hard enough? And to that I say, yeah I am, you are, you're doing the best you can with the cards you've been dealt. Hustle doesn't always work for non-spoonies, and that's not a bad thing. Just keep going and remember that you will get this done!


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