Friday, 9 April 2021

Review of A Witchy Surprise by Rhonda Hopkins

 

A magical heritage. A threat in the forest. An explosion of powers.

Charley Cooper is tired of being the lone non-magical person in a family of witches. At the ripe-old age of sixteen, she believes the witchy gene has skipped her. But when something dark in the forest threatens her best friend and her little sister, Charley's powers appear out of nowhere.

Now Charley's best friend is angry about the secrecy. Her crush is dating someone else. And, her out of control powers threaten to expose her family's secret.

When a dangerous enemy tries to silence them forever, Charley knows she must fight back. But can she learn to control her magic before they're all taking a nap in the local graveyard?

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up before I saw the first book, and once I’d read that, I had to dive right into this one. The story pulls you in from the first page. Charley is likeable, relatable and pulls you along for the ride. I adored the world building, the cost mystery wrapped up in Charley discovering and trying to work out her abilities. I adore the family, the loves, the hates and everything in between. It was an amazing ride that I devoured in one sitting and was happy to have done so. Overall, an amazing sequel and a series I will be following. 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, 6 April 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

Mya is pretty sure she'll get through this so long as Garnet stays by her side...

COMING JUNE 14TH 2021

PRE-ORDER NOW: http://www.books2read.com/LOFF

PRE-ORDER SWAG: https://forms.gle/Z3KmCMGPcSAmBRTi9

 [ID: A dark forest background with the title LIGHTS OFF at the top and COMING JUNE 2021 just below it. The except reads:

Swallowing down that tinge of fear, she was ready to move, falling into step behind Garnet. This would be the start of the rest of her life, this would be the moment she would look back on and see that the course of her whole life would be shaped by this decision.
She hoped it would be everything she wanted, and more. But for now she had to be careful, had to concentrate.
Her life depended on it.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Spoonie Writer: Missing Out Revisited

SPOONIE WRITER: MISSING OUT REVISITED

I've talked about missing out as a spoonie writer before (found here) but today I wanted to revisit the topic because of things going on with me as a writer, and as a spoonie. For those who don't know, I'm chronically ill and disabled, and so I juggle both my health and my writing and try and make the two work, when sometimes it's just not possible.

At the end of 2020, I was in a depressive low, and now in the start of 2021, I'm only just starting to see the end of that low. I'm finding it harder and harder to keep myself focused and on track with edits and writing, and revisions and releases, and so I've been weighing up the option of just doing one release this year and maybe one release next year and then re-visit the idea and see how things go. I'm still, as of now, undecided but it brought to mind the reasons for that.

See, one thing I learned early on when I got sick was I was going to miss out on things my abled, and well, friends weren't. I wasn't going to go out to the club, or pick up a partner, or get married and have babies, not just because of my disability but because of the effect it had on me. And I was mostly okay with all of that. I had my friends, I had my family, and I was okay with the adjustment that I'd made. When I was published, it felt like I was going to have this career that would adjust with me, and mostly it has.

For the past four years I have gone from publishing one book a year to at least two, though in 2019 I did three, and that about killed me! I love being able to bring out the two because then I'm always preparing for the next one, and with how fast I draft, I'm not going to run out of books to release. On top of that, my audience is excited and happy about the two books a year and I've been getting a lot of good feedback on the way I do things.

But it's 2021, and while Lights Off is coming out in June (you can pre-order here if you're interested) I should be, at this point, sending off Cramping Chronicles: The Second Pang to the editor, and I don't know that I will have. I don't know if I have the mental energy to do a second release this year, it's a long process, it takes a lot of work, and with my mental health taking a sharp nose dive, I just don't know if Im able to go through that process without it having a negative effect on me long term.

And then the whispers of missing out come, because I look at other indies in my genre and they're releasing either rapid style (which I know I can't do) or they're doing their usual thing and taking things in their stride and me, I can't right now, and it's just hard to adjust and cope with. It's hard to mourn that. Someone pointed out that one of the highlights of being indie is that you get to decide when and what you do, and that's true, but I feel like there's this expectation, and that I would be letting down my readers to push things back, especially when the book itself is, mostly, ready to be edited.

The problem is, right now, I don't have any advice about what to do when that happens, other than to accept it, and move through it at your own pace. I've been struggling for months, and am only just coming out of my shell enough to tell myself that it's okay if I need to take that break, if I need to spend some time away from publishing to get my head on straight.

I will be the first to tell you that taking a break is not a bad thing, that everyone needs them and that there's no shame in doing so, but like a lot of people I'm great at seeing the issues other people are having and telling them to take care of themselves, and not all that good at recognising it in myself. I don't feel burnt out, it's not that kind of problem, it's the pressure and stress and the fact that my confidence has been slowly chipped away at to the point where, right now, I don't have any when it comes to writing and publishing.

Maybe it will help to talk to myself as if I were someone else, and maybe writing this piece has been what I've needed to know that it's okay to take that time, to heal, to breathe, to move past this blip and go forward onto something else. Whether that's this year or next, there's no rush to get published, I have the time I need, and if not, I can make that time. I need to heal, I need to grow, and I need to get back to the person I was before all of this.

I hope my readers will understand.

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, 2 April 2021

Review of Life Bound by Aubery Winters

 When a vampire throws you out of a window, don’t make him your personal bodyguard.

But when my Nana disappears, he has no choice but to stick with me if he wants to stay alive.

My life turned upside down when I walked in on the world’s oldest vampire attacking my grandmother. Everything I knew about myself was a lie. My parents weren’t killed in a tragic car accident, my Nana wasn’t a normal little old lady, and a whole supernatural world exists parallel to ours.

I’m desperate to find Nana. Kol is desperate to break this spell that binds my life to his. Together, we have to make sure I stay alive long enough to find out who I really am before an underground war between the supernatural races tears the Shadow world apart.


My Review: 4 STARS

I picked this up because the blurb sounded intriguing. I enjoyed the story, but felt like it was rushed in some places, and it kinda threw me out of the book. It’s not my usual kind of series, but at the same time, it’s beautifully told. The whole idea of Elle being thrown into a life that she never knew about before intrigues me, and makes me want to know more. It was a short, quick read, but I did find there were parts when I wished things had been more expanded upon. Overall, a book I enjoyed, and I might pick up the next in the series.

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 March 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

Lana is still adjusting to Lock being gone and the changes in her life because of it.

BUY HERE: http://www.books2read.com/LON

[ID: A smokey background with LIGHTS ON are the top and underneath is: out now in ebook and paperback. The teaser 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 and the website www.joeypaulonline.com and in the bottom right corner is the Bug Books logo. END ID]

 

Monday, 29 March 2021

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Hands On Research

THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: HANDS ON RESEARCH

I thought about writing this piece for a while since it popped up on my list of blog posts to try. I don't know whether you know this about me, but I plan meticulously and then will do my vlog scripts and blog posts at the end of the month so that they're all ready for the coming month and such. I brainstorm every few months to add more ideas to the list. This was one that came to me, and part of me wishes that I'd had the idea to write down what sparked it in the first place, but beyond that I have some ideas about what I was going for.

See, I'm not really just a crime writer any more, I haven't been for a while, but I've continued this series because I have a lot of experience in writing crime and mystery and it seems like there's a lot of advice out there about other genres and vague tips for this one, and since I have that wealth of knowledge I figured I could share. But when it comes to research, that's something that I've found is a lot easier when you know someone.

I won't go into detail about who I know, it's no one famous of anything, a family member used to work for the local police force, and was able to put me in contact with various officers over the years to let me pick their brains. I've found that actually, depending on how you approach them, they're pretty open to discussing it, just as long as you're not expecting them to drop everything and do it right there and then, because y'know, they have actual crimes to solve.

I've talked before about how I've got other contacts through my doctors for medical information, and that's another thing that I think is pretty easy to garnish the same kind of thing. I wouldn't do it right now, with the plague still raging through the world, or at least my part of the world, because they'll be a little tied up with other, more important, matters, but there's nothing that will beat the ability to talk to someone who does the thing you're looking to write about.

Simply put, having someone cut up a dead body in a book is going to feel more real if you can reach out to say, the local pathologist who does this for a living. Some may be receptive, some won't, but it's the reaching out and asking, respectfully and honestly, that might net you some bits and pieces that you wouldn't get through just simply reading about it.

I remember when I was writing Lynne & Hope, and I needed a lot of the technical data for Lynne's job - she worked in a crime lab for those who haven't read the book - and I knew that while I could google it, it wasn't going to feel as real as it would if I talked to someone who had actual experience with this kind of thing. I knew I was never going to get a tour of the facility or be shown the tests happening in person, but I didn't need to do that to have some idea that I was going in the right direction.

It was that family member who was able to reach out to someone they knew and pass on my contact details. I had several long conversations with them, and then sent them the scenes in question (at their request, I didn't assume otherwise) and got feedback from there. These kinds of contacts are invaluable beyond just crime, but everything else as well.

So maybe that's what past Joey was talking about, maybe it wasn't, but I feel like having those contacts is the best way forward. They can be time-consuming to find, and cultivate, and you may get a lot of nos before you get any yes'es, but at the end of the day, it'll help you craft a better story, and a better reading experience for everyone.

Any questions? 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, 26 March 2021

Review of A Witchy Mistake by Rhonda Hopkins

 A high school nemesis. A misuse of powers. An Unexpected Consequence.

Sixteen-year-old Charley Cooper is furious when her cousin Danu uses her powers to get back at a high school nemesis without considering the consequences.

When someone attacks the other girl and she ends up in a coma, Danu becomes the prime suspect. As annoyed as she is at her cousin, Charley doesn't want her to go down for something she didn't do.

Even though Charley has never had magical abilities of her own, when she has what she believes is a vision about an attack on Danu, she's forced to investigate. Can she find the guilty party before her cousin pays - one way or another?

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because I wanted to read the series in order. It was a fast quick read, but enough to get me invested int he world. I loved Charley and the mystery of the attack on Tiffany, loved how it all played out and enjoyed it from start to finish. I’m desperate to dig into book two and see more from this author, and from the characters. Overall, a quick read, but one that helps you get into the world and the story around them. A great little mystery, 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, 23 March 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

The differences between cityships is still obvious to Lock, the world is not equal...

COMING JUNE 14TH 2021

PRE-ORDER NOW: http://www.books2read.com/LOFF

PRE-ORDER SWAG: https://forms.gle/Z3KmCMGPcSAmBRTi9

 [ID: A dark forest background with the title LIGHTS OFF at the top and COMING JUNE 2021 just below it. The except reads:

“So you're an aunt?” Hanna asked as she put my tea on the small counter in front of me. “Why didn't you ever say?”
“It felt... it felt like I would be rubbing people's faces in it, y'know? I mean I'm disabled and had a job, I'm a second child. People here, they're barely surviving, and yet there was me in the next cityship with so much and yet I'm complaining? It just felt shitty to do.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

Monday, 22 March 2021

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Keeping Ideas Alive


THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: KEEPING IDEAS ALIVE


This was something that I wanted to talk about for a while, but have only really had the time to put it into words now. I've been published for over 15 years and that whole time I've been indie. There was a period in my very early career where I was almost traditionally published, but the less said about that the better. The point I'm trying to make is that I am very much proud of being indie, I love the control, and the way the ideas flow, I love getting to choose who I work with, who I entrust my work with, and all of that. I love every aspect of the indie life, though of course there are some that I'm not as fond of as others, but that's something I've talked about before.

However, one thing I have found very hard in the indie life is that, as it stands, you are usually the only person with the ability to keep that idea you started with alive. I don't mean that someone else is trying to destroy what you've created, not at all, but I do mean that there is a hell of a lot of pressure on you as the author. I have worked with mostly good editors my whole career, I can sing the praises of them all, and while I've had some bad experiences, none of them have been to the point where I felt like I was the only person behind my book.

The issue I have come across though, is that loneliness that comes from being both a writer and indie. Think about it, if you're someone without a huge platform and without a huge following, sometimes it can very much feel like you're shouting out into the void and no one even notices. And I can feel that immensely at times. I'm always someone who talks about community, about making sure that you have people in your corner, but at the same time, that doesn't happen on its own. When you're first starting out, you do have to fight your own battles and make friends and connections and that comes from hard work, and sometimes, striking out a lot.

For a long time, I didn't have people behind me inside the writing world. I had friends who stood by me, and I had people who were happy to help, but I didn't have other writers, and I didn't have other indies who were also, like me, still trying to find their feet in the publishing industry. I don't say this as a poor me, boo hoo, but because I know there are new indies every day who début, or publish their third or fourth book, and are still struggling, like me, to find that audience, to find their people, and I know how isolating that feels.

A lot of indie authors go into that route because they know what kind of stories they want to tell, and they have set out to go indie. It's not always about people who tried to query and couldn't get picked up. I didn't do much research when I first started out, but I did know enough to know that I wanted to be an indie author. I didn't want to go the traditional route and this was the path for me. They know the hard work is going to be on their backs, but they still hope that they will get out there and find their audience and their people and do well, and some do, and some don't, but they put the work in either way.

My point is this: I see you out there, I see you struggling and wondering if you should give up because people don't seem to see you, but I do. I made a ton of mistakes when I was first starting out, and I'm still, fifteen odd years later, trying to mend them, but making mistakes help you learn, and that's not a bad thing. It might take you a while to find your feet, but keep going. You may be like me, and just need a while to catch you breath and find a lot of people who aren't there for you, to actually find the group that very much are.

Writing, being an author, it can be isolating, it can destroy your confidence, but we all have stories to tell, and we all have to band together to help each other. Keeping the ideas alive are not just for our stories, but for ourselves as well. We will get there, it will just take some time, and that's completely okay.

Any questions? 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, 19 March 2021

Review of The Villian Institute by Megan Linski & Alicia Rades

 

Love is even more dangerous behind bars.



Ava-Marie

My name is Ava-Marie, and I love living on the dark side.

Getting into trouble is kind of my thing, but one night, I take revenge too far. I’m sentenced to a reform school for magical delinquents... though really, it’s a prison.

As the only supernatural who can control both fire and water, I’m already a target. To make matters worse, I literally share a soul with Charlie, a sexy inmate from the wrong side of the tracks. Surviving at the Institute is almost as risky as falling in love.

But there’s a way out. The Warden is offering a pardon for the team who wins the Darke Games— a sick, twisted competition where more prisoners come out dead than alive.

They think I'm the bad guy. I'm about to show them just how much of a villain I can be.

Charlie

I shouldn’t be at the Institute. I’m in here because of her— the girl who claims to own half my soul.

After losing my sight, I grew up as an orphan, banished from magical society. I learned enough on the streets to survive the gangs and fight clubs inside the prison. But nothing could prepare me for the Darke Games.

Ava-Marie is my worst enemy, but if we’re going to break out of here, we’ll have to get along. Yet the more I let Ava in, the more I want her. I can’t let my desire for her get in the way of my one chance at escape.

Except it already has. There’s a dark power inside of Ava that terrifies me...

And none of us will be prepared when it unleashes.

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because of the blurb and cover calling out to me. I loved the idea of characters with disabilities and was drawn into the story quickly. I didn’t like Ava to begin with, but once I started to get to know her, I couldn’t help rooting for her, and for Charlie. The story was engaging, and well plotted out, the world building excellent and the research on point. I adored the twists and turns, the way it led you one way only for things to go another. I am hooked on these characters and that ending had me desperate for more. It’s a series that I will definitely continue, overall 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, 16 March 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

Lock knows someone is missing, but she can't work out what happened to them...

BUY HERE: http://www.books2read.com/LOUT

[ID: A sea-green background with the title of LIGHTS OUT, underneath are the words: out now in paperback & ebook. In the top left corner is an award seal for New Apple. The teaser texts 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.

 Below is Joey Paul, and the website www.joeypaulonline.com and to the bottom right is the logo for Bug Books END ID]

 

 

Monday, 15 March 2021

My Ideal Writing Day Revisited - The Creative Process

 

 MY IDEAL WRITING DAY REVISITED

Last week I talked to you about writing routines and how mine has changed, (found here) and I've also talked in the past about my ideal writing day (found here) and so I thought that I would continue along that vein and give you some idea of what I would consider an ideal writing day now that I've switched things around writing routine wise.

Little background for those who don't know, I'm 39, disabled with several chronic conditions that inhibit my life, and ability to work a conventional job. I don't have any outside issues that impact my day beyond health stuff but that seems neither here nor there when discussing an ideal day because on that, I wouldn't be having bad pain and the like.

THE START: 5AM

I know that this sounds like way too early for a lot of people, and it used to be the case for me as well. I was solidly an afternoon writer, and from time to time, a middle of the night writer. About two years ago, I started having problems sleeping through the night and would wake up at odd times of the day no matter how much, or how little, I'd slept. It's now gotten to the point where I know it's not going to get better and I've adjusted.

So my ideal day would start at 5am, so that I can spend a little time watching youtube and going about my morning stuff before I jump into work. Since this is about a writing day, I'll focus on the writing and not the background stuff that happens alongside, like edits, revisions and the like.

WRITING TIME: 6AM-8AM
It doesn't take me long to get my chapter written, but I like to be somewhat flexible in where I spend that time. Sometimes the whole block is spent writing, sometimes it's spent looking things up, or editing the previous chapter and the like. I don't want to be spending hours and hours doing it, because while on an ideal day I wouldn't be in too much pain, my chronic illnesses can't be wished away and so they will always play a part.

I say chapter because usually, that's what I'm aiming for when writing. I want to write a whole chapter before I call myself done for the day and I don't generally have problems doing that. I have, in the past, done two chapters but I find that by the end of that writing session I'm a little worse for wear and I don't want to be pushing myself into a flare, so I limit myself to one, and on the odd rare occasion I will push for two.

ADMIN TIME 8AM-11AM

This is usually when I take care of things like the Instagram photo or the like, I'll tweet things, I'll post blog posts or what have you and generally spend the time making sure everything is ticking over as it should. This can take me anywhere for a few minutes to a few hours and it's just that end of day stuff that I like to do to make sure I stay caught up and on track with everything.

END OF DAY 11AM-4PM

I know what you're thinking, that I only work for a few hours in the day, and the truth is, even on an ideal writing day, that's all I'm capable of doing. Once I've done all of the above, I am ready for a world class nap, and/or reading in bed while chatting with a friend. I go to bed early because of my whacked up sleep schedule and while I can try to, sometimes, push myself past that, my body will still wake me around 4am to say it's done with this sleep thing!

So there we have it, a more up to date version of my ideal writing day. What do you see as an ideal day for writing? 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, 12 March 2021

Review of Imitating A Fae Queen by Joanna Reeder

 

They say I look just like her.

They say I could save the realm if I pretend to be her.

But I’m just a human girl and refuse to leave my life to save their precious Raven Court. 


My boyfriend, Sterling, might be a fae, but I want nothing to do with Faerie. Luckily, he promised never to take me. But when his painfully gorgeous brother, Tien, shows up and says I look identical to their missing High Queen, I’m asked to go with him to prevent Faerie from sinking into chaos.

When I refuse, I’m kidnapped.

As I’m forced through the portal to Faerie by the brooding Tien, he promises my captivity is only temporary. If I can convince the Raven Court their beloved queen is alive and well, he’ll take me back home. But while I’m pretending to be her, dark secrets surface. I try not to care, but realize I might have the power to change an injustice that suddenly means so much to me... even as a fake queen.

Faerie is magical and cruel, full of wonder and madness. But it isn’t my home. And yet, it feels so familiar… 

Torn between two different worlds, I’m forced to consider: where do I truly belong?

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up having read from this author before, and was delighted to jump into it the day it was released. A girl with no memories, a missing fae queen and a chance to right wrongs before anyone notices. I loved the world building, the story, the characters, and while I was able to guess some of the twists and turns, they still surprised me when they happened. I adored the plot, and the ending left me wanting more. Overall an enjoyable read and a series that I will be following. 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, 9 March 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

Lana is trying to save her skin, and complete her mission, no matter the cost...

COVER REVEAL COMING MARCH 18TH 2021

 [ID: A dark forest background with the title LIGHTS OFF at the top and COMING JUNE 2021 just below it. The except reads:

If she didn't get an answer soon, she may not be sent for a final sleep, but Maggie would be passing it up the chain of command all the ways Lana had failed in her missions.
She couldn’t let Lock’s betrayal be the thing that defined her. She wouldn’t let it.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday, 8 March 2021

How My Writing Routine Changes - The Creative Process

 
HOW MY WRITING ROUTINE CHANGES

I wanted to talk about this today because I've noticed that there is a lot of talk about writing routines, but not that much about how it can and will change as you move through your writing career. While there will be some staples that go from change to change, there will always be some parts of it that switch around as you settle into whatever stage of the process you're at.

Rather than give vague ideas about how it can change, I thought that I would give you some idea how mine has changed over the years. Some quick background first, I started writing seriously when I was 19, I'm now 39, so you can do the maths there. I had been retired from the working world because of my health, and since then my health has been on a steady decline to where I'm at now. I don't work another job, and I don't think I'd be able to if the need arose, but that's just to give you some idea of the flexibility I have when it comes to my writing, and also the fact that bar a few other things, I don't really have much weighing me down for time.

So let's start at the beginning.

AGES 19-21
Even though I was writing seriously, I was planning to go the traditional route simply because the internet wasn't as big as it is now, there was no social media, there was no self-publishing beyond going through a vanity press or the like. So to my mind, I only had one choice and that was to write, revise and submit to an agent, and even then it wasn't set up the way it is now.

So as far as my writing routine went it was pretty simple. I would get up at whatever time I woke, since I was in the beginning of my life as a disabled person unable to work, I didn't have a routine of any kind really, and I could stay up late and sleep in. There was not much pressing on my time. I would get up, write a chapter by hand, and then spend the remainder of the day typing it up.

Sometimes I'd write several days in a row, but usually it was an as and when the mood hit, and my health allowed. These were the days when I wasn't really sure how to go about getting the agent, and the publishing contract and all of that. I didn't feel the need to write every day because I wasn't always well enough and I would go through massive chunks of time when I didn't write at all.

AGES 21-30

My début was published in 2005, and I was over the moon, but several things happened during this time that had an effect on my writing routine. My godchild was born, B, my best friend, carer, and said child's mother, was living with me in a one-bedroom flat because my care needs had massively increased, and I went back to uni to get my degree. We also moved into the house we live in now, and that's really when I started to get organised and set up a routine on its own.

It's hard looking back to see how much time I didn't spend writing, or working on my craft. I had beta readers, I did edits and revisions, but I didn't really move forward, and because of that my routine was simple. I would write in stages. Some days it'd been every day, other days it would be when I could squeeze time in. And while doing the majority of my degree, I didn't have the energy to also do writing and so it kinda got tossed to the wayside.

For a while, I would go to a friend's flat and do all my week's writing crammed into one day, we're talking the 10K words and then I would take the rest of the week off. This was simply because two adults and a toddler in a tiny flat was no conducive to a good writing session. It was a case of grabbing my laptop and doing what I needed elsewhere.

It was also during this time that KDP became a thing and I could self-publish seriously. That was the big changer for me. I went from never knowing if my books would be out in the wild to being able to set up publishing plans and actually make something from this. I threw myself into writing and setting a routine, but life kept getting in the way.

AGES 31-36

I was publishing at least one book a year, and I was writing in a lot more of a routine. I went from writing sporadically to having an organised plan for every month. It was during this time that I was able to really start to plan my career and everything that went with it. I had an editing team, deadlines, covers and all of that, and I had paperbacks, something I didn't think would be possible for me.

My writing routine was a lot more rigid at this point. I would write in the afternoon, having spent the morning chatting with a friend, and would then flip between more conversation and writing my chapter. It was also around this time that I started to track how much I wrote and when, and looking back now, I can see that it took me a good year or two to really get into the groove.

Health wise, I was starting to need the oxygen full time, I was starting to be more housebound than before and was a full-time wheelchair user. This was really when things like writing in bed on my tablet became a big part of my routine. If I couldn't sit for long enough, then setting up in bed was an option. I didn't yet use a planner but I did use Sticky Notes to plan my time, and because of that while my routine was strict, I always left room for places to catch up and the like.

AGES 37-39
This brings us up to present day. I write now first thing in the morning, I wake up without an alarm around 4/5am and will then go through my morning stuff, whether that's a chapter to write, edits and revisions to do, or a video to record and the like. I didn't plan to go back to being an early riser (I always was as a child) but that seems to have been how it's worked out for now. My writing routine is usually at my desk, but from time to time I will write in bed.

I've also gone, over the years, from hand writing, to typing on my computer/laptop, to now typing mostly on my tablet. I like the ease of movement and I like that it's easier for me to switch between keyboards and the like.

So there we have it, over twenty odd years, my writing routine has changed so much, and yours will too. It might be that you find yourself preferring coffee shops, and even in these trying times, you feel like you can't write as well at home or the like. But I guarantee that as things in your life change, so will your routine. I used mine as an example because a lot of people say they admire my work ethic and the way I'm so organised, and I just wanted to give you a look at how that came about.

It's taken me twenty years to get to this point, and I'm sure in another twenty, life will be even more different when it comes to my writing process.

Any questions? 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, 5 March 2021

Review of Cursed: The Girl Who Shook The Earth by EC Farrell

 

I’m just another girl who survived foster care. Nothing special. Oh yeah, except for my earth shaking magic…


But I’ve kept it under wraps, working in a restaurant, minding my own business. Until a frightened boy runs into the dinner shift followed by three fanged psychos.

Imagine my surprise when I find out I’m not the only one working in the restaurant with magic. Together, we manage to help the kid, who turns out to be a very rare, pureblood vampire.

Which would be cool if his father, Masera, wasn’t a power-hungry megalomaniac.
Now my magic is spinning out of control, and I’m wanted by both Masera and the paranormal government.

With the help of Ash, my vampire coworker who is too pretty for his own good, I’m trying to get control of my magic. I would much rather be cuddling up in a coffin with him, but I doubt I’ll get the chance.

Because if Masera gets to me before I’m ready, I can kiss my not-so-normal life goodbye…

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because of the cover and the blurb, I was hooked from the first page, Case is a girl trying to get her life together and she also has this power that she’s never really had explained. The story was engaging, and had me desperate for more. I wanted to see Case the others managed to save Jeremy and Max, and I was there for the night. The world building was excellent and the plot was fast-paced to the point where you couldn’t guess what was going to happen next. I would love to see a second book in this series, and find out more about the character and the world. Overall, 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, 2 March 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

Hayley escaped, but she has a mission she's going to complete no matter the cost...

BUY HERE: http://www.books2read.com/LON

[ID: A smokey background with LIGHTS ON are the top and underneath is: out now in ebook and paperback. The teaser reads:

For the past seven days, since her escape from the base on Raildown, Hayley Lightson had been on a mission. She’d always had a plan to escape, ready for the day they came for her. Her contacts had gotten her as far as the border to Evendown, and it seemed that her ruse had worked.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and the website www.joeypaulonline.com and in the bottom right corner is the Bug Books logo. END ID]

 

Monday, 1 March 2021

Authortube: Five Years On

AUTHORTUBE: FIVE YEARS ON

I started on youtube in January of 2016. I spent a year making videos that I have since removed from the platform because they are so freaking terrible and cringe worthy! I started out making a lot of mistakes, something I've talked about before (piece found here) and in the past two years or so, I've only just started to see real channel growth. I don't know whether in five years time I will be a much bigger channel or not because to be honest, I'm kinda happy in my little niche of the community.

But things have changed. I've gone from four videos a month to at least one a week, I've upgraded my camera, my mic, have plans to do vlogs on the channel every month as an added bonus and have made friends and found many other channels that I will always watch. I have made some more mistakes, and have also been part of some amazing collabs that have helped boost me and my channel, and it's weird to think that's it's only been five years because it feels like so much longer.

When I started on Authortube, I thought I was a booktube channel because I didn't know Authortube existed. It took me about a year or so to work out what I was, and then I started to do things a bit differently. I have released about eight books, maybe ten, in my time on Authortube, and I couldn't be happier about reaching new readers, finding other writers and authors, some of whom have become close friends. I couldn't be happier to be part of that community, but for those of you who are wondering about joining, or wondering what I would change if I could go back five years, here's the bits and pieces for you.

WHAT I WOULD CHANGE

#1 THUMBNAILS

These were my biggest mistake, and because, for some reason, I didn't know the actual sizes that were needed, they didn't always fit the video. They were amateur and not at all pleasing to the eye. They made it clear that I didn't know what I was doing, and I'm so glad I learned this lesson pretty early on.

#2 MIC/SOUND
I didn't know for a long time that with my oxygen machine in the background, the webcam mic I was using wasn't great. It took someone else pointing it out for me to pull my old professional mic out of storage and set it up on my desk for ease of use. This made a huge change to the quality of my videos, and I also made sure that the background music was down very low so as not to interfere with the volume of the video.

#3 SCRIPTING
When I first started, I didn't script my videos, and it really showed. I started doing scripts about six months in, and why those first videos were still a little stiff, I have gotten better at ready from the script and still doing a good video.

#4 EDITING

I didn't have the first clue about editing. I used the default Windows one and it sucked at getting what I wanted. It wasn't until I upgraded that I got better at that, and even then for a while it still wasn't great. I wish I could've done more research for editing programs and how to use them. While I know what I'm doing now, I didn't back then.

#5 LIGHTING

I didn't always make sure that I had good lighting, and I didn't always have a set schedule as to when to record. Because of that it was sometimes a quick thing, that then got edited badly and thrown up on youtube. I did better with this when I bought a special bulb for my office and started to record first thing in the morning to allow for less sunlight in my office.

So those are the things I wish I could change. There are others, like I wish I'd done better at looking better on camera, but that's more a personal thing than anything else. If you're looking to start on youtube, and you wanna know what not to do, these should also give you some idea of how to avoid making the same mistakes I made back in 2016.

Good luck!

Any questions? 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, 26 February 2021

Review of The Tracker's Mate by Ingrid Seymour

 

I’m a kick-butt tracker. The best in the business.

Dead or alive, I find them. No one can hide from me, including people’s predestined mates. I can hook couples up better than Tinder. It’s my specialty.

A year ago, I opened my own agency, and now that I’m finally looking out for number one, my bank account has regained its lost confidence.

So when Jake Knight suddenly returns, determined to drag me back into the dangerous life I used to lead—the same one where ramen was a staple and I became homeless—I put my brand new Louis Vuitton boot down.

He can take his hot, werewolf self back to whatever hole he crawled from.

Sure, it sucks there’s a supernatural war brewing, and the werewolf I used to date has gone missing, but Jake won’t drag me back into that life. No way. He can fight crime all on his lonesome. I’m done with it.

Or at least that’s my goal until the attempts on my life begin, and I barely escape. Now, I have an ancient vampire on my tail, and a hot werewolf reawakening our troubled past, and I must fight not to lose myself again.

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because of the cover and blurb, I’ve never really been one for werewolves and vampires, but having dipped into the paranormal genre recently, I’ve found my tastes have changed. Toni is a breed of paranormal I’ve not read about before and I was hooked from the first chapter, the idea that she could track down a mate for someone, as well as find people who were lost intrigued me. The story was beautifully crafted, the world building perfect, and I was along for the ride. I ended up reading this super fast and adored the whole thing, and now I’m desperate for the second book. Definitely a series that I want to continue!

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, 23 February 2021

#TeaserTuesday

 

Lock doesn't like having to lie to her boss, and she can't understand why Lana does what she does...

BUY HERE: http://www.books2read.com/LOUT

[ID: A sea-green background with the title of LIGHTS OUT, underneath are the words: out now in paperback & ebook. In the top left corner is an award seal for New Apple. The teaser texts reads:

“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!”

 Below is Joey Paul, and the website www.joeypaulonline.com and to the bottom right is the logo for Bug Books END ID]

 

Monday, 22 February 2021

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Learning To Say No

THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: LEARNING TO SAY NO

One big thing I learned last year was about saying no to things even when I thought that they might be good for me as an indie author. I've been doing this for a good fifteen years now, and while I'm not a big fish in the indie world, I have learned a few things here and there. I haven't always felt like I could say no, not when it was a massive opportunity and it might end up helping me along the way. Yet, before last year, I would find myself saying yes to things I didn't want to do, and also knew wouldn't help me in any way.

So what changed? I could say it's the confidence in me, I'm going through therapy and maybe being able to talk things out in that setting helped. I could also say it was a general lack of energy during 2020, making it hard for me to do a whole lot of things. It was the same for a lot of people with the pandemic and other issues eating into leisure time and relaxation time. It was possible a mix of all of these, but I wanted to talk about how freeing it was.

Before I jumped into that, lemme just sat that I'm not really a confident person, I am very much a people pleaser, I'll do whatever I have to, to make sure that as many people as possible are happy with the outcome. I've not always been like this, but things in life have shaped me to become the person I am now. So with that in mind, let's jump into the why, the how, and the way that you can learn to do the same.

WHY TO SAY NO
There are so many reasons for this. Sometimes, like I said above, you realise that there's nothing in this for you. In this case I'm talking about things that aren't coming from friends, but relative strangers or acquaintances in the writing world. There would be people asking for me to review their book, or for me to sign up to this course and help them with this. And the majority of the time, even though I knew I wouldn't necessarily enjoy the book, or have the energy to help with the course, I would do it, because I didn't want to let them down.

The outcome was always the same, I was drained, had spent precious energy on things that I had no wish to be a part of, and then with the pandemic bringing everything to a standstill, I started to realise that I had nothing left to give. So when someone asked something of me that I knew I wouldn't enjoy, or want to do, I said no, and I got so freaking anxious about it. They were completely fine with it. They didn't hound me or anything, I'd just never had the confidence to say no before.

And it was so freeing! I could suddenly work out what I did and didn't want to do. I no longer felt pressure from myself to respond to every request with a yes. Whether this was people approaching me as a reviewer wanting to read one of my books, or as an author wanting me to be part of something they were doing. It freed up my time so that I could spend more of it on doing things I actually wanted to be a part of.

HOW TO SAY NO
I don't need to tell you all to be polite about it, I know that you're probably not someone who would be nasty, but it's really simple to do and I'm kinda frustrated at myself for taking this long to get to the point where I realised that my time was my own, and I could control, and have some say, in how I spent that time.

For me it was about weighing things up, was I going to have fun? Was I going to enjoy the process? Or was it going to be stressful and fraught with tension at a time when I didn't need any more stress on my plate. If the answers were right, then I would continue to do them, but otherwise, I found it easier to be able to just say, hey I can't do this right now, good luck with your project.

The big thing I found was that a lot of other writers have the same anxieties that I have, they want to make sure that people are happy and supported, they want to make sure that they're helping when they can. I know there are always bad apples in any community, and there are here too, but knowing that I could be honest about my time and energy really helped me see the way forward.

So there you go, if you ever have trouble saying no to something you really don't want to do, then think about the why, the reasoning behind it, and see about trying to say no to it. You might find it really works for you.

Any questions? Lemme know 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, 19 February 2021

Review Of The Wolf Gate by Hanna Sandvig

 My...what big teeth you have…

Have you ever wondered if something was up with your boyfriend? Distant. Moody. Never texts you back. Turns into a wolf at nightfall?

No, just me?

When a wolf chased me through a faerie portal in the forest, the last person I expected to see on the other side was my ex-boyfriend Gavin. Turns out, he’s a fae, and everything I thought I knew about him was a lie. Now we’re on the run from his Alpha, the minion of the Unseelie Queen, through the mountains and forests of Faerie.

But our deadly pursuers may be the least of my worries.

Because the longer I stay in Faerie with Gavin, the harder it is to remember why I’m so mad. I can feel my defenses crumbling, but how can I give him another chance when he’s proven he can break my heart? Am I strong enough to discover if this is true love? And will I survive long enough to find out?

Amazon  

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the story sounded extremely intriguing and I do love a good retelling. The book had me hooked from the first few pages and after that I was down for the ride. I devoured it in one sitting, carried along with Aubrey and her wolf, exploring the new worlds and finding out if the answers were all she dreamed they would be. I adored the world building, the way the scene was set that made you feel like you were right there along with them. Overall, a highly entertaining read and a series that I will read more of. Very much 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.