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.


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



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


[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 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


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.

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.

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?


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.

Tuesday 16 February 2021



Everything is changing for Lock and the others, and that doesn't make it a bad thing...


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

It was weird how quickly everything changed. One minute we were all celebrating and the next we were back to work. I barely had a chance to catch my breath before we were back in the trenches and fighting the next battle.

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

Monday 15 February 2021

Spoonie Writer: When You Have To Stop


I've talked a lot recently about self-care, especially during the holiday period. I wanted to focus today on being both a spoonie and a writer and knowing that sometimes you can't always keep pushing through. I've been going through the developmental edits process since November, I had surgery in December to remove some tumours from my hand, and I've also hit a new depressive episode from the end of the year to now. I couldn't stop editing, because I had a deadline, but I did find myself getting into a point where I felt that surge of apathy about everything. Writing, editing, revisions, you name it, I was completely the poster child for apathy.

And that's when I realised just how close I was to burnout. I've talked about that before (piece found here) and will probably talk about it again, because it's something that pretty much every creative skirts around. The idea that we have to keep pushing ourselves through the hard times because gotta have that hustle, right? I've talked recently about writing every day (piece found here) and why I don't think it's healthy for anyone, but especially not for those of us in the writing community who also fall under the spoonie umbrella.

So what can you do when you know you need a break, but deadlines and the like just aren't helping. As you all know I'm indie, so I technically can set my own deadlines, but with other issues, like booking promo and such for cover reveals and book releases and the like, I don't always have the chance to change those deadlines, or risk losing money and other things. I've been trying my hardest to both keep up with edits but also manage to follow my schedule and while I am a huge advocate in taking a break, or multiple breaks throughout your working time, I find it hard to always implement that for myself.

So here are my tips for when you're a spoonie, you have a deadline, and you're reaching the edge of your ability to keep working.


This can be your editor, your readers, your friends and family, even yourself. I have been able to communicate that I'm struggling, and everyone has been pretty great at making sure they can help me both meet my deadline, but also give me breaks to get some rest and downtime that is sorely needed. If you're not honest with them about the fact that you're struggling, they're not going to be able to read your mind. They won't know unless you tell them, and while I completely get that not everyone has supportive people around them, it doesn't have to be everyone, it can even be a friend online. Just so long as you're able to find someone you trust, and can safely explain everything to.

I don't know about you, but I'm my own worst enemy. I push myself to breaking point because I don't want to admit that I need help. I struggle with opening up to people, especially when it's something that stresses me out. Having a deadline makes that harder, but I am slowly learning that it's okay to ask for help. I don't need to be berating myself for not being able to finish that chapter, or do that video or any of that. I need to be gentle with myself because I need to take care of me. Some people might think that sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but at the same time, you are the only one who knows what you need, and if you're able to do it, you shouldn't stand in your own way.

I know that there are sometimes outside things that mean you can't take a long break. Sometimes you have a couple of days to recover and then it's back into the thick of things. I get that on a deep level, but if you can take longer, don't rush back. Let yourself heal, let yourself have the time to refill your well and also rest and recuperate from whatever flare and such you're dealing with. You will thank yourself in the future.

So there we go, my three tips when it comes to having to stop. These apply whether you're a spoonie or not, but I do know that spoonies often find it harder to take that break because we're constantly expected to keep going no matter what. If you need permission to take some time for yourself, considering this that permission. Stay safe, stay well, and take care.

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 12 February 2021

Review of Elemental Outcast by Sean Fletcher


In this paranormal world, her death is just the beginning…

All I wanted for my seventeenth birthday was a fun night out. But when a knife-wielding psycho attacks my best friend, of course I try to stop him. 

Take it from me, a knife through the heart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Apparently, neither is death.

Instead of pearly gates, I wake up alive and ensnared in a witch’s curse with twelve paranormals known as the Outcasts—including the inhumanly beautiful, totally-hates-my-guts vampire Jasper. Supposedly, an ancient prophecy says the thirteenth Outcast will be the one to break our curse. 

That means me. Lucky number thirteen.

Between attempting to control my unstable new magic, figuring out what the deal is with broody Jasper, and learning more about the Outcast’s prophecy, it becomes clear that I’m a target. A dangerous paranormal knows about my connection to the prophecy and wants me dead. Only this time, dead means dead

There’s only one thing to do: I’ve got a destiny to fulfill. 


My Review: 5 STARS

Having read books by this author before, I picked this one up because of the cover and blurb, diving right in and knowing I was in for a hell of a ride. It was engaging front he first page, and had me hooked by the second chapter. The plot was well thought out, the world building beautifully done, and the story woven through the words. I was cheering Reily on, and hoping that she and the other outcasts would be able to win, and I was on the edge of my seat during the climax. That ending almost killed me, I’m desperate for the second book to come out now!

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 February 2021



Lock and Clara are making their first steps in a long journey that might change everything...


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

Whether that be justice for those who’d died, or a war to end the inequality that our country had become ingrained with again. I had to believe that this, this risk, this journey, was going to lead us to somewhere better. If I didn’t, I’d lose control before we even took another step.
Whatever the outcome, we were on our way.

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

Monday 8 February 2021

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Subverting Tropes



This is a topic that has probably been covered by a lot of writers, crime and mystery alike. There are always certain tropes that get associated with a genre. Whether they're good or bad ones is up to the individual reader, but I do feel like there are some that are overused. There comes a time when a trope becomes a cliché, and I think that a lot of the time, it's because people don't know that you can still had a loveable trope in your book, but that you need to put a different spin on it, or subvert it in some way.

Since I've got thoughts and feelings on some tropes in this genre, I thought I would give you some tips about how to subvert a trope and what the good thing about doing this is. You'll all have seen that I did a video on my Authortube channel about the top five tropes I hate in crime and mystery (found here) and so I thought that taking from that, I would pick a couple of my least favs and show you how they can be subverted and how it helps your fiction to do this.

So starting with one that's pretty easy to do.


This trope is basically just as it sounds, the detective is a loner, is someone that can never form a good personal relationship with anyone else on the squad or team because they are hiding some deep dark secret, or they're just too bitter to be able to be nice to other people. There's also the ones that show just how broken the detective is, and it kinda sends the message that if you have things in your past that are less than savoury, you're not worth the chance of an actual real relationship. So you can see how it can be harmful.


You basically have to take that trope and turn it on its head. You can leave the trauma in the background, or you can keep the deep dark secret, but you can show that while the detective finds it hard to be around others, there are some that they will allow to be close to them. Or you can show them going through the process of something like therapy, where they have to work through whatever issues they might have and are able to start that slow process of finding out how to connect with other people, especially those they work with on a day to day basis.

This is an offshoot of the above trope. The detective is so lone wolf that they never work with anyone else. Only they have the prowess to solve all the crimes. They're so good at it, but they do it all alone, with no backup, no trust and no ability to empathise with other people. It can be great to have a main POV in your books, and it's great if they're part of the team that helps solve the crime. But the key point here is, if they're a high up detective and they have a team beneath them, or they have a partner, they can't just be the only one with the special ability to always solve the crime, and do it alone and with no help. It just doesn't work like that.


You can have the character start out as a lone wolf, you can have them going out on their own to find answers, and then have them get to a point where they have to ask for help. It may not come easily to them, but it will show some humanity in them. Whether that's a tentative trust, or whether it comes about by the lone wolf starting to accept that they don't have to be the only one to solve every single crime. You can even have them make a mistake and that can be a wake up call. That they need to have the people around them, otherwise they're going to end up getting hurt, or worse, missing something important and have someone else killed.

These are just two tropes, there are so many more in crime and mystery that I could talk about, but I think you get the point I'm trying to make here. There's always going to be books that follow the same tried and true tropes, that's never going to change, but as a writer, putting your own spin on things can make you stand out from the crowd in a good way. Try it with a trope you love, or even one you hate, see what ideas you can come up with to try and subvert that trope and make it your own.

As always, 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 5 February 2021

Guest Blogger - Beta Reading - Lucia Brucoli



The Beta Reading Process

Up until the beta reading stage, all writing is private. And, after the heartache and exhaustion of drafting and revising, we’d like nothing more than to be finally published. But none of the steps in either traditional or self publishing can be done yet: we must first go through the beta reading process.

After a while of re-reading your book, you know the story so well that you can no longer look at it objectively. A beta reader is someone you ask to read your book to give feedback from a potential reader’s perspective. They offer a fresh point of view, and give you a rough idea of whether or not your book is even ready to be published. Additionally, sharing ideas with them will build meaningful relationships, and so you’ll have additional support, maybe so much that they might become part of your launch team. But even before all this, stories need quantitative and qualitative feedback, and beta readers can give both. This stage cannot be skipped.

My novel was a YA science fiction dystopian novel set in a futuristic England. So, right from the get-go I knew I needed certain perspectives: people who live/d in England; physics and chemistry experts to double-check technology; SFF readers; and teenagers. I also wanted to ask people who had supported me during the whole process, including teachers and relatives, to read, so I added them in my list of betas as well. Without knowing it I had just chosen a wide range of people, and based on their later feedback I pinpointed my target readers.

But before sending the email to ask if they could be my beta readers, I had to be clear on how it was going to work, so to both be sure they gave me the feedback on what I wanted them to, and to respect their time. Something I did was deciding to send them everything during summer vacation since most of them were teachers and students who had a few months of break. Then came the decision on what medium to use: I settled on surveymonkey, where I could send our questionnaires that I would link to at the end of each chapter.

I began making identical surveys for each chapter, all cluttered with questions. However, it’s better to keep them short and focus questions on potential negatives: readers aren’t here to compliment you. My questions at the end of each chapter were:

  • Was there anything confusing? If so, what?

  • Was there anything boring? If so, what?

  • Was there anything else you disliked?

In addition to these, every five chapters I asked if they were invested in the story so far. On the end-of-book questionnaire, I went a bit more in-depth:

  • What do you think of the title? Do you have any other suggestions?

  • What did you think of the characters?

  • What did you think of the plot? Is there anything you still don’t understand?

  • On a scale from one to five, how would you rate this manuscript?

  • Any additional feedback?

When I sent out the emails, I made it a point to specify to keep an eye out for characters and plot.

Once I sent out the emails, most people I asked agreed to read. And so, came the gruelling process of sending out my manuscript, leaving it with them for two months, and then receiving feedback.

The first big mistake I made was I didn’t suggest the survey to everyone. I was hesitant to be assertive in how I wanted feedback, and so I told them they could respond on surveymonkey, write directly on the word documents, or message me privately. Though I had good intentions with this, the result wasn’t so great. As well as the obvious multi-platform disorganization, some people even responded on two or more platforms, confounding results as it seemed there was more unity in feedback than what actually was. Many people also gave their feedback in late, which contributed to the general chaos that was trying to understand the feedback. I greatly recommend anyone in this stage to only have one place for the feedback, and to enforce a specific deadline. It’s good to be flexible and understanding, but so is not having additional stress that could’ve been prevented.

Now, a bit of tough love: nobody will care about your book as much as you do, so you have to grow some thick skin and accept that there will be criticism. People are usually reading because they care about you, not necessarily your story. This was proven for me when out of the people who agreed to read, I only received responses from half of them. But that was enough.

Responses ranged from people who asked insightful and provocative questions about my plot, to one person only saying “this is boring”. But everything helps, and even though it was frustrating to go through vague responses, I tried to remember that people who were beta reading for me were doing a huge favor. It took a bit, but I finally ‘gave up’ and made it a point to be more flexible with time and being okay if things didn’t always go along my schedule. However, there were good reasons: I had to change the entire science section of the book to be based off physics instead of chemistry; plot holes surfaced; there were some character traits I cleared up. And none of it would’ve been possible without these dedicated people. I owe them everything.

All this was an arduous process, and it made me realize just how bad I am in receiving criticism: I still am. But, after a lot of research and a conversation with my mom, I like to think I improved. I’ll more fully describe how to deal with criticism in another article, so make sure to check our my website,, if you’re interested in that! In a nutshell, my main issues were taking everything too personally, and letting my pride get in way. I dealt with the former by recognizing that when people criticized the story, they weren’t criticizing me as a person. Of course I am fully responsible for everything I say in the story, but we are still separate entities. This helped resolving the latter, when I realized that it wasn’t a competition, and people wouldn’t think less of me if I corrected my mistakes.

No matter which process you use, always remember that you will make mistakes: it’s a natural part of writing and life, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just remember that after the heartache and all the hours of work you put in, it’ll be worth it because you’re doing what you love.

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 February 2021



Lock lives in a world where aging stops at 25, and all life ends at 60, and she checks everyone in to their final sleep.


[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:

“We’ve got Jonathon Baker, but he’s also got his granddaughter with him, don’t know how old she is, too little for this that’s for sure. I promised him a quiet corner. You think you can manage that?” I asked her. 

“Sure thing, Lock, I’ll take good care of him,” she replied as she walked beside me.
I wheeled back over to the desk and introduced them. “This is going to be your nurse for the event, Clara, she’s a good one and she’ll make sure all your needs are met. May your sleep be ever peaceful,” I said to Jonathon as Clara caught the eye of Sadie.

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

Monday 1 February 2021

Knowing When Revisions Are Done - The After Process


Since I talked a little bit about revisions last week (piece found here) I thought I would touch on a question I've been asked before, and have asked myself as well. How do you know when revisions are done? I mean there's no special number that will tell you when you're finished. You don't have to reach a certain number of drafts and then be awarded the 'I'm done' sticker. It's not a simple answer and it's something that I know has plagued a lot of writers.

I can't tell you how many drafts it'll take to get your book up to shape, but I can tell you things to look out for, hints that maybe you have done enough of the revisions that it's now time to move onto the next stage, which can be betas, or querying, or a mix of the two, or if you're indie like me, then betas and moving onto the professional edit. So what are those hints? Glad you asked.

When I say 'no' I don't mean that it's perfect because that's never going to happen no matter how much you, and other people, work on your story. There's no such thing as a perfect book, so drop that idea now, it will help you in the future. I do mean that when you've gone through it, however many times that has been, you're not seeing glaring errors, or plot issues that derail the story. You're not thinking to yourself that you still have to fix this big plot hole, because hopefully, the majority of them are dealt with. I say majority only because betas and such will probably find more, and that's completely normal.


Again, it's not gonna be perfect, but if you're starting to read through it again and again, and can only find the small grammar and spelling issues, then you might be at the point where it's time to get someone else, whether that's betas or a critique partner, to have a read through it to point out anything that you've missed because you're too close to the story as a whole. There will always be things that you miss, and that's down to you being the one who wrote the story and have it on repeat in your head.

I don't mean that you feel like you could upload it to Amazon and sell it, but that you feel okay with sharing the manuscript with other people and seeing that they think. It might be that you, personally, don't ever get to this stage. I still get nervous when I send things out to betas and my editor. I've been doing this for a number of years and while I know that it will never be perfect, I get anxious doing it. If that sounds like you, take this hint with a grain of salt.


This kinda ties in with the second one, but if you've been revising and rewriting to the point where you can't see where to go next, it might be time to bring in betas and CPs and see what they have to say. I don't meant that this means you're done and it's never gonna be changed, but that again, you are too close to the book and can't see how to make changes that might be glaring to other readers.

This isn't always a bad thing, sometime the story you started with isn't enough to carry the work all the way through to publication, that happens to us all. But if you get to the point where you don't see how you can keep the story as you wrote it and still keep making changes, then it might be time to get that second set of eyes, those other people who can maybe give you a nudge in the right direction.

As I said, it's not easy to know when revisions are done. You work on it for as long as it takes, and giving you a magic number of drafts, or time, isn't going to help anyone because every writer is different and every story is different. Like, it took me several drafts to get one project ready for betas and edits, and it's taken me a handful for another project. It varies wildly because at the end of it all, it depends on the story, on what you're trying to do, and how you wrote it at the time.

I'm in the midst of revisions right now, which it seems to be a permanent state of things, I am usually always in the midst of revisions, and I am thinking, at the time of writing this, that I'm so close to getting betas, but then I just want to check it one last time, and it might be that when I do, I realise that I've missed something huge and it needs more work. It's all up in the air.

However long it takes, good luck with your revisions and lemme know if you have any questions 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