Friday 29 April 2022

Review of Illusions In Paint by Ann M Miller

When art and illusion collide, no one is safe.

Eight months ago, Julia Parsons learned to control her strongest emotions—the ones that created doorways into paintings. With her Vista magic now in check, she has stopped looking for the descendant of the witch rumoured to have the power to remove her abilities. But when her magic goes haywire and paintings begin calling to her, she can barely resist opening portals into any works of art she encounters.

Then Julia runs into Luke Mercer, who offers to help her find the descendant, a teen named Marisa. When Julia’s boyfriend Nick joins the search, they locate the girl—in an art gallery, of all places. Before Julia can ask Marisa to remove her magic, the call of so many paintings overwhelms her, and she opens multiple portals at once. Marisa is sucked into one, and Julia and the boys are forced to enter works of art to get her back.

As Julia’s connection to the art intensifies, so does the danger lurking in the deep corners of the paintings they move through. In order to save Marisa and her friends, Julia will have to separate reality from illusion…and fully embrace the magic that runs through her veins, once and for all.


My Review: 5 STARS

I read the first book and had to read the second to know what happens next in the world with Julia, and Nick. I was pulled right into the world and ending up finishing the book in one sitting, just turning the pages and desperate to know more. The story was engaging, the twists and turns tightly woven through the words. I loved the world that Miller has created, the limitations and the expectations promised in the blurb all hit home perfectly. An enjoyable read and an author for me to watch in future. Overall, very much enjoyed and 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 26 April 2022


Jessie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to who will trigger her empath abilities...


[ID: A checkered red background with the title CRAMPING CHRONICLES: THE FIRST TWINGE at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback below the title. The except reads:

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

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite Review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 25 April 2022

Spoonie Writer: Managing Expectations


One of the first things I learned as both a spoonie and a writer was that I had to manage my expectations. Whether that was for other people, or for myself, or for the indie author world as a whole, it was a hard lesson to learn, but it was also a valuable one. Too much of the writing world is geared to those who are fit, well, and able to manage things that spoonies just can't. I know that I'm seen as someone who manages to do it all, while also being chronicallly ill and disabled, and I'm not going to tell you that if I can do x, y, z so can you because your life and limitations are yours. I don't know you and I'm not about to invalidate you because of that.

So why do I think it was a valuable lesson? Simply because while the writing world likes to work with those who are more abled and healthy, there is very much a space for the spoonies, the disabled, those who straddle the line between the two. We are valid and we are here, and we deserve to have time to grow and adapt, and become the writers and authors that we are very much capable of being. We just might need a little help, a little time, and a little understanding to get there.

If you've been coming to my blog for a while, you'll know this story. I was medically retired from the working world at nineteen, and then came back to something I'd loved in secondary school, and that was telling stories. I worked and reworked a project that I knew had so much potential, but it hadn't been told right by thirteen year old me. I kept at it, and even then I was getting hit with all these new ideas and went on to write more books, including the one that ended up being my d├ębut.

I was really struggling with the old condition, being my asthma, and the newer ones, being the M.E. and Fibromyalgia. I didn't have the slightest clue where the writing would take me, but I knew that I wanted to do this with my life. I wasn't ever going to be this overnight success but I was going to give everything I had to it. It would be another four years before my first book was finally released, and even then, many years more until I could release on a more consistent basis.

Too often, when I told people that I was published, it became about how I had done this despite my conditions, how I should be held up as some icon to all those other disabled and chronically ill people of what you could achieve. It left a bad taste in my mouth then, and it still does now. Even though I manage to get a lot done during my working life, it doesn't negate the fact that I am still chronically ill, I am still disabled, and I am still juggling that life with the writing one. I became an author by choice, I didn't want to become something people could hit other disabled spoonies over the head with.

So, when it comes to managing your expectations, I would simply say that, people in the outside world, those who don't know what it's like to live the spoonie life, will be expecting you to act a certain way, or to be less disabled or chronically ill, because you managed to do something that so few people do. Whether that's writing a book, editing, revising, querying and all of that, up to publishing a book, there will always be those who deem that as a sign that you're not one of those disabled, or you're not really that disabled. They don't see the battle, the struggle, the ups and downs of it all, and how hard it was for you. They just look at the end result and see it as something you should be proud of yes, but also invalidated as well.

It really comes to light when after doing this amazing thing, and you flare, or have a bad day, those same people come back and wonder why, because like, aren't you a published author? Doesn't that mean that you no longer have the disability or illness? Yes you pulled off something, in extreme circumstances that some people in those ordinary ones can't manage, but the illness, the disability, it's very much still there, and just remember that's okay. It's always okay, and you don't have to be inspiring at all times.

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 22 April 2022

Review of Dreadknot by SE Anderson

Can anxiety be weaponized? Asking for a friend.

After saving the Alliance’s butt at the ball turned massacre, Sally’s excited to be home and sitting pretty with her presidential pardon. The only rain on her parade? She’s overshot her time by three years, and everyone seems more wired and irritable than she left them – is anxiety suddenly airborne?

When the Alliance begs the Siblings to find the source of this so-called Dread, her worst fears are confirmed: Earth is one of many worlds suffering intense agitation and escalating panic threatening the collapse of society. But the search forces Zander and Blayde to confront their past, uncovering secrets much more dangerous than flamethrower cats and talking sand traps.

Between them and accidentally space-napped James Felling, saving the universe and finding answers shouldn’t be this hard. Someone is clearly pulling the strings, and if Sally can’t find out who, the entire universe could implode. But hey, it’s all in an end-of-days work.


My Review: 5 STARS

I have been reading this series for so long, so when this one popped up as coming out, I had to have it. I adore Anderson’s way of telling a story and love Sally and Zander, Blayne and the crew. This one picks up where the last book left off and I jumped in with both feet, hooked on the story. The plot is threaded through the story, the imagery is perfectly formed and allows you to get lost in the world. The twists and turns kept me guessing and more and more of Zander and Blayde’s backstory got teased out. I adored this book, and that ending has me desperate for more, wanting to know what could possibly happen next. Overall, 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 19 April 2022


Lock is in for a long journey fraught with danger, but she will not give up...


[ID: A smokey background with the title LIGHTS ON at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback below the title. The except 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 just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite Review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 18 April 2022

Approaching Revision - The After Process


I talked last week about dealing with my backlog (piece found here), and so it seemed apt that this week I talk about approaching revision when you're done with a project. Just to be clear on my definitions, for me revising is something the author does on their own, with input from betas and the like, while editing is when there's a professional editor involved. Your definition may vary, and that's okay, but just wanted to be clear for when I'm talking about it now.

When I get to the point of needing to revise a project, I'll usually be preparing it for the professional edit that will come in a few months from when I start. I've managed to get into a good routine of doing what when, but I also like to do some harder revisions earlier than that if I'm able to manage it. Like right now, I'm revising Invisible, which is the first in a young adult dystopian quartet, and I knew going in that I would want extra time to do it because I needed to engage sensitivity readers as well as beta readers. It's all worked out for me fine, but I am thinking ahead already about how to do the same with the second book, which I should start revising next April.

So how do you get ready to approach revision? I know that I did a five facts about my personal revision process a few weeks back (found here), and while I could just direct you there and call it done, I wanted to give a few tips and such that I don't personally use, but I know other writers do, and it works for them.

This really only applies if you, like me, are only working on the project in the lead up to a already determined date. Like a deadline basically. With being indie, it's possible to be more flexible with your deadlines, so long as you've not made it impossible to do so. If you want to have this book with the editor by a certain date, then you need to work out how long that revision is going to take.

Now if this is a project that you've already been working on, that might be less of a problem. However, if this is the first time in a while, or the first time overall, that you've been starting to look back over and make revisions, then it's really important that you know the schedule for yourself. You need to know when you plan to hand it over, and what needs to be done by then.

I'm not someone who plans when it comes to drafting, at least not in the way that a lot of writers who call themselves planners do. However, I do very much plan when it comes to revision. I will do a few readthroughs, pick up on plot points that need to be addressed and while I made small changes on those readthroughs I will mark the spots where the big ones need to happen.

I have, for a long time, only been someone who revises on the screen. I don't print things out and do revision that way, but if you do, and it works for you, then go for it. But however you decide to approach revision, make sure that you know what you're hoping to achieve, what needs to be changed, how it's going to be changed and all of that. It's all well and good thinking you'll remember all that you need to, but it so rarely happens, at least to me, so I make sure to write everything down. It's also a way to help you brainstorm when you get stuck too. Making a plan is a big help!

I know that it's really easy to overload yourself, and to think that you'll be able to do all the revisions in a short space of time. I'm here to tell you that it might not be that quick, or that easy, and that's completely normal when it comes to revision. You might think it's just sitting down, banging out the words and boom done, but you gotta factor in things you didn't spot on the readthrough, or changes that your betas and such are suggesting that have a huge impact on the rest of the plot.

So be reasonable with yourself, make sure that you're making time for what actually needs to be done, and also have a little extra in case of mishaps. If you're like me, you'll plan everything and then get to the point where something has gone wrong and be wondering where to fit in the time. It's why I always have a buffer period between needing to be done by a certain date, and finishing the revisions themselves. It allows me to have some breathing room. Don't deny yourself that.

So there we go, that's all about approaching revision and all that goes with it. I know it can seem so daunting when you first make that list and realise just how much work you have to do, but it's also very much worth it in the end.

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 15 April 2022

Review of Captured In Paint by Ann M Miller

Paintings can stir emotions, but for Julia, emotions bring paintings to life…literally.

Ice Princess.

That’s what the kids at St Peter’s High call seventeen-year-old Julia Parsons, the girl who doesn’t show emotion. But that all changes when Julia loses the protection of her late mother’s charmed necklace, and the emotions that have been locked deep inside her are unleashed. Now, after years of priding herself on being calm, cool and collected, Julia is forced to accept two life-altering revelations—she can feel just as deeply as any other teen and her emotions can make paintings come alive.

As Julia struggles to control her ability, she discovers that her boyfriend, Nick, is trapped inside a mural that she herself created. She enters the wintry world to save him before it’s painted over but quickly realises that a mysterious force is keeping Nick tethered to the work of art.

Unless Julia can learn how to harness the power of her new and unfamiliar emotions, they won’t make it out of the painting alive.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the blurb sounded intriguing, and I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Julia seems to have lost everything and she’s struggling to cope with it all. I loved the ability, what it meant, the pitfalls of it, and the way the story was woven through magical worlds. I adored the relationship between Julia and Nick and the brashness of Lucas and all that meant for him. There were parts of it that felt so real, it was if you were in the story yourself, I ended up reading the book in one sitting and plan to dive into the next book straight away. Very much recommended and enjoyed!

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 12 April 2022


Tara wants to get back into her work with the police, but things don't always happen like that...


[ID: A waterfall background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - EIGHTH ENDING at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback below the title. The except reads:

“So maybe today is the day when you get back in?” she said. It was typical of Kaolin to try and put a bright-side spin on things.
“Maybe,” I said.
We’d reached the door to the station and I pulled it open, thankful for the rush of breeze that cooled me down a little. The weather wasn’t all that bad, it was just the end of a long day in a stuffy classroom, and nice to feel the air on my face.
“Maybe he has some news,” she said. “Try not to get all stressed out before you know why he called.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the top right corner is the Readers' Favorite Review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 11 April 2022

Dealing With A Backlog - The Creative Process


It's pretty common knowledge that I have a huge backlog when it comes to finished works that need to be revised and such before they can go on the editing train. I will be, hopefully, publishing my twentieth book this year, and I'm close to having twenty more that are all sitting in first draft status. I even worked out that if I keep up to the level of productivity that I'm at, I'll have finished eighty first drafts by the time I turn 50, and will only have forty of those published. It seems like a staggering amount and that's what I wanted to talk to you about today.

For those who don't know, I find drafting relatively fun and easy. There are times when my mind drifts off an idea, but I will keep pushing through, knowing that I can fix any problems in revisions and edits. As it stands right now, I'm drafting books that won't be even revised for at least five years from now, and that seems to be a little bit of a problem. I don't want to have all these stories that no one will ever read because I run out of time, or my health declines to the point where I can't keep up with publishing and such. I refuse to publish something that hasn't been edited, and the cost and such, means that I just don't have the time and energy to go through them all and do a rapid release situation.

So what do I plan to do? After all, if I keep writing, I'm going to keep piling up that backlog and it's going to end up with the exact scenario that I described. I will run out of time, and I will struggle to get them all out in the world, and I don't want to just stop telling stories, the ideas keep coming to me after all. I do have a plan though, and I'm going to get into it now. If you're a writer who has a lot of first/second drafts but knows they don't have time, money, or energy to get them all polished and rapid release them, stick around and you might find that my ideas work for you too!

I don't mean that I would sit around and just not do anything writing related. Like I said above, I really do enjoy drafting, and I'm not the biggest fan of revision or editing. But at the same time, there is no way I can keep churning out four books a year, and still have time to dedicate to revising and editing them all before I'm unable to continue. Some of these stories are so important to me to get out there in the world. I don't want them to languish on my hard drive, or in my filing cabinets and never been seen by the people who need them.

So my plan is to take a year or two off drafting and focus on revising projects that I already know will need a ton of work done on them. I can't do whole series, because there's no chance of getting them into the right shape because generally speaking, once the first book goes to the editor, so much changes that it would feel, to me, like a bit of a waste of time. But I can do the first books in the series, and I can, if I feel like it, add changes that ripple through.

I don't know how long it would take, some books will be in better shape than others, but I know there are at least three or four that need almost a complete rewrite because of how they were drafted. For those, I've been panicking and thinking about how I'd manage to get through them when the time came, but this plan allows me to do just that. To take time off other projects and just devote to them entirely, making sure they're in the best shape they can be, without worrying about how to keep up with other things.

This feels like a really good plan for me, and I don't know when I'll put it into fruition but at some point when I don't have a series ongoing. Recently I've been more trilogy and quartet than long series so that seems doable.


Now this is my backup plan if the above doesn't work. I don't want to take a book away from ever being published when all I have is a first draft and nothing else. That said, there are some ideas and some stories that I feel might not be salvageable without a whole lot of revision and I just don't know if I'm in a place where I can do that yet. It might be that once I've taken them out of the schedule, I can come back to them another time when I have some free time, and either rework them, rewrite them, or decide that they're just not ready, and may never be ready to be published properly.

That said, I don't want to do this unless I have no other choice. I love every story I've written, and I've poured my heart and soul into them. I truly believe that there are readers out there for every single one of them. It's just finding them, but first I have to get them into shape to be able to go through edits and the like. It may be that even going through with the first plan, I come across books and projects that just don't work even with extensive rewrites, and if that's the case, I need to be ready to learn from it, and move on.

So those are my plans for the backlog currently growing in my life. I don't think the year or two off will happen yet, though if I manage to finish the two new projects I plan to start in May, I might be in a better place, since one is a standalone and the other is the final in a trilogy, to start that in November, but we'll see how things go and what comes from it and all.

Either way, whichever plan I choose, I will keep working and keep doing everything I need to do to get the works in shape and keep pushing forward with, eventually, publishing them all.

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 8 April 2022

Review of Inalienable by SE Anderson

Framed for a murder you actually did commit? Rude.

Sally’s saved the Earth from another alien predator only to be rewarded with a jail cell. With her family threatened by the Agency if she doesn’t rat out Zander and Blayde, her only option to escape the Alliance is to plead ‘aliens’ in a court of law. At least at the Hill Institute for the Criminally Insane, she’ll have time to clear her mind and focus – on revenge.

Finding a way to break out of an institution and cross half the galaxy would be much easier if it weren’t for the midnight screams of terror and eerie doppelgangers lurking at the Hill. With the Agency too focused on capturing the siblings to actually protect the planet, it’s up to Sally to save the day.

Between murder-clown apparitions, alien advocacy groups, and a new translator with compulsive corporate branding, Sally’s got her work cut out for her. Too bad the best plan she can come up with amounts to faux-regicide with the help of an exasperated starship captain. Will she ever find the time to just Netflix and chill?  


My Review: 5 STARS

I’ve been following the Starstruck series since I found them years ago and was desperate to catch up with the ones I’d missed. This book picks up from the end of the last one, and I was in for an amazing ride.  I ended up reading it in one sitting, and am so glad that I’ve pre-ordered the next one because that ending almost killed me! The story is so beautifully written, making you feel like you’re right there alone with Sally and the gang. I adore the characters, adore the world building and love the way it feels so real, never shying away from the realities of life. Highly, 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 5 April 2022


Lock gets that watching people die isn't fun, but it's what they both signed up for with the job..


[ID: A sea green background with the title LIGHTS OUT at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback below the title. The except 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!”

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the top left corner is the Readers' Favorite Review seal, in the top right is the New Apple Awards seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 4 April 2022

Setting A Writing Routine - The Creative Process


Recently I've talking about writing every day (found here) and I know I've touched on writing routines before, but I wanted to talk some more about getting yourself into a routine because I feel like a lot of the advice is telling people to just write every day and then they'll have their routine. This isn't wrong, part of setting a routine is repeating it enough times that your brain recognises it, but I do feel like telling people that the only way to do that is to sit down and write every single day, is gonna lead to a lot of burnout and have new writers forcing themselves into a routine that doesn't suit them, and doesn't help their writing.

So what can you do if you're new to writing and really want to make it something that you do frequently? How do you make it part of a routine? And how do you go about it without stretching yourself too thin and burning yourself out? How do you make it sustainable over a long period of time? I can tell you that writing every day might work in the short term, but not over months and months, we, as humans, are just not built that way. I thought that I would give you some tips when it comes to setting that writing routine, and doing it in a way that, I hope, is healthy for you, your writing, and your mental health.

I know that anyone who's been on the blog for a while knows that I plan a whole ton when it comes to my writing time, or my time in general. I do this because it allows me to know what I'm supposed to be doing and when, and all that goes with it. Setting a writing routine, or any routine, is easier to do if you plan for it. When I say start small, I do mean start small. If you're someone with lots of free time, that's less of an issue, but if you've got other commitments, like a day job, or kids, or anything like that, you might not have much time free as it is, and trying to squeeze writing into every small chunk of time you do have is just gonna burn you out, and we don't want that.

So, start small, choose a time frame that suits you, it can be as small as five minutes before bed, or when the kids are napping and the like. It doesn't have to be a huge chunk of time, because sometimes you get into that mindset where it must be hours and hours or else it doesn't count, and that's just not true. However long you choose, plan for it, tell people that you need this time to write, but at the same time, it's okay to sacrifice it if there's a problem, or an emergency. You gotta do what works for you, and that's okay.

This applies more to people who are working on more than one thing, but it can also apply to those who don't. Like if you're planning to spend five minutes writing a scene, know ahead of time what scene and if you outline and plan, what's going to happen in it, make sure you have that outline with you, and if you don't plan, or outline, then try and think about what you're going to have happen a bit before the writing starts. This allows you to pretty much jump into the writing and get yourself off to a good start.


Listen, it wouldn't be me if I didn't advocate for breaks. If you set a schedule to write for five minutes for five days, then you should be taking time off. Even if you don't write one of those days, you still need to be taking that time off. Time off isn't something that needs to be earned, it's very much something you should have by default. You are human, and things will come up, and that's okay, you need to take time to recharge and relax and anyone telling you different is wrong, yes, even if that someone is your own inner critic.

Building a writing routine takes time, you are not going to do it twice and then all set. It takes time, and effort, and it may take longer than you'd like, it may not, but it's good to be prepared for it to take a while. It doesn't matter how much time you put into your writing sessions, it's just gonna take as long as it takes, and that's okay. It might feel like everyone else is already there, but I promise you they're not. I have gone from one routine to the other throughout my writing time, and it always is a bit of an adjustment, but when you reach that golden moment of having a solid routine, it's all worth it. So be kind to yourself, and remember to just let it take whatever time it needs.

So there we go, those are my four tips on setting a writing routine. I feel like now that Camp NaNoWriMo is under way, people will be doing their own thing, and reigniting their love of writing. But just remember that you don't have to write every single day for the rest of your life. Even if you do it for a period, just keep taking those breaks so that you don't burn out.

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 1 April 2022

Review of Secret Skies by Sharlene Healy

Forests are full of secrets.

I thought our road would be easy. All we had to do was go straight to the mera base our parents would be at.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When I’m recognized as a missing person, our group runs to the forest to hide. We travel to an abandoned mera base so that June can build more of her machines. After all, we want to be able to save our parents from the meras.

I wish I could have rested there, but these terrifying nightmares wouldn’t stop. Enemies in the forest and my dreams wouldn’t leave me alone, and so I tried to stop a mera on my own. Now I’ve uncovered secrets that destroyed my world. If I can’t recover, I’ll become like the prisoners in Bunker 3, losing myself and my family forever.


My Review: 5 STARS

I read the first book in this series and loved it, so had to read the second. I ended up breezing through it, on the edge of my seat trying to work out what was going to happen next. I adore Sam as a character, and love the friendship between her and her siblings. The story is woven with snippets of world building that allow you to be full immersed in this world. There are so many twists and turns that you will not see coming, and overall an amazing second book in a series that I will be reading more of.  This is an amazing series for anyone who loves a little sci-fi and paranormal all mixed into one. 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.