Friday 28 April 2023

Review of Blood Of Beasts by Rebecca Lemke


This one was truly powerful. Dangerously perfect.

Humanity has fallen, decimated by biological warfare. Survival is only afforded to the elite. Super soldiers were created to protect the vulnerable remains of the United States.

Titania has been in hiding since she escaped the program. For years, she has kept her origin secret, even from her best friend, James.

When she is forced to manifest her power, she and James must flee from her creator. As forces work to tea.

My Review:  5 STARS

I picked this up because the cover and blurb called out to me. I was in the mood for a little dystopian and this one did not disappoint. While it took me a chapter or two to get into the story, once I was in, I was hooked and only had to put it down so that I could attempt some sleep, but the first thing I did in the morning was sink into it and devour the last few chapters. That ending! Oh it left me desperate for more, and I’m gonna be diving into book two ASAP! I adored the characters, the world building and all the twists and turns of the plot. 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

Thursday 27 April 2023

Tuesday 25 April 2023


Tara's gift allows her to watch her mother die again and again...


[ID: A dirty yellow wall with a crack along it background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH at the top and out now in ebook, paperback & audiobook just above the title. The except reads:

“Tara?” Megan gasped. It was getting harder to breathe now.
“She’s safe, just hold on Meg.”
“Does she know?” Her eyes were getting heavy and she knew she would die soon. She knew she would never see the ambulance that Colin was promising her.
“No, no, Meg, she doesn’t. Hold on.”
“Promise me, never.”
“I promise. Meg, don’t leave me, hold on.”
“I love you always, both of you,” Megan managed before death took her away.

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 24 April 2023

Balancing Writing & Time Off - The Creative Process


I have always been someone who very heavily believes that everyone needs time off from time to time. I used to have a goal for having at least one day off completely each month, I still have that goal, but I've upped it to two days. When you're in a creative field, it's especially important that you have that time off because your work, your creativity is going to need to be refilled at some point. It's going to need you to have some time when you're not always writing and creating.

The problem, for a lot of writers, is that they find it hard to keep that balance between taking the needed time off, and still managing to write to a level that they themselves are happy with. I know that comparison plays a part, like if someone else you know and admire is able to manage xyz in a month, then you should be aspiring to do the same. I'll be blunt and honest and say that no, that's not the case and comparison is a game you don't want to get into.

For example, as a disabled indie author with several chronic conditions, the time I can spend working on any given day is limited. For someone who's healthy, who doesn't have those constraints, they may manage more or less than me. The point is that no one shares the same twenty-four hours as you do. You might have kids, they might have a job, you might be a full time author, they might have several assistants. No one in this world has the exact same constraints on their time as you do. It might be similar, but it's not exactly the same.

So how do you find that balance? I mean, as someone who is a full time author (though for full transparency, it doesn't pay me full time) I should have all the time to write, and write some more, but it doesn't work out like that. There does need to be that balance between writing and time off, because no matter who you are, no matter what your twenty-four hours looks like, you will need time off. You are human, no one can be on the go all the time and not pay some kind of price for it.

I know this might sound like a given. After all, everyone tells you to be strict and have some kind of plan and routine in place so that you can optimise your writing time. While that's true, I also think you need to be strict with your time off as well. If you know that you're wanting to take the next day off writing, don't allow anything to pull you back in. While it might not always be possible to do this, the majority of the time it should be a rule you follow to the letter. No one wants you to burn out, and if you want to keep doing this writing life, then you need to be able to balance the stress of one with the relax of the other.

I know this is something that I fall back on often, and I also know that it's not always possible. My mind works in a way where knowing when I'm supposed to be doing things calms my anxiety and puts me in the right head space to be able to do the thing. Before I used a paper planner, I would use sticky notes on my computer so that I could know ahead of time when I was doing what. I also use my ipad calender so that I can pull it up and know that I will need to, say, record a video on this day, and do revisions on that day, and go from there. I also know what days I'm planning to take off completely. It means that I'm able to know what needs to be done when and it's just something that soothes me. Now for some people making any kind of plan like that would do the opposite so if that's you, then obviously don't do this, but make sure that you don't just put off the days off until you burnout.

Again, I'm basing this on my own circumstances and that might not apply to every writer. I find that if I try and do two chapters in one day, I need more time to relax afterwards. So I make sure that it's not something I do very often. Usually it's only when starting new projects and then I have months when I don't have to worry about them. If you know that you find it hard when you do 5K in a day, then don't set yourself up to do that every single day. Balance out what needs to be done, work out when you'll have more time to do more, and dish out the things you need to do, whether that's writing or revising or admin stuff, and spread it evenly over the month or week. This allows you to make sure you're never doing too much.

So there we go, those are my three big tips when it comes to balancing this writing life with time off. I know it can seem daunting when you're also juggling other things. I know how easy it can be to beat yourself up for not managing this or that goal, but it's so very important that you look after you as well. Your writing will take as long as it takes, and that's okay. Yes it's something I say a lot, but it's also true. There is only one you, and only you can tell your story. Take care of you.

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 21 April 2023

Review of As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow

Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach. 

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.
She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit. 

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can't be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because I loved the sound of the blurb and the cover was interesting to me. I opened the book and on the first page I was lost in CJ’s world, in her trauma, in her angst, and in her slowly falling for and opening up to, Jett. Their love story had so many twists and turns and just drew you into their world where everything seemed to make sense until it didn’t, and then you’re there along with them both right through to the very end. It was a delightfully swoon worthy romance and one that I recommend! I picked up the second book in the series and can’t wait to lose myself in that one too!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here


Thursday 20 April 2023

Revising While Chronically Ill [CC]

Talk about revision while being chronically ill and/or disabled and my tips for getting through it! #Authortube


Tuesday 18 April 2023


Tally's dad doesn't buy that she would never have taken drugs...


[ID: A deep purple background with the title BLACKOUT at the top and out now in ebook, paperback & audiobook just above the title. The except reads:

“Is she ready?” he demanded. He said ‘she’ like I was some poisonous snake.
“Yes. I’ve just got to get her lunch ready and my stuff and we’ll be off,” Mum said, still sounding cheerful. How does she do that? It just can’t be normal.
“Fine.” AD just picked me up and thundered down the stairs. I felt every step. He dropped me into the chair and leaned in close to me.
“I’m still waiting for my explanation. Have you given up on the whole ‘memory loss’ lie yet?” he said. He looked so angry it was almost scary. I tried a new approach to this question.

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


Monday 17 April 2023

Starting New Books & How I Plan - The Creative Process


At the time of writing, it is the end of March and I am getting ready to jump into two new projects on April 1st. I thought that since it's not something I've talked about too much before, I would go into how I prepare for that. I'm not a planner, I'm not a pantser completely either, I straddle the two and have my own way of planning and then while drafting, I will discovery write or pants through big parts of it. I know that for some people that's a sure-fire way to get writer's block or to end up being unable to finish and when they do finish, they have such a massive mess to revise they find themselves completely overwhelmed.

I'll be honest, I've only ever stopped writing two books. One will never see the light of day because it was a story I wasn't all that sure about to begin with, and I used elements of it in another book. The other was Lynne & Hope, and while the original story changed, elements of it, you guess it, ended up in another book, Destination: Unknown for those who are curious. I have a pretty good track record when it comes to starting and finishing, so I never really see the issue with needing to change the process I go through. That said, revision is always hard, and I do make an outline for it so that I can try and streamline the process.

But enough with that, let's jump into how I prepare for a new book, or two, since I usually, and have done for the majority of my time writing, do two first drafts at the same time.


Like most writers, I am never really short of ideas, thought there may be times when I'm short of good ideas, but I have a document on my computer where I write down and brainstorm a number of ideas at a time. Generally speaking, my first step is to work out which ideas I want to write. At the moment I'm in the middle of one series, so I knew that I needed to pick out a plot for the next book. The other book I plan to start on April 1st is the start of what should be a trilogy, so that's me sorted.

My ideas sheet is a bit of a mess, but I have made sure to keep spaces between ideas that might go together and might not. With the new trilogy idea, I've also been keeping notes on my ipad, and that's helped me narrow down the titles, the characters and the themes and plot I want to have play out across all three books in the trilogy. With the series, I have book titles, and I have a vague idea of what order they should go in. Because of that, choosing the next one was pretty simple.

My version of planning is to make a very brief chapter outline. I'll do things like work out what day of the week, and how much time has passed, for each chapter. This helps me maintain some semblance of a timeline. I'll also give some kind of short idea of where in the plot I think things will be and make very brief notes on that. I know I keep emphasising brief but the last thing I want to do is mislead people. I don't want people to think I'm making chunks of information and sounding more and more like a full-on planner. The chapter outlines will happen in the revision process, but for me, that first draft is me telling myself the story and seeing how it all comes out.

The chapter plan gets printed and it's basically my road map. I don't always follow it strictly, sometimes I'll veer off the plan and end up back on it a few chapters later, better for having taken that detour. I don't like to restrict myself too much when it comes to drafting and I've found that my stories usually end up turning out similar to the chapter plan in the end even with the detours.


I don't know every single character before starting drafting. But I do usually know the main chunk. Like because I write young adult, I'll know friends and family, depending on the set up. In that instance I'll make sure to plan out my characters as well. I've noticed that while before I used to do a character note card the moment I met a character, now I don't seem to do that as much, something that has become a problem later down the line when that character becomes a big part of the plot. So I need to start getting back into this habit.

As for what I do, I'll give their age, description and anything else that might turn out to matter down the line. If I'm writing a series, I might also list key points when it comes to later books so that I don't have to worry too much about continuity issues. I'll also, if it's set within a school, list subjects, teachers and sometimes even do a timetable for them. That's not always necessary but sometimes it works out better to do it that way.

At this point, I've done all the planning and prep that I can. It's just a case of getting things squared away in my head and getting the words on the page. I might set about what days to write what, but that goes into my time planning rather than writing itself.

So there we go, that's how I get ready and prepare when it comes to starting new books. By the time this blog goes live, I should be almost done with my first month of writing, and I can tell you me here, is very excited about getting to start both of these projects, so hoping for a good writing month!

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 14 April 2023

Review of Wish by Kimberly King

First the janitor’s foot was inside the brick wall. Then there was the mysterious ring. But the strangest of all? That was yet to come.

Jazzy Allen’s already complicated life suddenly gets messier when class clown Evan Rice gets both of them sent to the principal’s office. Fearing she’ll lose her scholarship, Jazzy is determined to avoid him at all costs. But when Evan gets hold of a wish-granting ring, he pulls her into his mischievous mayhem while the school becomes his playground.

His magical pranks seem harmless enough, but behind mud-slinging cheerleaders and a food fight of epic proportions, something sinister lays waiting. With their school on the brink of destruction, Jazzy must learn to work together with the most infuriating guy in Forest Hills High before the power behind the ring destroys them...and everything else.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because it sounded like an interesting book and one that would keep me entertained. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn’t help but finish it in one sitting. Jazzy’s life, her character, her wants and dreams, and Evan and all of his things sprang off the page. I love the way the magic was threaded perfectly through the pages, and the story told itself. It was delightful, funny and cut and overall an amazingly fun read. 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

Thursday 13 April 2023

Tuesday 11 April 2023


Finding Jessie's new trigger is gonna be a bit of a headache...


[ID: A dark blue background with the title CRAMPING CHRONICLES: THE SECOND PANG at the top and out now in ebook, paperback & audiobook just below the title. The except reads:

He started to push me again. “You have any idea who?”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I assumed it had to be someone new to school, but I recognised everyone in there.”
“You have any of those film clips?” he asked.
“So it could just be, someone in Maths has a really bad headache and you, for some reason, are picking up on it?”
“That's always possible,” I said as he stopped outside the nurse's office. “I just hope they get themselves some pain killers because whoever it is, they're in a lot of pain.”

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


Monday 10 April 2023

Looking Back On Dying Thoughts - The Creative Process


Last week I talked about looking about on my début (piece found here) and this week I thought I would look back on my first ever series. The one that took me from the start of my writing to career to the middle of it. My plan when I first started writing was to do ten books, five of which would be standalones and the other five would make up the complete Dying Thoughts series. Only when I got to the fifth book, I knew it wasn't the end, and so when I finally penned the end of the last book in 2016, book eight, I had been writing this series for about twelve years, and that blew my mind to think about.

The last book was finally released in 2019, and since then I've started to release other series. There was the Lights Out trilogy, and the start of the Cramping Chronicles series, but on top of that I've also kept writing and have numerous other series started, completed and in progress, and it made sense for me to go back to where it all started. If for no other reason than to look back at how far I've come.

When I first published Dying Thoughts - First Touch, it was 2011 and I was still very new in the indie world, as were most people because things like KDP had only just come into place. There were no kindles and the like when I was first published in 2005 and at the risk of sounding old, it's amazing to me with just how far we've come since then. It wasn't really until book three in that series, Dying Thoughts - Third Wish, that I really got serious with publishing and with writing.

As an author and as a writer, there will be parts of your life when you're more productive in the writing space. During that period, releasing only one book a year and taking my sweet time to write them, I was in a slump. I had just finished, or was in the process of finishing my five year degree and because of that I hadn't been able to write anywhere near as much. Of course these days you look at my productivity and probably think I was breezing through books writing wise. I wasn't. It took me years to finish a book, and since by then I'd started writing two books at once, I managed to finish two in that time, but I also really struggled with being tied to any kind of writing routine.

And my how that has changed. I penned my twentieth first draft in like 2016 I think it was. I've just finished my forty-second. That should give you an idea of how things have changed. While my last two are shorter than my others, the ones I wrote between 20th and 40th were all about the same length. I'm an overwriter, I know that about myself, and it makes it easier to cut things in revision, but I'm getting off my point. My point is that once I found that routine, I got better, I got faster, but it did take a whole lot of time.

What does that have to do with that first series? It was about learning from the mistakes I'd made there. See, I didn't write Dying Thoughts to completion when I first published the first book. There was no way for me to do that and still be able to publish because I wrote slower than I do now. Now that I have a handle on how to get the first drafts done, it makes so much sense to me, and for me, after all every writer is different, to finish a series before I start revisions and editing and publishing and all of that. I learned because of the traps I got stuck in with Dying Thoughts.

Tara's story was one that came to me in the frozen peas aisle in Asda one day. I'd just finished Blackout, and I had the urge to keep writing with Tally because I didn't want to say goodbye to the characters I loved. So, past me thought, write a series, and then you get to play with them a little longer. And I thought and planned and brainstormed, and there, lifting frozen peas into the trolley, I was hit with the idea that spawned eight books. I adore the series, I adore the characters and the world I created around them, but I know that if I'd been a faster writer, I might have been able to finish the series and allow for different plot devices. It's one of those things where hindsight is definitely 20/20.

That said, while I made mistakes, I am proud of the series and where it went, what it's done, how it's been received. While I haven't made millions, I have sent Tara out into the world and loved everyone's reaction to her. She has the distinction of being the character I've spent the most time with, and unless I write a mammoth twenty-book series, she'll probably always hold that title. I don't miss her like I used to, my world has become other characters and other series, and I have very much enjoyed writing them, but Tara was my first series, and I'm grateful for that.

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 7 April 2023

Review of The Unseen Curse by Zachary Jefferies

Every small town has dark secrets. Miridical, Rhode Island has dark magic.

With absolutely nothing to do in this tiny, boring town, high school sophomore Juniper Szmydt passes the time solving small crimes. But when one of the town founders is killed, she jumps at the chance to solve a murder. Dad works for the mayor and can’t help her snoop, so June’s on her own playing nice with a town she’s hated since moving to last year.

But the town isn’t playing nice back, and it becomes evident people are keeping secrets from the Szmydts. Only a scrying mirror can show Juniper the truth: Miridical is magical. Now, the mystery becomes who is hiding the truth from the Szmydt family; she must solve it by Samhain when the mysterious forces of Miridical will claim her father as their next victim.


My Review: 3 STARS

I picked this up because the cover and blurb called out to me. I loved Juniper and loved the way the story was woven through the words, loved the idea of what the author was trying to get across, but there were places where I felt like it was either too rushed or not fleshed out enough. Either way it was an enjoyable read, Juniper coming to terms with the truth about her, her father and her family made me smile. Loved the ending, and just overall liked it.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Thursday 6 April 2023

Author Tag: The WIP Tag [CC]

Doing a tag today and telling you all about my WIP! #Authortube
1. What is the working title?
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
3. What genre is your work-in-progress?
4. Choose the actors for your movie rendition.
5. One sentence synopsis of your book.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
8. What other books would you compare the story to?
9. Who or what inspired you to write the book?
10. What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest? 



Tuesday 4 April 2023


Mya can only hope that things go the way she's planning...


[ID: A dark forest background with the title LIGHTS OFF at the top and out now in ebook, paperback & audiobook just below the title. 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, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]



Monday 3 April 2023

Looking Back On My Debut - The Creative Process


Over twenty years ago, I sat down at my desk and started to write the book that would end up being my début novel. I can't really fathom how long it's been. It feels like just yesterday that I was starting to get the book into shape so that it could be published, and seeing the way the publishing landscape has changed since then, it kinda blows my mind to really think about it.

The idea had been planted in my head as a teen, and it was something that I couldn't stop thinking about. I'd just been retired on medical grounds from working life and I was nineteen and looking at a life without anything to really do. I didn't have the funds to start a hobby of any kind, but I did have this idea, and I did have pen and paper and an urge to finally write it out and see where it took me. From first word to last, it took me ten days to write BLACKOUT, and I've always been really proud of it, always been happy that it ended up being my début, even though it wasn't, by far, the first book I'd written.

BLACKOUT was my way of taking an idea that I'd had for years, and making it into a reality that pulled, a little, from real life. I'd been out of school and college for a couple of years at that point. I'd never actually finished my college years, dropping out for reasons that even now astound me for their idiocy, but I was sure that I would get a job and work like everyone else, and I did for a long while. Until I got sick, and my lung condition flared to the point where working any kind of job was going to be impossible.

I sometimes think about young Joey, and how she had no idea that this penning of a story would lead to twenty books published with another twenty-odd written in first draft status. That Joey was happy to have one book behind her, and thought that ten would be hard, but doable. I surpassed the ten after about twelve years or so, and then hit twenty another few years after that. I got better at managing my time, got better at putting butt in chair and fingers at keyboard, and crafting my stories, but I never really let go of what that all had meant to me.

At nineteen, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't reach forty. It wasn't all doom and gloom and teenage angst, but my health was bad, my lungs were terrible, and the M.E and Fibromylagia making themselves known didn't help any. I went from walking pretty much everywhere to needing a wheelchair sometimes, to eventually, but the age of twenty-one, needing it most of the time. I look back and see someone who thrived and grew through their stories and I can't help but be proud of where I've ended up.

You have to realise that KDP and the indie path were either not around, or not possible without huge amounts of connections or cash. The internet was in its infancy, there were no social media sites, and you just had to make do with what you had. I wrote not necessarily thinking I would get published instantly, but because I had stories I wanted, I needed, to tell. BLACKOUT was one of them. The story of Tally, and her missing memories, and the fight to find out what it all meant, spurred me on through some pretty dark days in my life, and I've not looked back since.

One thing that is clear to me now that wasn't back then, is that I was meant to write these stories, meant to be the one telling these tales, an meant to be someone for whom stories and writing are very much a way of life. And it all really started with my début. My 18 year authorversary isn't until August, but I wrote BLACKOUT in April of 2001, so it seemed fitting to look back on it now, and share that growth that has been in my life ever since I first put pen to paper for that story.

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.