Tuesday 28 November 2023


Tara doesn't make friends easily...

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[ID: A cracked yellow wall background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

“You missed a good party, Friday,” Jody told her, totally missing the fact that Kaolin didn’t care.
“Hmm,” Kaolin mumbled.
“Why don’t you sit with us?” Jody asked,
“No, thanks.”
“Come on, you don’t know what you might catch from Tara.” She turned to look at me. (Don’t look directly into her eyes – you’ll lose your soul!) “What is wrong with you anyway? I hope it isn’t contagious.” You see? This is what I mean about her – she’s a total bitch. The fact is that she actually takes pleasure in saying things like that. I’ll tell you something, she’s lucky Mr. Miller appeared at that moment because otherwise I would have had to resort to violence.

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


Monday 27 November 2023

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Knowing Who To Kill


I have been writing crime for a number of years, I've been reading it for even longer, and I gotta say that while some writers will think that you can just kill anyone for no reason other than maybe trying to shock the reader, or make them sad for that loss, that it very much not the case. I'm sure you've heard it from other places, how you need to make sure that every death is done for a reason and means something, and you're gonna hear that a bit from me too.

The reasoning behind this advice is that killing anyone for no reason has no impact on the characters or the plot. If the death doesn't make sense, if it's just death for deaths sake, then readers are going to know about it. They're going to work out that you're after shock value rather than any plot related reason, and that does not have any kind of impact on the reader, if anything, it makes them question the plot more, and wonder if you even really know what you're doing, which is not what anyone wants.

So how do you decide who to kill? How do you weigh up that choice and make that death mean something? I'm glad you asked because I'm going to give you some of my tips when it comes to this topic. I've killed a lot of characters over the years, some had affected me as the writer more than others, and all of them have died to serve the plot and there has always been a meaning behind their deaths.

Ask yourself this. If the answer is, that there needs to be a death and they're not the main character or their not someone that adds much to the plot, then you're probably doing it wrong. I'm not someone who likes to say that someone is writing 'wrong' because my thinking is that there pretty much is no wrong way to do it, but in this case, killing someone because there needs to be a death and they're disposable, it's not going to have the same impact because if a character is disposable to you, they are also that to the reader.

Now if there's a plot based reason that someone needs to be sacrificed for reasons I can't think of right now, then yes, that is a necessary death, but you need to be making sure that whatever character you choose is someone that has, at least, had some other impact on the plot. If you have side characters that can be removed without it having any impact on the story, then that's a sign you've not developed them enough, which is a whole different problem.

So keep in mind, that if a character is disposable, or can be removed from the story completely and nothing changes, you need to be thinking about why, and working out the answer to how to either make them into a more fully fleshed out character, or remove them, and have someone else have that hard choice of being sacrificed to further the plot.

I know that a lot of the memes around writers are along the lines of making our readers cry by killing off their favourite character, but there are a whole ton of stories, crime and otherwise, that don't have any character deaths. You don't have to kill someone if the plot doesn't need it, and you don't need to kill just for killing sake. While yes, a good death can have a massive impact, just killing someone because you think you have to will not have that impact.

Sometimes death can not be avoided, but when that happens, it should always be the right character who dies. There are numerous ways to decide that and I do not have the time or energy to go into all of them, but for just a quick breakdown. The character should be someone who makes the biggest impact, it should make sense for them to be in that situation. They should be unable to, by whatever means, get out of it. The death should be pretty much unavoidable, and it should always, always, be someone that matters to the story itself.

So there you go, those are my two tips. I will just clarify that I am talking about main characters and side characters who mean something to the main. Obviously there are minor characters who die all the time, but that is the nature of the beast. When it comes to a death that your readers are going to really feel, it needs to mean something and not just be because you thought you had to.

Good luck with writing!

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 24 November 2023

Review of The Non-Magical Declain Moore by Nathan Taylor

“We are special. You are not.”

Declan Moore knows he’s not the chosen one. In a modern nation controlled by witches and wizards, he has nothing but a famous surname. All he needs is an inkling of power to dampen the disappointment of being a LAMP—one Lacking All Magical Potential.

Then the world falls apart.

Overnight, every witch and wizard he knows—his parents included—is turned to iron and captured. Declan avoids the same fate thanks to a mysterious girl who seems to know more about him than he does himself. As he searches to save his parents, an uncomfortable reality bubbles to the surface.

Declan isn’t helpless. He’s dangerously powerful.

And using that power to save his parents could kill them all. 

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because of the idea of a completely not chosen one. I love to see some tropes inverted and turned on their heads and I fell in love with Declan from the first page. He was a delightful and relateable character, one you could empathise with and get to know through the many twists and turns throughout the story. I loved the worldbuilding, the way the magic worked and ending the way it did, I’m very glad I bought book two and can dive right back into that world and the next stage of Declan’s story. All the characters were expertly crafted and this is a series to watch. 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 21 November 2023


Coming back to reality has never been more mortifying...

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

“Oh look, it’s my dream girlfriend,” he announced to the class.
“Oh great,” I muttered.
“Hey Tally, did we have sex? I don’t remember, so you can’t have been very good!” he said. If looks could kill I swear he’d be dead. The whole class was laughing at me and before I could think of witty comment to make, Mr. Leonard walked in. I hated Cal at that moment. I can’t believe I almost slept with him. I KNOW, it was a dream! Even though Mr. Leonard had started the lesson, it didn’t stop the stares and whispered comments. I hate my life.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, 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 20 November 2023

Book Releases: Do They Get Easier?


Last Tuesday, I released my 21st book, Invisible (buy here) and I've had this same question asked of me many times in the years that I've been publishing. I've been doing this for eighteen years now, and while my first publishing experience was more excitement and backseat (because I didn't know what I was doing and focused on the being published rather than marketing and the like) every single one since has been more intense and more about getting the word out and making sure everything is done on time and in the right place.

I have to say that while some things have changed and gotten more streamlined, other things have stayed the same and are always stressful. If you think about what you have to get done to be published, then it's a lot of stuff, and it all has to be done by a certain date and in a certain way. I find that I always get more stressed and anxious once the hard work, namely editing and such, are out of the way because there is nothing I can do to change the book and it's in the state it's in and that's all final.

For me, the publishing process has never gone smoothly. I personally don't think it ever does go smoothly, but I can only ever talk about my own experiences. There's always a deadline missed somewhere, or ARC readers who don't follow through, or a problem with the paperback, and on and on it goes. I could spend a very long time laying out the many ways things have gone wrong over the years, but I won't do that because I really don't have the energy nor do I want to put people off.

But when it comes to things getting easier, they do and they don't. You get more used to dealing with delays or issues. You have a better understanding of how things work in indie publishing, you might have a bigger following and therefore attract more pre-orders and the like, or you might just have better contacts when it comes to getting the word out. I think it might feel easier for some because you have all this knowledge and understanding about it all that makes that part of it less stressful.

Think about it, someone first starting out won't know all about the deadlines and blips along the way, and since this is their debut, they're going to want things to go as smoothly as possible. Now they may have mitigated the issues of not knowing by doing a whole ton of research, which is something that I highly, highly recommend doing, but some blips come from places where you can't research and know ahead of time. Sometimes you're thrown into the deep end and you just gotta work out how you're going to keep your head above water.

Like I've had editors abandon my project mid-way through, and then had to scurry around to find a brand new editor, and hope they can get things finished in time. Of course you can avoid that problem by not setting a release date and the like until the book is completely done, but I hadn't done that because I'd used this editor for a number of projects and felt like I could rely on them to get things done in time. Long story short, I did find a new editor, and I did make the deadlines, but it was a lot of stress, and anxiety for all involved, and it's not something I'd ever want to happen again.

Now I don't want to give the impression that publishing a book is always a train ride along the stress and anxiety track, it's not. Invisible was actually the first book to give me fewer stress moments. The edits were done in time, the ARCs went out early. Pre-orders are up, I had my paperbacks before release day, and the promo has all be scheduled and is ready to go. So in that respect, it has been easier, but I do wonder if that's just because I was due a break there!

All in all, my answer is both yes, it does get easier, and no, it doesn't, because there are so many different ways for things to go wrong with publishing that you just have to roll the dice and hope you get the numbers you want!

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 17 November 2023

Review of To Defy A Dream by Mary Mecham

What if Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on purpose?

Princess Aurelia’s kingdom is plagued by the Eternal Slumber, a disease progressively ensnaring the minds of her subjects. After Aurelia wishes for the means to revive her brother, her sinister fairy godmother presents an ominous solution: Aurelia must stab herself with a poisoned spindle.

Accepting this fate plunges Aurelia into a nightmare where victims of the Eternal Slumber are being held hostage by a dark djinni. However, Aurelia’s brother isn’t the only familiar face she finds herself reunited with; Everett, the love of her life who mysteriously disappeared years ago, is there as well. As the djinni’s power grows, Aurelia must decide who to save before the djinni escapes and enters the waking world.

Failing on her quest could trap her in the dream world forever. Will she forgo her chance at a happily ever after and protect her brother, or will she choose to rescue herself and the man she loves?

No matter who she chooses, someone will be doomed to remain in the nightmare that never ends.


My Review:  5 STARS

I picked this up because the blurb and cover drew me in. I loved the idea of Sleeping Beauty but with a differing twist to it and before long I was completely immersed in the story and the world. At first I was a little concerned with it being the fourth in a series that I would have missed important things, but it seems to have been standalone in that. Overall I loved the plot, the characters, the many twists and turns along the way and that final reveal left me reeling. An amazingly, beautifully crafted work and one that I very much recommend!

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

Monday 13 November 2023

1 Day To Go Until Invisible!


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Deciding What To Write - The Creative Process


I talked last week about when to write (piece found here) and I thought I would finish out this mini series by talking about how to decide what to write. I know a lot of people will be in the midst of NaNoWriMo, and some of them will have prepared and planned and prepped, or some, like me, will be plansting or pantsing their way through their draft. All of those are valid ways to do it, but sometimes you might find yourself stuck with which idea to choose, or where to take your story, and that's where this pieces comes in.

I've always been a writer who can, generally, think their way out of a plot issue. I've experienced writer's block before, but I don't get it often, and when I do the reason is usually unrelated to the story itself and more down to burnout and the like. But that said, there are some times when people just get caught up in the story and write themselves into corners, or when they have a whole bunch of ideas but don't know which one to choose, so here are some of my tips for both of these.

This applies more to plot issues than trying to think up a brand new idea, but it can be adapted for like thinking of where to take a sequel for example. One thing I do when I feel like I don't know which direction to take the story is really think about the narrative so far. Like in Cramping Chronicles, I knew I was building to something big, but I really had to think about all that had come before it before I could pin down exactly which direction to take things. I still have moments of doubt about that, but I'm getting better at working out what's imposter syndrome and what's actually just my gut saying that this plot point won't work.

Thinking back over the story, and questioning character motivation and character backstory and actually diving into whether or not your character would do this or that, can really help you solve that plot beat and allow you to work through the problem. The only issue with this step is if you don't know your character well enough yet, and in that case you will just have to go with what you think the right path should be, knowing that you may well have to double back at some point, but that is literally what revision is for.


This applies to new ideas and to plot issues. If in doubt, go for the path that excites you, take yourself, and your characters on that journey, and know that you will find your way through that excitement. There have been numerous times when I've found myself struggling with a plot, or struggling to narrow down which story I want to write next, and it's always been a good idea to either choose the story that fills me with ideas and passion, or to go down the plot path that I really think will lead to good things.

Now if you don't know which one, or you have multiples, then that can be another issue entirely. For the latter, multiple options that all excite you, then I suggest going back to the first one, and explore what all those ideas will mean for the story as a whole and bring in what you think your character would actually do. It's a lot of exploring and trying things out, but it really does end up bringing in the best results.

Now I know there's this idea that writer's talk to themselves, and while it can be true, for this step I mean with a trusted friend. It needs to be someone who either knows the story as a whole, or someone who's opinion you trust. For this I will go to either of my two best friends, and just talk through the ideas, the problems, the characters and work it through that way.

You've heard of coders and developers using rubber ducks to solve issues? The same can apply to writers. Sometimes talking it through aloud allows you to explore different avenues that you wouldn't have thought of keeping it all in your head. For that reason, this one is a great one, and maybe you solve the problem with no input for the listener, but sometimes you do need their help to work things out.

So there we go, those are my three tips for working out what to write, whether that be a new idea, or a plot issue in your current works. I've found all three to be really useful and I hope they are for you too!

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 10 November 2023

4 Days To Go Until Invisible!


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Review of The Whisperer's Wish by Janilise Lloyd

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the title intrigued me. I was looking for a fantasy that has some aspects of real life in it and found myself very much at home with this book. It was a delight from start to finish. It tugs at your emotions, making the characters and the world seem so real, to the point where you’re desperate to keep turning the pages and finding out how it’s going to end. That ending almost destroyed me, but at the same time, it was perfectly bittersweet and would have been disappointed if it’d gone another way. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and an author I’ll read again. 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 9 November 2023

Monday 6 November 2023

Deciding What To Use To Write - The Creative Process


Last week I talked about deciding when to write (found here) and this week, I thought that I would focus on what tools you'll be using to get that writing done. Like I've talked about before, I didn't always use just a keyboard/tablet and the like to get my writing done. For a long time in the start of my career, I would hand write and then spend the evening typing everything up, which also allowed me to edit slightly as I went.

Now of course this was back in the days before things like tablets, and back when owning a laptop was way out of my price range. I wanted to have that comfort of writing where I pleased, but I also, back then, found that the words flowed better when it was just me, a pen and a pad of paper. I know that by the time I typed everything up, I would have a better first draft than if I'd just typed it into the computer because that pen could only move as fast as I could write legibly, and typing was always something I've been able to do quickly.

That said, my reason for switching to typing only was because one of my chronic conditions made it exceptionally painful to hold a pen for long so it was a necessary thing to keep writing the way I had been. I still do edit as I go, but that's more the day following when I read through everything again, but I digress. Deciding what to use can be a very personal thing, and it's not just in the tool of keyboard or pen, but writing software and all of that. I thought that I would break it down a little for you, and see if what I've stuck to can help you make that choice of what to use.

One thing I don't miss about those early writing days was how easy it was for the paper to get torn, or wet, or lost, and then you'd have a whole chunk that you would either have to rewrite from memory or hope that the computer copy was up to date and saved in all the places.

I know there's a certain affinity for handwriting your work, and I understand the attraction. The thing that always got me at the end of the day was that in these times, you are going to have to type it all up at some point. You can no longer send through your pages in the mail as neatly written. It needs, in fact even then, to be typed at some point. Now, if, like me, you would type things up every time you wrote, then this is less of an issue, but if you choose to do it in larger chunks, then there's always the risk that something will get lost, or damaged, and having lost work on the computer before, I know how frustrating it is to try and reconstruct that work.


This might seem out of place, or like it doesn't really belong in a post about deciding what to use to write, but I promise you I have a point. There is software like Scrivnr that works great for people who plot. I've never used it, because the majority of the features wouldn't be anything I have a use for. I may plot somewhat when it comes to drafting, but I have no need for scene cards and character profiles set up the way Scrivnr does it. So if you're a plotter, you're going to want a different kind of software maybe than a pantser would.

Of course there's nothing wrong with any kind of software, and pantsers and plotters alike can use whatever works for them, but for me, it just seemed like a waste of money, and time, to put it all together when the majority of it wouldn't be applicable to me. So if you're more of a pantser you might find that there's a different kind of ideal software to use, and if that's the case, then let us know in the comments!

My point is just that whichever you are, that's going to play a part in choosing what you use to get those words down from a software point of view. But as always, your mileage may vary.


I said above that typing is less painful for me, so of course I'm going to stick to doing the thing that doesn't cause me pain, and the same will apply to anyone reading. Whatever you choose to use, whatever tools you have, whether that be the type of pen, or the software of the like, you have to use whatever gives you the most comfort. There is little point in suffering for your words, and I can't really fathom that anyone would think otherwise!

Comfort matters, and it very much applies here too. Use what brings you that, and you're golden!

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 3 November 2023

Review of Headrush by Nissa Harlow

I wouldn’t have chosen to set this story in a mall. But maybe it’s not my story, anyway…

I finally know what’s going on. Sort of. But it doesn’t matter. Cash Lincoln is out of my life.

Until he’s not.

When I run into him in the mall food court a few weeks before Christmas, I think it’s just a chance encounter. That’s what he thinks, too.

But it soon becomes apparent that we still have some sort of connection—even though we both thought it was broken during our last encounter. Here we are, stuck in a dark mall, while things get weird again. Weird… and watery. The mall starts to flood. A sailing ship appears in the parking lot. Pirates roam the halls. And a familiar figure stalks us once more.

As our fears emerge from the shadows to test us, I find myself faced with something I didn’t think I would get: a second chance. But am I brave enough to admit what I want? Or is it too late to salvage a connection that’s been challenged by months of angst, doubt… and really weird narrative choices?


My Review: 5 STARS

The thrilling conclusion the this series and I was desperate to know what happened next, especially after the ending for book three. Once again Sadie and Lincoln had me hooked on their story with all the twists and turns within it. I loved the way it all came together, loved the characters and the plot nice and tightly woven through the words. I adored the ending and loved how it all came together so well. It was a bit of a longer read, but gave you that satisfying feeling of it all being tied up neatly and wonderfully. Very much an enjoyable series and one that I recommend!

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