Tuesday 30 January 2024


Some things are precious enough to be kept close...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/DTSC

[ID: A blurred firelight background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - SIXTH CHANGE at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just below the title. The except reads:

I headed down the stairs, stopping briefly in my dad's room. Mum's vanity was still in the same spot it had been since she died. I was careful to avoid touching anything of hers and headed straight for Dad's bedside table. I knew that he had some good photos of Mum in there. Ideally I wanted one that had me with Mum, but I would have been happy with just a nice photo of her.
It took me about five minutes of digging through the drawer until I found a passport photo of my mum holding me when I could only have been a few months old. It was the right size and there were all four photos, so it wasn't like I'd be damaging the only copy. I smiled as I grabbed some scissors from my dad's office and took one of the photos with me as I headed down the rest of the stairs to join Kaolin in the kitchen.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, 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 29 January 2024

Tightrope Walking: Writing & Everything Author Life


Last week I talked about life hiccups and writing (piece found here) but this week I wanted to talk more about how much of writing and author life is a careful balancing act on a tightrope. I have been an indie author for eighteen years. In that time I've drafted over 45 books, published 21, and have built up my name, books and everything else mostly on my own.

I am chronically ill and disabled, and I struggle sometimes with that tightrope, because it feels like so much of author life, as in that way to keep yourself relatable and in the public eye is to forgo the writing part and focus completely on the everything else part. The marketing, the social media presence, the bringing out books is very much part of it sure, but for me the whole thing is very overwhelming and I really do struggle sometimes.

From the outside looking in, with my organisation, with my ability to do what I do month to month, it might look like I have it all down to a fine art, and you could say that I'm expertly crossing that tightrope. But in truth? When you see below the surface, that couldn't be further from the truth. Being an author is hard work, and pouring your time and energy into writing is only one part of it. It's the everything else that always trips me up because I can write story after story and never really find it impossible, but when you throw in the rest of it, that's when things get tricky.

Like right now, this time I'm spending working on blog posts is more part of author life than it is anything else. On Fridays when I post reviews, that's again time spent on author life, both showcasing other authors, and also learning and growing from what I read to bring about those reviews. There's so much of author life that is far removed from the writing itself that it can get very overwhelming and it's hard to navigate it, no matter how well organised you may be.

I know I've talked before on social media about the highlight reel that everyone, including myself, shows off whether intentionally or not, but it's hard sometimes to talk about the realities of that tightrope walk without coming across like you're trying to bring down the mood or trying to elicte sympathy from your readers. I like to think that when I do my Monday check ins, people realise that's me being real more than anything else. There are many times during the year and the month when I find it hard to really form the words to write out those posts because I know things haven't been good and it's hard to know how much to share, and how much to hide and keep quiet about.

I wish I had tips for you when it comes to how to successful balance both. I've done well with my own way of working in that I know what works for me and what doesn't, but that doesn't always translate for everyone else. I just wanted to acknowledge that it's not all sunshine and puppies. Writing is hard. Balancing between telling your stories and having a viable career is not easy either. You have to walk that tightrope because that's how things work, but that doesn't mean that any of them actually go smoothly.

So yes, a bit of raw honesty for you today. Walking that tightrope can be easier some days than others, and no matter what kind of day it is for you, I see you, applaud you, and hope things are going well.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Friday 26 January 2024

Review of Elemental Games by Tamar Sloan & Heidi Catherine

 Elemental powers. Deadly games. No escape. 

When Aura and Hayze wake up with six others in a place they’ve never seen, they know three things.

They’re childhood enemies.

No one remembers how they got here.

And there’s no way out.

In a world with no rules or reason, there’s so much they don’t know. Why they’re so drawn to each other. Why they can bend an element to their will. And why each day is deadlier than the last.

Aura and Hayze need answers because one thing is certain. Their lives depend on uncovering what is truth and what is reality.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up having read books by these authors before, and dived into it very close to release day and was hooked from the first page. The idea of the story and the way it was expertly weaved through the words. I adored the characters and I loved the dynamic between them. Aura and Hayze were dynamic characters and the whole culmination to that ending made me desperate to read the next book in the series. Very much a series to watch and one to keep reading! 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 23 January 2024


Cat will never go back to how things were...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/INAR

[ID: A gradient of blue to purple background with the title IT'S NOT ALWAYS RAINBOWS at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

Once the news segment was over and they moved onto lighter subjects about local schools raising money for a cancer charity, I stood up and left. Dad didn’t say anything. Probably because he wanted me to face up and realise what I was risking by choosing to be bisexual. I don’t know if he’ll ever accept the fact that it's not a choice. If he doesn’t, my mother never will. She will follow him through anything; after all, she did vow to obey.

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


Monday 22 January 2024

Life Hiccups & Writing - The Creative Process


One part of writing is that it can be all consuming and so when something goes wrong in your life outside of writing, it has a horrible knock on effect. Like at the time of writing this, it's nearly the end of the year and I only have these posts to write and a video to record and I'm done, but I'm also sick with a horrible cold. I had all my plans, but my body didn't get the memo and so now I'm having to balance being sick with getting some work done.

That's only one example of a life hiccup, there can be many more. Sometimes you'll be working a day job and then find that work there has gotten really busy and you can't dedicate as much time to writing as you'd like. Other times it's a loved one getting sick, or needing to take time away from writing because of other life commitments. Whatever the reasoning, these life hiccups happen and sometimes we just have to roll with them. Sometimes they can come at the worst time and you find that you're having to juggle a hiccup and a deadline that can't be moved or changed and it just feels like the world is conspiring against you!

So what do I do when I have one of these life hiccups? Like right now I planned to have these posts all written and scheduled earlier in the week, but I was just not well enough to manage it and so I've had to shift things around. I could have put them off until the new year, but I also knew that with the busy month ahead of me that wasn't going to work, so it's a case of having had days off earlier than planned to try and recover from this cold. That's one example, let me give you some more tips.


This is something that's worked for me before. I basically do only the bare minimum and allow the rest to pile up for when I'm more able to deal with them. Sometimes I can 'catch up' with myself at a later date, but other times it's just a constant rush of trying to just do what has to be done and leave the rest alone. It can be irritating and anxiety inducing for me, but I am also not going to push myself to breaking point just because of things that can and should be put off.

For those that know me, I'm a very organised person. While I do use a paper planner, and things in there are, pretty much, set in stone, I also use my iPad calender and because of that I can, and often do, switch things around when needed. This gives me some time to breathe and allows me to shuffle my work until I can get to a point where things are gonna be more manageable.


Now, for things like getting sick, you can't really plan that in advance. It happens and you just have to live with it. But there are always chances that you can plan for the eventuality of a hiccup. Like one of the ways I work is to do a month's worth of certain things the month before. Like these blog posts have been written in December even though they won't go live until January. This means that when something, like getting sick, happens, I can easily leave them off and only do them as necessary, as I said above.

But if you know that the busy season at work is about to hit, then you can plan around that. Whether that's deciding to get more work down before the hiccup, or planning to do more afterwards, then it's all about what works for you. There are other hiccups that you can see coming, and for those, trying to plan around them is the best bet.

One big thing I think as a writer, especially one with chronic illness and disability thrown into the mix, is knowing that even if everything is going well and things are moving along swimmingly, there will always be hiccups thrown in from somewhere. Some, like I said above, can be planned for. Others will hit you and you'll be floundering and trying to find a way to keep your head above the water.

I know it's easy to say, but try not to stress about them too much. Accept they will happen, do what you can to mitigate the impact, and keep moving forward.

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 19 January 2024

Review of War Of The Land by Dana Claire

His valor could save the lands. Her darkness could consume 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

Tuesday 16 January 2024


Tara is starting to actually think about her future...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/DTFS

[ID: A blurred black and blue background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FIFTH SECRET at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

Kkat: You’d probably have to do Law, thinking about it. But you do like History, so maybe you could do some similar ones to me? Except…
Ippydippy98: Except?
Kkat: If you did get into the same college and you did do the same courses, you’d have to do your own homework. I mean it, Tara, I am not doing your A-levels for you too!
Ippydippy98: You make it sound like I never do *any* work!
Kkat: Well….

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, 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 15 January 2024

Approaching ARC Readers


As someone who has published 21 books, with the 22nd one coming out much later this year, I thought that I would talk to you today about ARC readers. I know that it might be pretty common knowledge what they are and what they mean, but in case you don't know, ARC stands for Advanced Review Copy and is basically an earlier version of your book that goes out just before release allowing for you to have reviews, hopefully, come release day.

I've been doing ARCs for about ten years now and while I don't have a massive team, and therefore might not have the best advice when it comes to approaching people, I wanted to delve into things that have worked for me. I do have a small team of readers who have pretty much told me that they'll read anything I publish, and I have had some luck in keeping them through differing genres and the like.


This feels like the best and biggest tip that anyone can give you. If you're looking for ARC readers, then you want to make sure that you attract the people who actually read your genre and category. There is zero point in pitching a YA book to people who only ever read adult, who only ever read fantasy when you've got a crime/mystery. The point of ARC readers is to have people who would normally read your genre and category and would happily recommend it to others like them.

So step one has to be knowing that audience. Part of knowing them is finding out where they would normally hang out. Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? You get the point. If you're looking for YA it's probably on the last, if it's more adult romance, then it'll be the first. While Facebook groups are a great way of bringing like minded people together, you don't have to only use them. Know your audience, know where to find them, and attract people who will want to read your book.


The big thing that I don't think many people talk about is that even if you have 15 ARC readers, that doesn't lead to 15 reviews on release day or thereabouts. There are always going to be some people who either don't read in time, or just don't like the book, or just don't read full stop. It sucks, but it's part of it. I don't think I've ever had a situation where every one of my ARC readers has read, reviewed, and the like for any book.

This is why it's better to have a larger group so that if some don't follow through, you're not stuck with either zero reviews or low reviews. Of course I know that when you're first starting out, or even when you're a smaller fish, it's hard to attract a lot of people. I don't always manage it either and sometimes that means that a book I've worked really hard on, just doesn't get the reviews which reflects badly on it. It sucks, not going to tell you otherwise, but it's good to know these things in advance.


This is something I see a lot of authors doing, and that's pinging every week before release day with all the links and the like. In my experience, both as an author and as an ARC reader, this can feel a bit excessive and be more than just a reminder or a nudge, but an annoyance. Now, for some readers, I know that kind of thing will be welcome so consider that too, but me personally? I don't like it. I will send out an email just before release day and then to anyone who hasn't reviewed the week after and if I don't hear back, I figure it's not going to happen.

You're the only one who can make that personal choice of when and how often to follow up. I know some people just don't bother and that works for them, and that's great. But for me, it's only every on the day itself or the week after.

So those are my thoughts on approaching ARC readers. They're a necessary part of writing, releasing and publishing and they can be both a massive success or something that just doesn't work out. I wish you all the luck with it!

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 January 2024

Review of Curse Of The Orkney Sea by Joy Jarrett

Morag’s summer trip with her family and friends to a castle in Orkney, Scotland could fix all her problems. There's no way her parents will keep fighting once they're back in the place they honeymooned. Her best friend's hot brother will have to notice her when they spend months together. That AP art class she has to retake? She'll pass it this time, now that she's thought of the best theme for her portfolio: Orkney mythology.

Only it doesn't take Morag much time on the island to suspect Orkney mythology might be less myth and more fact. Strange lights in the water, odd footprints in the castle, and shadowy figures are only the beginning. It's obvious the islanders are frightened of something in the sea, and that Morag’s family are unwelcome.

As the summer solstice approaches, Morag’s problems condense down to one: Get everyone off the island—alive. But the only way that can happen is if Morag figures out who she truly is before time runs out.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because it sounded like a book that would be good for a spooky nights reading. I fell in love with Morag and her family, as well as the other characters and was on the edge of my seat when it came to the mystical things happening on the island. I adored the medical twist, the new pieces of mythology and the way the story pulled you in and almost played out in front of your eyes. The characters were engaging, the islanders all unique and relatable in their own ways and the way the plot twisted this way and that before coming together for a delightful conclusion. Overall an amazing story 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

Tuesday 9 January 2024


Harriet doesn't have much to relieve her stress, but music always helps...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/DUKN

[ID: A light brown background with the title DESTINATION: UNKNOWN at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

First though, I was going to play. I picked up the song book I was using and picked a song at random, checking that I knew the chords and softly strummed along to the tune in my head. I didn’t sing when I played and although some people used it to keep time, I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t sing because I didn’t like anything to get in the way of the sound and because I didn’t want to disturb Mum. I could make my strums quiet and soft, but a voice had the ability to carry to another room.
I must have played for about forty-five minutes and as I did, I felt my coil go to being just a piece of wire. I really need to stop with this metaphor; I was feeling less stressed and anxious basically!

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


Monday 8 January 2024

Taking Time Away From Writing - The Creative Process


It's a new year and this will be my last month of writing the current projects I'm on. I have two more to write after that and then I plan to take some time away from drafting itself and delve into the revising and editing process. It's a lot to put together. The way that I've juggled drafting and revising and editing before has always worked for me, but this time around I knew that I needed to spend and apply more time and energy to one rather than the other.

It's not that I will never draft again. I'm sure that after about a year of all the revising I will be itching to dive into a couple of new projects and pick back up with writing the way I have done for a number of years, but that I know that in order to do at least two of my past projects justice when it comes to the editing and publishing train, I need to spend a lot more time working and reworking them. Part of being a writer is about knowing where to spend your time best and for me, this means saying goodbye to new stories for the time being and putting it all on older ones.

Saying that it doesn't mean that I won't be writing. Both of the projects I'm thinking of will need extensive rewrites and the only way for me to do that, given that I plan to cut one of them by about 40K words, is to dive in and get lost in the twists and turns, refine my revision technique and allow myself to really immerse myself into the worlds, the characters and the story that I very much want to tell.

At the time of writing this, the year is starting to wind down and I'm looking forward to a new one starting. I want, like most writers, to get all my ducks in a row and make sure that I know what I'm going to be doing moving forward. I want to be able to know the plan of attack and while I shouldn't, if all goes to plan, stop drafting until June or July time. I should, hopefully, have a nice plan of how to switch from one writing muscle to the other.

There's nothing wrong with needing time away from writing for other reasons too. This is my personal one, the need to focus on a different kind of craft, but I know that for some writers, they have other, completely valid reasons, for wanting to take that time away. The key is that only you can decide what you need, only you can decide how you work and what works for you, and only you can really be the one to make those kinds of decisions when it comes to your own writing journey.

I've been planning this break for a couple of years now. I would get closer to it and flip flop between whether I wanted to do it, or whether I was going to change my mind and let the chips fall where they may. In the end I've gone with what works for me, and that is to take this break, but always allow myself to move onto other things if the need arises. I may be strict with myself when it comes to planning my time and everything else, but I also know that sometimes there are stories you need to tell, and the only way to get them told is to sit down, pull up a page and just write to your heart's content.

So whatever your own personal reasoning for taking that break, remember that you are the one who knows you best, and that you don't have to offer any kind of explanation for anyone. You write what and when you need to, and do things your way, because looking after yourself has to be the top priority.

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 January 2024

Review of The Crown Heist by Elise Hennessy

It was supposed to be a simple heist.

When I trip a magical trap at the end of a routine theft, I’m left to take the fall. Instead of losing my hand, I receive a visit from the headmaster of the local reform school, who makes an offer I can’t refuse: to enroll in the Radcliffe-Stone Institute for Troubled Youth.

I choose to follow him to RSI and don the uniform. Everyone knows an RSI kid from the emblem on our clothes, but they don’t realize the secrets that the school’s four walls hide. The dregs of our society go in and no one questions what happens after the doors close behind us, but I find out firsthand.

RSI is simply a front for the identification and recruitment of spies from a young age and I’m a prime candidate, as long as I can overcome my anxiety and train up a crew from my peers.

We couldn’t be more different: a thief, a geek, a fighter, a wildcard, and a gossip. But when my failed heist comes to haunt me, I’ll need their help more than ever.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because I liked the sound of the story. From page one I was pulled in as Mouse attempted a heist that was only going to go wrong. Hennessy has a way of drawing out the world and making you feel as if you’re completely immersed in it. I loved the characters, the twists and turns, and the way the story just spoke to me and made me feel like I was watching it play out in front of me. It’s a series that I will be continuing and a great story that is well written and expertly engaging. 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 2 January 2024



Tara was trying to do everything she can to find her friend...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/DTFW

[ID: A dark background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FOURTH WEEK at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

“Yes, ‘ah’. You want to tell me why you broke every rule and took it even after I’d told you not to?”
“I needed it.”
“What for?”
“I needed to check to see if I had any visions from it, if I could tell where she was. I figured that the sooner you knew she was dead, the sooner we could get to work on finding her and the bastard that took her and killed her.”
“You broke the chain of evidence, Tara. That phone is now useless to us in court.”

At the very top is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, 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 1 January 2024

Why I Love My Job - The Creative Process


Happy New Year!! I hope this year is good to you and it brings you all you wish for and more. I wanted to start the year on a positive note since it feels like that would be a good idea. So I thought I would talk about why I love being an indie author, and how much joy it brings me. While there are always going to be some pitfalls when it comes to writing and working in general, the majority of the time it's a case of rolling up to my desk and being very happy that I get to be an author.

I didn't ever grow up with the childhood wish to be a writer or an author. I knew what I wanted to be, and that was a doctor. It, obviously, didn't work out. My health was terrible and my grades and attendance at college were the same, and I ended up dropping out before the first term was complete. I went into the working world then, but also, did I mention my health was terrible? That didn't last either, and then I kinda fell into writing, and thought, back then, that maybe it could be the thing I did for both myself, and also to sell books and make money.

Saying that, I have always told stories. I could tell you about the books I wrote with friends at secondary school. Or I could tell you about the stories I would scribble down for relatives, but there were always stories inside me. I just didn't really think it was something I could do for a living. In some ways it was falling sick, well sicker because I've always had my lung condition, that allowed me to see that being creative was something I could do.

It wasn't easy, but I don't really think anyone goes into any creative pursuit thinking that it'll be easy, not really, if they think about it seriously and they take it seriously, then there's always that voice in the back of your head that tells you that this is gonna be hard. It's stayed hard in some ways and gotten easier in others. I adore the stories I've told and published, and I adore the ones that are still in first draft state and will, hopefully, one day become published.

There are lows, yes, but today I want to focus on the highs. I love getting to tell stories, love getting to know my characters. I create worlds, and plots, and conflict, and love, and I get to do it all, and get paid for doing so. I get to shine a light on certain aspects of humanity through using futuristic worlds, or even the one we have right now. I get to meet readers, people who have read my work and felt something for it. I get to sign books, books that once existed in my mind only and are now out there on paper, with a cool cover and sitting on people's bookshelves. Sometimes they're people I know and other times, they aren't, and to be that just seems amazing!

I love that writing has opened up new avenues to me. I have done signings, I have done talks, and I have enjoyed every single one. I've also had to push myself outside of my comfort zone, because this Joey is not one that likes to speak to a crowd or strangers, but because of writing, I need to, and that allows me to bloom and grow.

Overall, yes there are lows, like I said above, and it's not easy, but I wouldn't want to do any other kind of job, not that I think I would be capable of doing so because as a writer, I can write at 4am and do my work and then curl back up, whereas working a conventional job just wouldn't be feasible with the limited window of working time I have.

I just love being an author!

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.