Monday 22 April 2024

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: No Wrong Way To Write

THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: NO WRONG WAY TO WRITE

If there's one thing that grinds my gears when it comes to writing advice, no matter what speciality the author is referring to, it's the idea that you have to do it a certain way or you're doing it wrong. The only genre that I can think of that has a proviso that if the author doesn't meet, it's not in that genre, is romance, and that proviso is the happy ever after. If the couple do not stay together by the end of the book, not a romance. Simple, right? But every other genre pretty much can be that genre without any big provisos.

I mean, before someone comes for me in the comments, yes, you need genre standards, like a crime, needs some kind of crime main plot. A sci-fi needs some of the futuristic and science fiction plot. I could go on, but I think you get my point. All of that aside, there is no wrong way to write a crime novel. So long as the plot is there, there's no wrong way to do it. You can tell it from one perspective or several. You can reveal the killer/bad guy at the start and just have everyone else trying to work out who it is. If you can think of it, it's probably been done before, and it's not wrong to do it that way.

The reason it annoys me is that too much of the time, writing advice is framed as: this is my way, therefore the best way, and also the only way. And that's just not true. There are so many different ways to plan, to plot, to draft, to revise, to edit, and that's not even getting into the details within the book. There is no wrong way to do any part of the writing process, except, possibly, skipping over things like the professional edit and the like, but even then, that's a choice you, as the author, make, and your readers will let you know what they think about that.

I've been writing seriously since I was 19, I'm 42 now, and I gotta say, there have been a lot of 'wrong' ways about the way I approach everything from drafting, to revision, to genres, to the fact that I have one name and publish all my young adult books under it, even though they're not all the same genre. I have been doing it 'wrong' for almost 19 years, but you know what? My readers love my work. I'm not going to exclaim that I'm a best seller, because I'm not, but the stories those books were written for, they hit home, they achieve their goals, and they are the exact stories they were meant to be, and that counts for something.

But this isn't about my mistakes or wrongness, but about showing that you can write any way you please, and it's not wrong. The beauty of humanity is that we are all different and we all approach things differently. Like I've said before, you and I could have the exact same idea, like everything the same from plot, to characters, to setting, to genre and tropes, and the books we write? They will be wildly different. Because we do not all think and write the same. Neither one of us would be wrong in the way we told that story, because it's the right way for us, personally, to tell it, and anyone trying to convince you otherwise, they are very much wrong.

I could go on and on about this, and I really don't want to be wasting your time, but it really is something that I want to spread far and wide. No matter what genre, or age category you're writing, you can't write it wrong because that is impossible. I got my start with two wildly different books. One was a thriller, which ended up being my debut, the other was a mash-up of light urban fantasy and contemporary. They were for very different audiences and they both ended up published by me, but the point is that you can't do this wrong. They were the stories I wanted to tell, and I did so to the best of my ability then. Would I tell the same stories in the exact same manner now? Nope, because I have grown as a writer, but those stories haven't been written wrong, they are just a snapshot of where I was in my writing career at that time.

So take a breath, remember that you literally can't do this wrong, and tell your stories, no matter what they may be.

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 April 2024

Review of Shadow Realms by Kelly Carrero

In order to defeat a monster, one must become a monster.

Vampires live amongst us, feeding off the innocent and succumbing to the demons controlling their desires.

I tried to pretend they didn’t exist—until the government kidnapped my brother because he holds the genetic making for the cure to eradicate the vampire disease from the world.

Or so they claim.

I know their true motives, and there’s no way I’m going to let them keep him without a fight. Unfortunately, there’s only one way I can become strong enough to go up against them.

Become a vampire myself.

Except, I never expected to come across a ghost from my past who happens to hunt vampires. Now, infiltrating the hunter world, I’m surrounded by those who want to kill me and only a few who want to save me.

But I’ll do whatever it takes to save my little brother. Even become the monster I vowed to kill.

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked up this book knowing that I wasn’t really a big fan of vampire stories but the blurb sounded interesting and the story itself appealed to me. From the moment I read the first page, I was hooked. I needed to know what was going to happen to Kali, to her brother, to everyone involved. I adored the twists and turns, loved the characterisation of all of the characters, and the way this wasn’t the usual paranormal book with vampires that I was used to. It had more dystopian vibes for me, but in a world where vampires are the problem. Very much looking forward to diving into the second book 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 16 April 2024

#TeaserTuesday

Tara is learning things about her mother that she never knew...

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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 below the title. The except reads:

It made some sense to start at the beginning so I opened it up and began to read my mother’s curvy handwriting.
July 11th
It happened again and so I decided then that I’d better start writing it all down somewhere. It’s not like I can talk to Colin about it. This must have been how my grandmother felt. At least I know what is happening to me. I wonder if Tara will have it too? Or if it will skip a generation like it did with me. At least I’ll be able to warn her about them – the way my Grandmother did with me. I couldn’t imagine not knowing what it all meant.

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 15 April 2024

Spoonie Writer: Doing What Works For You

SPOONIE WRITER: DOING WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

I sometimes come to these posts when they pop up in my queue of ideas, and I find myself wondering if I'm too repetitive. I know that I've talked about these kinds of things before, but I also know that every week when I post, I reach new people who might not want to go through my backlog of posts, and might need to hear something others already have.

So in that regard, for those who don't know, I'm both a spoonie, as in chronically ill, and disabled. I've been an author for almost 19 years, and I've written almost 50 first drafts, with my 22nd book coming out this year. I've been doing this since 2005 and while I won't go into my publishing story, because that would be repetitive, I will just say that indie works for me and I can't see myself ever going the traditional route. I am seen by many as successful and organised, and a machine when it comes to writing, and while I don't know if I agree with the first, the organised label does fit me very well.

I've always been a big advocate in taking the breaks you need, resting when possible, and also just making sure that you, as a spoonie/disabled writer, or even as someone healthy and abled, take care of yourself. The big thing about being an author/writer is that only you can tell your stories the exact way that you tell them. I could have the exact same idea as you, and I'm not going to be able to tell it the same way you would. So it mattes to keep yourself as able to write as much as is possible.

When I do pieces like this, I am, mostly, talking to those who, like me, have some kind of chronic illness that limits their energy, time, and ability to work. That said, I think there are some abled and healthy writers who could really learn from what I have to say because I see some of them making massive mistakes when it comes to how they set themselves up for failure.

No one wants to burn out. No one wants anyone to burn out. I've been there, and it's not great. It's not something that helps anyone, but especially yourself. If, like me, you have the urge to keep telling your stories, then having to spend months recovering after overdoing it, is not a nice thing. Of course, the spoonies reading this might have experienced something similar with flares that keep them away from working because their bodies went nope, and they have no choice but to rest, recover, and try again in a few days or weeks or even months.

This is why, to me at least, it's so very important to make sure that you don't overload yourself. Piling all the things on your shoulders, whether spoonie or not, it's only going to end up with you overwhelmed and maybe in a place where you can't find yourself back to the writing pace you were going at before.

I've always been someone who's organised. It depends on the task as to how organised I am. Like these blog posts get written the month before they're supposed to go live, but as far as vlog scripts for authortube, those are written a lot more in advance. It's just the way my mind works. I am always preparing for that time when I won't be able to do the things I need to, to stay on track. The same goes for the authortube videos, all prepped a month in advance. But when it comes to writing, that's obviously not done a month in advance and I don't overly plan my sessions. In that regard, I'm more of a discovery writer than a planner, though I will have the occasional note or thought to myself about where things could go as I move through the draft. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.

But my point is not that because I am organised and plan my time, that you therefore have to. It's very much about doing what works for you. It's about making sure that you don't overload yourself. It's about making sure that you stick to the way of working that works for you. I don't mean never branch out or try something new, but to do it slowly, to do it in stages, to see how things go before taking a hard left turn and just ending up with a whole lot on your plate that you don't know what to do with.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, spoonie/chronically ill/disabled life is life on hard mode. Don't make it harder for yourself by adding things to your plate that don't need to be there, or even that you know will not work for you. It's okay to take time, it's okay to do what works for you, and it's okay to not be chasing the same word counts or published books at a time, as someone else. We all work differently, and that's great, it's an awesome part of the human condition.

Again, said this before, but bears repeating, it takes as long as it takes, and that's okay! Happy 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 12 April 2024

Review of Beasts & Blades by Amanda Kaye

If the assassin doesn’t kill him, I will.

Destitute and determined, Julietta has a chance to save her family—if she can keep from strangling the arrogant prince she’s hired to protect. Devereaux is rude. Annoying. Infuriating. He wants nothing to do with her, but she’s glued to his side until his attacker is caught. Being snowed in together at a remote palace only sharpens their simmering tempers.

But the more time she spends with him, the more Julietta wonders if there might actually be a heart beneath his beastly exterior. And that could be even more dangerous…

Torn between love and her family, will Julietta risk everything for a chance at her own happily ever after?
 
My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because it sounded like a delightful way to spend the evening, lost in a wintery world of danger, intrigue and love, and I was not disappointed. I adored Julietta and loved watching and reading as she fell in love with the prince. The twists and turns throughout the story kept you turning the page and wanting to know more and more. That third act was nailbilting and made me swoon with the ending. Overall an amazing book and an author I will happily read again and again and 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
 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

#TeaserTuesday

 

Tally is starting to remember things about that fateful night...

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

“And the other kids?”
“Oh, they were all indwelt with Satan while I was away.” I reckon they started a cult and took my dad with them.
“You look tired. You want a drink?”
“I got you a drink, Tally. Don’t look so shocked. I’m a nice person even if you don’t hang with our crowd.”
Huh? Where did that come from? I don’t remember someone ever saying that to me. Is this another piece of my puzzle?
“Tally?” Connie asked.
“Huh? Yeah?” I replied, trying to pinpoint that ‘memory’.

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,  and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday 8 April 2024

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Keeping Healthy Practices

THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: KEEPING HEALTHY PRACTICES

One thing I learned very early on in my career was that there were many ways to be an indie author, and a writer. Some of them worked for a lot of people, and others just didn't. Some were 'healthy' ways, and some led the way to burnout, stress, and just all round not having a good time. It took me a very very long time, more time that it should have, to realise that I wanted to base my way of working around the healthy ways and not the ones that left me in literal tears, pulling my hair out, and just never finishing things and stressed to the max.

Now I know it's not as simple as me just saying that, one thing that is great about writers, and humans in general, is we all work differently. We all have different thought processes, different ways of doing things, and different things that will trigger stress, anxiety, and of course the worst one, burnout. So I know it's not a case of me telling anyone to do it my way and all will be sorted, because for a lot of people, my way is not healthy, and that's okay. It's all about what works for you.

I think it's very important to keep in mind that however you personally work, there will be people who approach things in a similar way, but no one will write and schedule and plan and all the rest in the exact same way as you do, and that's okay. That's normal. It's all about keeping that in mind, trying this and that, lifting parts of someone else's way of doing things, and combining it with a completely different way, and all of that trial and error to get to the point where you find the way that works for you.

I'm not just talking about the writing here either. That is a part of being an author, indie or trad, but it's not the only part. There's the marketing, and the promo, and the editing, and revising, and all the other many things that authors have to do to keep on top of things. I know recently there's been a lot of the us and them talk when it comes to indie and traditional, but for me, they've never been my competition, or my enemy. I went one path, they went the other, and it's all good.

So I'd advise that you leave that kind of thinking at the door, and focus more on how you can all work together. I have good friends who are trad pub, and good friends who are indie, and working together allows for us all to hone our craft and all of us to help bounce off each other and the like. It's not a competition where we have to 'defeat' or 'win'. There are more than enough readers to go around, and that's the beauty of publishing.

But back to the healthy practices! I'm not going to go into how I work, it's something I've talked about a lot before, and it feels like it would be repeating myself to the detriment of the people reading this. I will say that you have to be careful not to overload yourself when it comes to figuring out how you do this. Whether that's working out your own kind of writing routine, or your own way of doing revisions and edits, or even how you choose to approach the marketing beast, everyone had to have their own way to do that, and again, it's normal.

But when you're first starting to dip your toe into the indie life, you might find that you're kinda overwhelmed, there's the covers to deal with, the many editors to find, and then formatting and promo, and it's all just a bit of a lot. It's okay to need to take your time and wok slow. While there's a lot of talk of releasing a lot at once, or in quick succession, it doesn't have to be like that. Yes, it will take longer to build up your readership, but you are not in a race with anyone but yourself. So make sure you take care of you as well, because other wise, what's the point? If you burnout, that's gonna be a whole chunk of time when you can't do anything and it's not going to help matters.

So if I had to nail it down to one of two pieces of wisdom and advice, it would be start slow, take lots of breaks, and make sure you listen to your body. If you need to take breaks, that's okay. If you need to switch gears midway through, also okay. The most important thing in this process is making sure you stay as healthy as possible, and as able to continue as possible. That's only going to come from taking care of you.

I know that for some people there's this rush to publish and get the readers, and that's great, but rushing through just leaves you open for mistakes that might end up damaging you more than they help. Take it from someone who did make those mistakes when they first started, you don't want to be taking literal years to try and rebuild from the ground up.

Remember to breathe, remember to give yourself space, and time, and keep 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 5 April 2024

Review of A Dance Of Blood And Destiny by KRS McEntire

Can an exiled princess save a broken kingdom?

The Aolani Kingdom is under attack. If murderous bandits don’t destroy the peaceful and prosperous fae community, then kingdom politics and family drama will. Eighteen-year-old Princess Kaia is done bending to the will of her overbearing mother who thinks an arranged marriage with a powerful elven prince can save the kingdom from being ransacked by assassins, bandits, and rogues. She’s done hiding her forbidden romance with her vampire boyfriend. If Kaia’s father was still around, she suspects he’d grant her the freedom to choose her own path in life and love. But he’s been missing for years and presumed dead. While estranged from the royal family, Kaia learns that information about her father's disappearance might be found on the island of Elderton, where the deadly Eldritch Trials take place. Now Kaia must enter the trials to learn the truth about her father, prove herself a worthy queen, and save her Kingdom from all who stand against it.
 

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because I've read from this author before and always loved the result. I adored this book, with all the different ways the plot twisted and turned and brought about a delightful ending that left you wanting more from these characters. McEntire has a way of spinning worlds into reality and allows you to get lost in her words. 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 April 2024

#TeaserTuesday

Jonah wants to believe in hope, but it's just too difficult to manage...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/INVISIBLE01

[ID: A blue double helix background with the title INVISIBLE at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just below the title. The except reads:

Jackson took my hand. “There may be others. It's only been half an hour they could still get out.”
I took small comfort of his hand in mine. In the blink of an eye, our whole world had changed and I wasn't sure that I would ever be able to process that. But for now, I would have to hope he was right and that more people would slip out of the smoky building. I couldn't believe anyone still in there had time left.

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,  and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

 

Monday 1 April 2024

Balancing The Creative With The Business

BALANCING THE CREATIVE WITH THE BUSINESS

It's hard sometimes, to know how to both put your best foot forward, but also stay true to yourself, your work, your books and everything else. I can't, and won't, claim to be an expert at marketing or being an author or running a business because I don't have massive sales to back me up, and while I do feel like I reach my audience a lot of the time, I don't think I've made it as an author, but maybe that's because the goalposts keep getting moved? Who knows!

At the end of the day, being an author, indie or otherwise, involves having to have some business sides of your work. I can write books, and all of that but if people don't know about them, how are they going to buy them? So I have social media, and I have my posts there, and my videos on YouTube, and these blog posts and everything else that I do to keep my name out there, and to keep people aware of who I am, and what I'm doing, but sometimes it's very hard to keep that going, while also trying to keep that creative well refilled and such.

I promise that I'm not here to complain about author life and promoting. I'm here to basically give you some of my tips on how to balance being both creative and the admin/business side of things. I can't promise to be an expert, but these are things that have worked for me.

#1 SCHEDULES ARE YOUR FRIEND

I know that for a lot of people, schedules don't work. They either have a lot of things going on in their lives that they have no control over. Like kids, or a day job, or other time commitments, or their brain just doesn't work like that, and that's okay. If it's something you've tried and it hasn't worked, maybe my other tips will help.

But for me, the way I got into a stage where I could balance both writing and all the other things I needed to do author wise, was making sure that I had a schedule. Either a planner spread that told me what and when I should be doing things. Or on my iPad calender, keeping a note of other admin things that I gotta do. That way I can batch, which I will talk about in a moment, and I know what I'm supposed to be doing when.

#2 BATCHING CONTENT WORKS
Now again, if you don't have a lot of time, you might not be able to do this one either, but I found that making all of the next month's stuff in the previous month helps me so much. I write vlog scripts for the next month, I write blog posts for the next month. I make all my promo images a month in advance. I record all my authortube videos a month in advance (where possible) and I make sure that as much as I'm able, I stick to the plan.

Now sometimes life happens and you just can't. As someone with several chronic illnesses, I know that my body doesn't always let me do the things on the planned day and I have to move things around to manage it, but I do find that if I manage to get it done, it helps clear the decks for those days when those things are due to go live. I don't have to panic about making time on a Monday to write a blog post. I don't have to rush around on a Wednesday to get my video recorded, edited, uploaded, captioned. It all just works really well a making sure I have more time to get on with writing.

#3 LIMITING TIME CAN HELP
I don't know about you but I sometimes struggle to make sure that I don't spend hours on YouTube, or Threads, or Blue Sky and while away working, i.e writing, time on playing around with my socials. So I have a rule. I'm allowed to go on at certain points and do things, and once I'm done with work, I can spend as much time as I like there, but during that blessed writing time? Only if something is due to be posted, and even then, it can be put off.

This has really helped me get to grips with doing things only when I have time for them. It stops me from getting dragged into social media and losing a whole bunch of time doing not much. So either having a limit, or telling yourself it's a reward for finishing, can be a great idea, and you gotta be strict with yourself about it.

So yeah those are three of my tips when it comes to balancing creative time while also doing all the things you gotta do as an author that aren't writing. I hope they help!

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.