Author spotlight – Joey Paul – Author of the Dying Thoughts series

Today, we’ll be meeting a gutsy, amazing young author who blows me away with her talent and positive outlook. Meet Joey Paul, YA and paranormal author. 

Joey, we’d love to know you better. Tell us a bit about your life … 

Before I was born, my parents had decided that since my mum had named my brother, my dad would name me. So I came alone and I was Samantha, then when he left for the registry office, I was Rowena. When he came back, I was Joanne! I use the name “Joey” because it’s been a name I’ve become known by since I was about twelve.

I’m from Swindon, in the UK. I’m thirty-three and live in a lovely historic house with my best friend from school, B, and her ten year old daughter, Miss D. I am also disabled with several chronic conditions. B became my carer when I first got sick with M.E in 2001. We have four cats – two each – and following a tradition I started at fifteen, my two are named after types of pasta: Miss Penne, and Miss Spaghetti, who’s called Hetti for short.

I use a wheelchair 90% of the time and have been for the past few years, though I’ve been using a wheelchair part time since 2002. I have a brilliant electric chair that means I can go geocaching whenever we’re able. It’s basically a world wide treasure hunt using GPS satellites to find the goods! The rest of the time I have my lovely manual chair, which gets me from place to place inside the house and outside too!

Now you know why I’m in awe of this woman. She is a fantastic writer too. Tell us about your books, Joey …

I have completed twelve books, am writing books thirteen and fourteen and plan to continue to release one a year. Of those twelve, six are part of a series, and six are standalones. I have seven books out as ebooks, and I’m hoping to release the majority of them as paperbacks this year too. I generally write YA crime, mystery and paranormal fiction, though I have written a contemporary romance as well as one that’s mostly general fiction.

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The series I write is the Dying Thoughts series, and the fourth one will be released in the coming weeks. My plan is to have the pre-order link live for the 14th August when I have the cover reveal, and then to release it by the end of August. The majority of my books are told in first person, though one is third and another two are switching points of view.

You are one of my favourite authors… who are your favourites …

I love to read a variety of genres, but my favourite has to be crime and mystery. I also like to delve into romance, historical fiction, fanatasy, paranormal and all brands of young adult. I find it very difficult to whittle it down to just one author, so I will just say that I love the alphabet series by Sue Grafton, everything that Harlan Coben has written, as well as other mainstream authors. I have a few favourites in the indie world as well, Jana Petken, Jalpa Williby, Angie Martin, Lindy Spencer and many many more!

What started you writing? How old were you? Who or what was your inspiration?

I started writing seriously at the age of 19. I had gotten diagnosed with M.E and Fibromyalgia, been retired from my job on medical grounds and told that I would probably never hold a conventional job again. I had moved out of my place as I wasn’t able to afford the rent with no income, and I ended up living with a friend – it was B actually. I had already written my first “book” at the age of 13, and then tore it apart at 19, desperate for it to be better than it was. Once that was done, I sat down and wrote what became my debut novel, Blackout, in ten days. That started the whole process. I was first published in 2003, and then became indie in 2010.

I do remember writing stories at school, usually with the help of a friend or two. Some of them I look back on fondly and others I leave in the dark recess of my mind because they were that bad! My nightmares are people finding those, but I seem to have the only copies, which is the main thing!

I find inspiration from my life, and from watching other people out of the window of my office. I’ve used friends, family and strangers to inspire characters, and some of the things that have happened in my books are parts of my own life.

That’s fascinating. Taking inspiration from your life is a bit like baring your soul, I feel and that is brave. Not many authors can do that. You have written quite a few books. Let’s take a look at some, shall we …

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I know that authors usually have a routine to their writing, something that sets the mood, something that keeps the little grey cells turning… What’s your secret …

When I first started seriously writing, I wrote in pen, on a pad and then in the evening, I would type it all up, correcting and adding more as I went. I kept that up until my fifth book, at which point the Fibromyalgia had caused my hands to cramp so badly when I held a pen that it was becoming impossible to write. That’s when I made the switch full time to the computer. Since then, I have acquired a tablet and so I’ve been able to write on that in bed when the pain or other issues are too bad.

I like to try and write something every day. It doesn’t always happen though! I am very lucky that when we moved here, there was an extra room that I could use as an office, and I do the majority of my writing there. I usually sit with a cup of tea and then see what I can get done. I prefer to do my writing when Miss D is at school so that I can think in the silence, but obviously it doesn’t always work like that.

What is your most used social media platform and why?

Probably Facebook, though I also use other sites that then post to my Facebook page. I do like Tsu as it seems to get my posts seen by more people.

Do you blog too? I’m sure readers would love to know your thoughts and insights …

I do! It can be found here:

Your favorite review? 

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My favourite review has to be the five star one I got for Lynne & Hope from a book blog. It can be found here:

I haven’t read Lynne and Hope. I should pick it up …

Your ‘Yes, I’m an author” moment?

My first one had to be holding Blackout in my hands when it was first published.

Product DetailsIt was an awesome feeling to know that this story that had been in my head since I was fifteen was now out in the world. After that it had to be my first review!

I can totally feel you 🙂 

Your covers are rather brilliant, Joey. Who designed your covers? 

My best friend and carer, B, does all the drawings for my covers. The majority of them have had a make-over, with just two left to do. My hope is that by the end of the year, they’ll all be all nice and shiny!

Cheers to that!!

What’s your favorite book made into a movie? 

Probably the Harry Potter books. While I love the Hunger Games and other dystopian novels that have made it to the big screen, Harry Potter has a place close to my heart and I’ll always love those.

Harry Potter is one of my favourites too. That woman I tell you, I feel if I can just breathe the air she breathes, maybe I’ll get infected with her imagination… 🙂

Any sneak peeks at future projects?

I’m writing two books at the moment. One is the seventh in the Dying Thoughts series, and the other is a standalone set in the year 2050. It’s a crime YA book which sees the ability to walk a mile in someone’s shoes literally turned to murder.


What cause is dear to your heart and why? 

As someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia, the cause nearest my heart has to be The Fibroduck Foundation who are aiming to raise money for biomedical research into the cause of Fibromyalgia and ways to treat and hopefully one day, cure it. Their website can be found here:

Here is some quirkiness…have a blast …

If you were a Disney princess which one would you be and why?

Probably Ariel. I’m a lot freer in the water, but on the ground, I’m unable to do much. I love swimming and getting out of my chair and being able to move and float.

What song is your current favourite?

Probably Plain White T’s – Write You A Song

If you have a genre to describe yourself what would it be? 

It would probably be a mix of a medical thriller and a mystery J

Oooh! Hear that, people, a wild combination!

If you could meet one author who would it be?

It would be a hard choice between Harlan Coben and Sue Grafton.

Have you had a paranormal experience?

I have! In 2006, I met someone who was a really close friend. Her name was Jessie and she had severe M.E, to the point where she was paralysed, bed bound, tube-fed and unable to talk. We would send each other long texts. I would send one every morning when I dropped Miss D off at pre-school and she would reply through the day before sending me a long one at night. In December 2008, she died. I didn’t find out until a few days later when B read about it in the paper. Her legal name was different and so B didn’t know she was basically showing me an article about my friend. I recognised her photo and connected the dots. I was devastated. However, the night before, I’d had a dream that she’d come and walked along with me through a beach. Neither one of us could walk that distance (she couldn’t at all, and by that time it was too much for me.) She told me that all would be okay, and that she was happy. I didn’t think anything of it until I read the news article. I don’t know if it was just one of those things that my brain cooked up, or if it really was her. But it did provide me with some comfort.

That is a truly amazing experience, Joey! We’ll leave you with that pleasant memory. We are so happy to have spent time with you and wish you all the best with your latest book. Here’s Joey’s latest offering, folks. 


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Here are the buy links for her new book :



Pick it up!

Thanks so much for having me Jan, some really good questions and I’ve enjoyed them immensely!


Bells on her toes by Diana J. Febry

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I love this author. As a huge fan of mysteries, with bodies and without, and having grown up on a diet of Dick Francis and Ruth Rendell, Diana J. Febry’s books are right up my street. They are the kind of books that you can easily finish in one sitting. I love the racing background, there’s just something about horses that draws me in.

But the reason that I pick up this author’s books is for the intriguing read. It is murder mystery at its best with suspenseful murders, enough clues dropped to keep you guessing, and let me warn you that you will be guessing till the end. She manages to give the tale a final twist and as always surprises you when she wraps it up.

The characters are written very well and DCI Peter Hatherall and DI Fiona Williams come with their own baggage which is delicately interwoven into the main story. The background life of these investigative officers makes them very real and you want to know what is happening in their lives. I realised that I’ve missed them when I picked up this book. It’s been a while since I read her last book and felt like I was catching up with their lives. I’m as hooked by what is going on in their lives as I am with the murder itself.

Add to this a whole lot of, not side stories, but more of interesting background of other issues and you will be riveted till you finish. Pick up one of her books and you will want to read them all!

Meet S.J. McGran – Author of the Triumph Series – and check out her new book, releasing tomorrow!

Hi S.J., let’s get to know you – tell us something about yourself

My name is S.J McGran. I am from Toledo, OH. I have a husband and two fur-babies, Spirit (puppy) and Grandy (cat). I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Public Relations.

I am obsessed with black and white photography, the Detroit Tigers, coffee, dark chocolate, pizza, ice cream, and craft beer. When I’m not writing or reading, I am probably walking my pup, playing disc golf with the hubs, playing softball, or generally doing something active. Although, I am by no means healthy. I mean, did you see some of my favorite foods? 😉

Ha, ha, you’re talking to a foodie. A little birdie told me that you have a new book coming out any day now?tears

My newest release, Peace by Piece, is a standalone, contemporary romance about a couple that has to face a tough decision. Levi Tillman has to decide what to do when he finds out the woman he loves, Genevieve Weston, only has one year to live.

Buy Links:


Barnes & Noble:




Createspace (paperbacks):

That is amazing. Congratulations! And all the best! Do tell us about your other books.

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I write contemporary and new adult romance.

The Triumph series is three books: Vanquish, Conquer, and Prevail. The series is about overcoming your pasts, fears, addictions, and doubts. Each book has overlapping characters, but features a new lead couple, so you do not have to read the series in order, however I would recommend doing so.

Hear that people, get your hands on these great reads this summer, or any time of the year, actually. I’m sure you have quite a following, S.J. But who do you follow? Who are your favourite authors, what are your favourite reads?

I am definitely a romance reader. From time to time, I will read something outside of my comfort zone, but rarely. My favorite authors are Kendall Ryan, JA Redmerski, Tessa Teevan, Gail McHugh, and AL Jackson.

If I had to pick a favorite book(s), I would have to go with the Edge of Never and the Edge of Always by JA Redmerski as they are probably the two I’ve read the most.

Your journey as a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing in school, in fact it is why I chose the major I did. At one point in my life, I thought I’d write children’s books. I may still do that someday, however right now I’m on a completely different path.

I wrote my first book in November 2013 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). NaNo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month (which ends up being about half of a full-length novel.) I did the challenge and realized it was as hard as I had originally thought it to be. I ended up hating the book, and am not sure it will ever get published, but it was a start. After that, I sat down and wrote Jared and Zhoe’s story, Vanquish, and haven’t looked back.

That’s rather cool! What is your writing zone? Silence, music, coffee, wine, notebook, laptop? What gets those grey cells working?

Typically, I write in the morning. This is because my husband works second shift and sleeps in late so I have the mornings all to myself to concentrate. When it’s nice outside, I like to write on my patio, otherwise I usually write on my couch in my living room.

I have to have music to write, although I rarely pay attention to what song is on or if it inspires a certain scene, which is why I never include playlists with my books. But, I do need the noise.

I love writing in a notebook. I find, especially when I’m stuck in a writer’s block, it helps me think more creatively and keeps me from getting distracted on Facebook, etc.

I do agree. It feels so much more personal to put words down on paper than typing on a machine. (Let’s not tell the machine that, huh? It’s a bit temperamental)

Moving on to connecting with readers, marketing etc, what is your most used social media platform and why?

I use Facebook the most often. I think for me right now, most of my readers are there. I do use Twitter, but not as much as I should.

Here is the link to my Facebook page:

I also have a readers group where I do giveaways and perks, such as sneak peeks at new books, and where we talk hot men and good books. SJ’s [Sinful] Angels is open to anyone!

Oooh! Swag! Who doesn’t like that? And hot gossip! And free books! Need more reasons to sign up?

Btw, are you a blogger too?

Uh, not nearly as much as I should. Okay, I’ll be honest I really never blog. But, I do have a website that I try to keep updated as much as possible.

Your ‘Yes, I’m an author” moment?

I don’t know that I’ve really had that moment, yet. I think I’m afraid to think of myself that way because I don’t want writing to lose its excitement. I don’t ever want to think of it as a job. Writing is something I love doing and I want it to remain that way.

Teasers from  the Triumph Series

Couple having sex, female hand grabbing sheet



Your book art and covers are exquisite. Who designs them? 

As of right now, I do all of my covers myself.

Talented in many ways. Do you have a dream cast of characters for your book if it is turned into a movie? Do tell!

For Peace by Piece I think I would cast Luke Bryan as Levi (yes, I know he’s not an actor but he’s a sexy cowboy) and Christina Hendricks as Genevieve.

Excellent choices … and HOT!  And which is your favorite book made into a movie?


The Fault in Our Stars. I thought they did a pretty good job with the adaption. But, really as readers do we ever like the movie of our favorite books?

That’s true, though I have to confess that I like the Divergent movies better than the books. (Don’t tell anyone, though)

Would you share an excerpt from your latest book Piece by Piece?

“Been waiting for you, Genevieve. I know it. You were made for me.” He continues assaulting my lips and neck with his kisses, pausing at the hollow of my throat to whisper there, “You feel that? You feel the world tip on its axis when we’re together? It’s earth-shattering. It’s like we can fix everything that’s wrong in this world just by being together. Do you feel it, V?”

I let out a needy moan from the back of my throat. I want to feel it. I want his words to be true. I want more than anything in this world for our relationship, for his kisses to have healing powers.

Standing there in the middle of my tiny cabin, with the most beautiful, amazing man holding me in his arms, with his lips driving my pulse through the roof, I send up a silent prayer to every God that might be listening to let his words be true.

Please, let him heal me. Let this pain, this suffering be worth something. Give me this man, please. Give him to me and I’ll never ask for anything again. I’ll be your greatest servant, your best disciple. Just give me this man. Please.

He pulls back and I feel the loss of his touch immediately. “Come on, sweetness, we need to get you washed up.” Grabbing my hand in his he pulls me through the one room cabin to the small closed-off bathroom. Picking me up he sets me on the vanity while he goes to the shower to test the water temperature. Once he’s apparently satisfied, he turns back to me and takes my breath away with the strength of his stare.

This wasn’t supposed to be our fate. He’s just a kid. He’s not supposed to fall in love, yet.

And, yet I know it is inevitable. I see it in the way he looks at me, the way he touches me. It doesn’t make sense and yet there it is. I recognize it because if I were to force my eyes off of him and look at myself in the mirror I’d see the same emotions reflected back at me.

This is the moment where I either push or jump.

And, I have no idea what to do.

“Don’t shut me out,” his words are whisper quiet but they bounce off the tiled walls mockingly. “Don’t push me away, V. Don’t fight this.”

“I have to, Levi. I can’t let you fall in love with me.”

He steps up to me and once again nestles my face in his steady grasp. “You don’t have a choice.” He absorbs whatever argument I was going to say with his kiss. Expertly he pushes back my excuses, making me focus on nothing but the way he makes me feel. He completely surrounds me and I get lost in him. Just like he wanted.

Hm … definitely, a must read … any sneak peeks at future projects?

Right now, I’m working on a mini-series, two books that will be part of the Caught Looking Series. It’s about baseball players. =)

Sounds interesting. Looking forward to that!

What cause is dear to your heart and why?

The American Cancer Society because cancer has touched too many people in my life.

If your story is turned to a movie, which band would you want to play the title song?


I would have to go with Ed Sheeran as he’s what I listen to the most while writing.

I love his music too. Excellent choice. 🙂

If you were in a crayon box, what color would you be and why?

Royal Purple is my favorite color, but I’m going to go with Razzle Dazzle Rose because hello, that’s an awesome name for a crayon!

Quirky! 🙂 If you were a kid, who would you want to grow up to be?


Sandra Bullock. I love her. She’s beautiful, talented, quirky, funny, and down-to-Earth.

She is rather awesome, isn’t she? If you’re stuck on a desert island, who would you want to be stuck with?

My husband. Yes, I know it’s cheesy but he is trained in survival skills and if I was going to spend the rest of my life with one person, it’d be him!

Aw, that’s romantic! Lucky man!

How do you decide on your character’s names?

Google. For example, Angelica (from Conquer) is a snobby, rich girl so that’s what I Googled, from there I picked from a list. Some of them, like Levi (from Peace by Piece) just came to me. It felt right.

What dessert would you be and why?

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae. Because I’m sweet, a little bitter, and definitely not for everyone.

Ooh! I see where the heroines in your book come from. 😛

Thank you so much S.J. I had a lovely time. I hope you did too. S,.J.Gran, everbody, let’s hear it for her. Congrats again! Reminder for all those who’d like to read her books, connect with her or just stalk her (aside: she likes that, you know 🙂 ). Here are her links again.

Facebook: http://www.facebook/sjmcgran

Twitter: @sjmcgran


SJ’s [Sinful] Angels:

Monthly Newsletter:

Buy Links:


Barnes & Noble:




Createspace (paperbacks):

Dying Thoughts by Joey Paul

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Dying Thoughts is a young adult mystery at its heart, but Joey Paul has made it so much more. It is a funny and entertaining story of young Tara’s ‘gift’, though she doesn’t consider it one. The first person narrative is neatly done and takes us on this journey in a sixteen year old’s shoes remarkably well. Tara’s introspective conversations are witty and does not grate (I’ve found that if not done well, it can ruin a book for you. It has ruined quite a few books for me.) But Joey has done a great job. Tara herself is very endearing and her relationship with her father seems very real. The mystery itself serves as a backdrop to Tara’s journey of self discovery, but is suspenseful and keeps you turning pages.

I think this book serves as a great introduction to Tara’s gift and how she realizes that she could be in a position to help people. I see there are more books about Tara Leverton’s adventures. I look forward to reading them. Five stars, Joey Paul!

Wired for sound by Cherime McFarlane

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For those who love rock and roll and reading, this is the perfect book for you. The author has an in depth knowledge of bands, tours and the behind the scenes action of a major tour. As with all artists, tempers run high and emotions get out of hand. Cherime Mcfarlane brings out the essence of the Scot in Hamish beautifully and his conflict over his love for Lori and his doubts about her, make that love story very interesting. A good mystery and an enjoyable read!

Savage Surrogate by Dorothy Mercer

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The Savage Surrogate caught me completely by surprise. Though the summary hints at suspense and mystery, I thought it was mainly a romantic novel. This is the first McBride book that I’ve read. Now I want to read the others. A dashing personality, suave and stylish, Dorothy Mercer has created a male character that women will find appealing.

The book holds your attention from the start and you are drawn into the murky underworld along with the protagonists, as they dig deeper to figure out what happened to Fran. The characters of Fran and Juliette have been given equal space and developed well. Both come out as strong, independent women. A captivating read…one I would recommend!

The dry by Rebecca Nolen

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I haven’t read a book that kept me glued to it, in a while. This one did! The Dry was like an exciting combination of Stephen King and Tolkein. It reminded me a lot of the “The Dark Tower” series by Stephen King, but in a style that children and adults could understand and enjoy.

The setting of the book is fantastical and the description, detailed. You can visualize and feel “The Dry” ambience, which permeates the book. This is not just a quest, it is also a coming of age portrayal of Elliot Sweeney, and how he learns, adapts and becomes stronger with each new monstrosity that threatens him. His little fellowship is quirky and endearing and you can’t help but fall in love with each of the characters. Even the bad guys (bugs or worse) have well developed personalities.

I am in awe of the creativeness of Rebecca Nolen’s mind. To create a fantasy that is terrifying but believable is true genius. An exciting read and a wonderful adventure!