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Joey Robert Parks

"It's a short read [10,000 words] but I just couldn't put it down. I love how masterfully crafted each line is, and the story itself is so powerful. The narrative is an exploration of creativity and self-discovery, revolving around the character, Matthew, and his interaction with a forest entity that serves as a metaphorical muse. Matthew’s journey from confusion and desire to realization and resolution is incredibly thought-provoking, with a very uplifting ending.


"The Shallow Poet" is a compelling read that will make you ponder the power of words and the nature of desire and fulfillment. If you're on the fence, pick it up! You won't regret it."


~ Sarah Larson

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Witness the true oddities of John Iannarelli's 20-year career as a top FBI Agent, from hilarious memorable arrests to truly bizarre search warrant discoveries. Whether arresting an actor on stage, catching a criminal in a hot tub, executing a search warrant at the home of a grown man who lives with hundreds of dolls, or witnessing the office meeting that turned into a tribal council moment from Survivor,  Disorderly Conduct is arrestingly funny and often hard to believe--but all true.

“Joey Robert Parks did not have much exposure to law enforcement before we first met. After a couple years listening to my stories and helping me put this book together, he now has the equivalent of a doctorate in policing. This book would not have been finished if it weren't for Joey and his skills.”

~ John Iannarelli



How I Became a Ghostwriter

Between 1996 and 2002, I worked at Starbucks full-time as a barista.


Starting in 1999, I pre-sold (mostly at work) 500 copies ($29.95/each) of my first book: a magical realism tale I called, "die reading: an espionage fable". I raised $15,000 towards self-publication, hired a painter for the 1,000-book limited release hardcover dust jacket, a graphic designer to layout the manuscript and cover, and a team to make the website.


I sold advance copies of the book while I wrote it.


Every spare minute I could find in my days were filled with writing. Not isolated in my room somewhere like a typical introvert writer. My extrovert blood combined with my (then) un-diagnosed and untreated ADHD needed to be surrounded by people and culture and coffee. Because my story's antagonist had the same coffee barista gig I did, my work doubled as research. (Even with my coffee discount, anything I bought that was related to coffee was a tax write-off.) Every day, after work, I'd remove my green apron. sit at a table among my fellow coffee drinkers, and write.


You wanna write for a living? You gotta live to write.

After die reading's Halloween Day 2002 release, 20 die-readers left these glowing reviews about their experience (from the 2006 version of this website, featuring quotes as well from other publications I was published in at that time). The contrasting 3-star average from a whopping three Amazon reviewers used to bother me. Until, I realized that all writers have to start somewhere, it's better to weed out those who weren't part of my audience so I could figure out how to better promote future writings to my core audience, and it's a great way to inspire other writers-in-waiting to persevere and power-ahead while learning to write and promote their work.

I'd had no formal training on how to write a fiction story, but I didn't care. I had an absolute blast writing die reading.


A big part of my research included a four-month stay at New Zealand's Kare Kare beach, in the summer of 1996, where I lived in this beach-facing music studio & home. (At one point in the video, you'll hear Mary Gardner talk about what it's like to live in Kare Kare. Mary was my consultant in making sure my NZ history and Maori references were accurate.)

The link is a 12-minute behind-the-scenes video of the making and recording of the 1993 Crowded House album, Together Alone, which was recorded in this home studio. I didn't get to meet Neil Finn, but I was there at the invitation of the owner, who I'd met in Scottsdale, AZ a few years prior. He'd been passing through on his way to Los Angeles to sign a record deal for his best-selling gold-record singer/songwriter, Emma Paki,


The link is a 6-min 2013 retrospective documentary about her 1994 to 2013 career. I spent a lot of time getting to know her in NZ and we still keep in touch as close friends. Here's her artist page on Spotify. Her 1994 album, Greeenstone, is extraordinary and just as mesmerizing as when it came out.

Prior to die reading's release, I'd been making maybe 35% of my income from writing website copy, brochures, creative bios, etc. One of the people would bought my book was Diane, a woman in her early 60's. She liked it so much, she hired me in 2003 to coach her to write a children’s book. We started a couple months later and met at her home on a Tuesday morning. After getting me a cup of coffee and catching up a bit, we sat down to get started. I opened my mouth to get us started, but she interrupted me and announced that a month prior, she'd just been diagnosed with terminal spinal cancer. She'd been given six to eight months to live.


Wondering why I was sitting there to coach her on writing a children’s book, I asked if we were still doing that.

“No,” she said. “I want to write my memoir.“

So I coached her on how to do that.


A few weeks in, she started chemotherapy. Every time we were going to meet she was either sick, or hadn’t done the homework, or we had to reschedule. During this time, I’d heard her story. This woman was in her mid-60’s. I knew her as this quiet, mousy, church lady. The lady who hosted bible studies at her house for college students.

I learned that when she was in high school, she learned that the black sheep of the family, her aunt –a grifter who traveled the country with a man setting up small cons, ripping people off, then skipping town – was her biological mother! The woman she thought was her mom was actually her aunt!

Her aunt (who she thought was her mom) was heavily involved in the occult. All through her childhood, Diane routinely saw demons, devils, ghosts, and all manner of the supernatural while she was growing up.


I was riveted.

She wasn’t getting her writing assignments done, though; understandably, on account of her illness and chemo. “I’m worried," I said, "that we won’t be able to finish your book in the next six or seven months. I’m great at pretending to be other people and mimicking them in writing. I’d like to pretend to be you and write your book for you, as if I were you. Like a method actor, but instead of the stage, I’d perform on the page.”

I’d never heard of ghostwriting. 

She loved the idea and off we went. While working on that project, a Starbucks customer asked what kind of writing projects I was working on. I told her about this one and she said, “Oh! You’re a ghostwriter!”

“I’m a what?” I said, hypnotized by the word the instant I heard it.


“You’re a ghostwriter. That’s where you pretend to be someone else and write as if you are them.”

If I just use that word when people ask me what kind of writer I am, I thought. They’ll be as mesmerized as I am! They'll ask me all kinds of questions about it and I can talk about all the things I'm writing, not just ghostwriting! I bet I can get clients that way, too!


When I looked into it, I discovered I could make a very good living doing it. I absolutely loved it.  That’s the day I became a ghostwriter.


That was 32 books ago.

Though I still ghostwrite, the events of 2020 led me to shift from pure ghostwriting to phase two of my career: solo-authored fiction and nonfiction.

Giving Up the Ghost

I’m a glow stick. 

I had to be broken before I could shine.

Beginning in the 2020 lockdown, I lost my lucrative two-decade ghostwriting career, my car, savings, luxury high-rise apartment, pristine credit score, the love of my life, my mental, emotional, and physical health. When suicide became an option, I dismissed it immediately. I didn’t know if I’d ever find my way back. But I did.

Since the pandemic-infused mental health crisis began, demand for therapists surged 38%, far surpassing the available supply. Over one in five adults in the United States now suffer from mental illness, with over half receiving no care. Homelessness spiked to 12% nationwide, the highest reported level to date.

By the way, glow sticks don’t glow because they’re broken. 

After the stick is bent beyond what the glass vial inside can take, it breaks, releasing a chemical that blends with a different liquid outside the vial, producing a compound that’s so unstable it quickly deteriorates. In this dying, it releases energy which excites surrounding colored fluorescent dye molecules, causing them to emit visible light. 

In this psychological nuclear winter, behavioral health and social services nonprofits worldwide are struggling to shine their light.

With over two decades of experience in authoring, ghostwriting, fundraising, and project management, I've spearheaded collaborative community initiatives like the 26 Blocks art exhibit and led resident support efforts during the pandemic, bettering the lives of over 200 individuals. 

My diverse writing portfolio includes 32 books, screenplays, short stories, company manuals, speeches, and promotional content, published traditionally and independently. Skilled in research, communication, and strategic direction, I specialize in shaping narratives to elevate brands and facilitate effective fundraising and grant writing.


I continue to write fiction short stories and am working on a magial realism novel, Quench, about an anicent cup with the power to record time in liquid and the modern day owner who believes in the prophesy from the cup's creator that the right liquid can remove the worldwide suffering of the innocent. 

Since April 2024, I've maintained a healthy daily routine: I workout 3x a week, changed my diet, and shed 30 pounds in two months. I now weigh less than I did in college. I take daily walks, drink half my weight in water, get 8-9 hours sleep a night, maximize the present, and am recovering the simple joys. I'm grateful and hopeful every day and embrace the moment to moment of life with the boundless optimism of my childhood dreams.

There are many books and stories in me to come. Some I'm returning to before I went off the rails. Some are new. 

The sun sets and a new day comes. 

Here's to the new.



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