Inktera: *Coming Soon*
Playster: *Coming Soon*
Tolino: *Coming Soon*
Angus & Robertson Bookworld: http://bit.ly/2svl9FC
Add to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/…/s…/35305751-shadowed-attachments
I’m PJ. I’m a happily married mother of three incredible children. But my super power lies in words… LOL No, seriously though… I write and read romance, of all sorts. Romance is a girl’s best friend. Well, it is for this girl. Ha! For the longest time, I read books by Stephen King, Tess Gerritsen and the like. Then a friend introduced me to Bella Andre and Jamie McGuire. From that moment on, I was addicted. I’ve read so many romance books now that I couldn’t honestly tell you my favorite read or author. There are just so many out there and so many that aren’t getting the reading love they should. Or at least I think anyway. *wink*
I started blogging before I began writing. It wasn’t until my husband dropped my notebooks in my lap and told me to do something with my OWN stories that my writing career began. From that moment forward, I have written 21 books. 19 books under PJ, 1 book under Réna Edward, and 1 book under Maree Alexander.
Life is ever changing and we have move with the punches or get knocked out. Because of these changes, my writing career has changed as well. This site is a stem of that.
I hope that you will continue to give me your feedback and support on my books. And maybe in return, I can give you some new reads and authors to find with my blog!
Much love to all you beautiful people out there!
It’s getting close now. In The Blood comes out July 1st. I’ve been working on this series for so long, and it’s down to the final few days before it comes to fruition.
I suppose I’m like a lot of authors, alternating between extreme excitement and panic attacks.
I go through all the “What Ifs” that plague every introverted creative person. What if no one likes it? What if there’s some horrible error I’ve overlooked? What if my best isn’t good enough? What if it isn’t perfect? What if on the morning after, I feel the way Victor Frankenstein did, looking on his creation not with love but with horror? That is the grown up voice of worry, born of a lifetime of self-doubt.
But then there is the excited childlike part of me that just wants to let it go with joy and wonder at having created something out of nothing, a world born of “what-if,” peopled with characters that leapt out of my brain fully formed. That child in me hopes other people will go along for the ride, suspend their disbelief and play the game of make-believe that I’ve created.
It’s the child in me that daydreamed of being a writer. That inner child is fueled by curiosity and enthusiasm and imagination along with a desire to share and find others who will join in for the love of story.
All my favorite stories were about imperfect people who stumbled and fell and lost their way on their journey. People who suffered and fought and loved hard and took risks, facing danger from overwhelming obstacles and foes. I sometimes felt sorry for the villain, even when I hated their actions. The best stories, for me, were ones that invoked empathy, that brought me to tears, caused me to shout in frustration, made me laugh out loud, and if I didn’t smile at the end, still I felt a sense of completion and satisfaction in the way the story reached completion. I didn’t need happily ever after as long as it brought a sense of closure to the experience.
That’s what books should be, after all. An experience.
There is a give and take between the writer and the reader. A shared collaboration between their imaginations.
When I read Jane Eyre, for example, though nearly two hundred years separate me from Charlotte Bronte, I’m still bringing my imagination to mesh with hers. I’m playing her game of make-believe. Letting her lead me into a world where a naive young governess and a lonely but rich gentleman who’s been disappointed by love and life can find an understanding between them, a kinship of spirit, that transcends the darkness they find in the world around them.
I don’t make any pretense to that sort of greatness. But the same basic rules of the game apply. I, as writer, create the story, while you, as reader, agree to believe the impossible and to care about people who never were.
I hope that I’ve made a good one. I hope you find it entertaining. I hope that when you finish In The Blood, you’ll want more. That’s the best that I can hope, and it’s certainly good enough for me.
So to quiet the negative “what ifs,” I fill my mind with hope and with story, planning for the next adventure and trusting that you’ll follow where I lead.
That’s all any author can hope for.
Book Two, Out For Blood, is being edited with the plan of publishing this winter. Book Three, Trial By Blood, is partly written, and I intend to finish it sometime this summer so it can be published next year. I have several more outlined with ideas and possibilities for all these characters long into the future. But all of that depends on my book finding readers who are ready to join me on the ride.
I hope that you are one such person.
In The Blood
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-00-7
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-01-4
Available for Pre-order from your favorite online outlet
Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.
Want to be featured on this blog? Interested in a review or an interview? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
When my review copy of In The Blood arrived, I was a little overwhelmed by holding it in my hand and seeing it in person, feeling the weight of it, breathing in the new book smell of paper and ink.
Those of you who know me and have followed me for a while know that I was devastated last fall by the loss of my former teacher, Nicki Alexopoulos. I had already intended to mention her in the dedication to one of my novels, but I knew it had to be this one after the events of last year. I hope to present a signed copy to her daughter, and I do hope that she would be proud to see the work I’ve put in to make this book happen.
I started writing the book back in 2012, and in the spring of 2013, I made a first attempt to self publish it. After meeting with an editor at the World Horror Convention, however, I was convinced to take it down and do some major revision. He was right. The book was pretty good, but it wasn’t fully ready to be out there yet. Over the four years since then, I reworked the manuscript and spent time learning about the business side of being an author. I took some online classes, went to some writer’s retreats, and even took a course in forensics so I could bring that knowledge to bear in the novel as well. I also quit my job as a library supervisor and adjunct English professor in order to focus on my writing full time.
Though I could have gone the traditional route with an agent, there are very few who are willing to take a risk on a first time author who approaches them with a series rather than a standalone novel. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever be interested in submitting a manuscript that way, but for this series, starting my own publishing house and doing the work myself was a better choice.
Book Two, Out for Blood, will come out sometime next winter. The book is written and is in the process of being edited. Book Three, Trial by Blood will come out in 2018. I don’t want to make people wait too long for sequels. Those three books finish a story-arch. However, I have ideas and outlines for several more books beyond that, so if this series takes off, then I’ll definitely be working on those stories for a long time to come.
There isn’t room in the book to list everyone who’s helped me along on my journey. I’d like to list a few of them here, though the list is by no means complete.
- My coworkers at Smiley Library – Cindy, Leasa, Carrie, Crystal, and John – who put up with six years of me talking about what I wanted to do and who were supportive throughout the process. They were inspiring, helpful, encouraging, and understanding, and they never made me feel that I was making a mistake when I decided to go pursue my dream. Thank you.
- Crystal appears as a character in my novel, and I mention her in the afterward of the book. She asked to be in the book, and after I made the character and gave her life, it turned out she has some pretty tragic things happen to her. Sorry Crystal! I swear, the characters made me! And I promise, this won’t be the only time she’s mentioned. What happens to her will have a ripple effect in later books.
- The students who became like my children were also a great inspiration and encouragement. John, Stazhia, Cameron, Denise, DaSean, Kelsey, Brenna, Cortney, Thomas, Jordan, Kayla, Jessica, Geofrey, Lindsey, Kelly Jo, Eldar, Megan, Tyler, Bailey, Cecilia, Mariah, Roger, Aubrey, Ginney, Wynter, Dani, Danielle, Shamika, Marco, Vin, Drew, Angelica, Darrell, Jane, Adam, as well as my fabulous student intern assistant Miranda….THANK YOU! I love you all dearly.
- Keith Abernathy taught my forensics course and never failed to come by my desk just to chat and invite me to things. He passed away last month, and I miss him very much. He was so encouraging and helpful and such an inspiration to all his students. I intend to dedicate Book Two to him. I will be forever grateful for the things I learned from him.
- My online friends are completely amazing. Those I met because of True Blood or through writing amazing characters together are truly some of the best people in the world. Thank you to Julie, Jenny, Louise, Emily, Susy, Shanda, Melissa, Mayra, Shawna, Shyanne, Suzanne, Cassy, Sharon, Joie, Jyoti, Michaela, Elizabeth, Sha, Latoya, Catherine, Tammy, Geena, Anitra, Kristie, Frank, Missy, Kim, Cyndi, Dawndela, Holly, Maxine, Misty, Rima, Rachael, Mimi, Sara, Tiffany, Renee, Dawn, Kira, Sarah, CeCe, Jennie, and especially Wendy and Andrea who are gone far too soon and I miss horribly. These are only a few. There are many more on Twitter, but I think they know I adore them. I try to tell them as often as I can.
- My muse and favorite writing partner Bekah who makes me shine and feel inspired all the time, thank you for putting up with me, for supporting me, and for being so completely amazing. You make me look forward to every day.
- My writing friends through conferences, retreats, and FB and Twitter groups, I thank you. You’ve taught me about craft, and you’ve been a constant source of help, inspiration, and encouragement. My writing buddies from Room 217, THANK YOU. I love you guys. You are all completely amazing. And thank you to the Horror Writers Association for being such a great organization. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and I couldn’t have finished this project without the connections I’ve made there.
- My friends Erin and Anthony at Vamped and The Vampirologist, who have known me now for over five years, have been fantastically supportive throughout this journey. Thank you for the laughs, the research material, the help, and the friendship.
- To the friends and family who have known me in the years before the internet and who have backed me up as I tried new things, THANK YOU! Your support means everything.
- And to my parents for whom there are not enough words of thanks. I have been truly lucky in my life to have parents who understood and believed in my dreams. Thank you.
And with that, I’d like to thank you. If you’re reading this, you’re part of my journey too. Even if your name doesn’t appear above, I am no less grateful for you.
If you’re reading it, I’d love to know! Find me on Goodreads!
Want to be interviewed on this blog? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
I am very excited to announce that July 1 is the release date of my upcoming novel, In the Blood: Book One of The Blood Royal Saga!
The ebook is now available for presale at several online retailers.
Since In the Blood is at the printers, and a large part of what I have to do involves waiting, I thought I’d do a sort of cornucopia of things I’m doing or that I find interesting.
I’ve got some editing work lined up for a book by another author which I’m planning to publish later this year. It’s a sci fi novel, which is nothing like anything I would write myself, but it’s FANTASTIC, and I’m very excited to help this writer bring his story to readers.
Once we’ve done a contract and things are finalized between us, you’ll hear about that since I’ll be working with him very closely throughout the process. All I can say right now is that I’m thrilled, and I can’t wait to make it happen.
My mom had knee replacement surgery three and a half weeks ago, so I’ve been caught up with helping her with her recovery from that. Things were difficult at first, but before the end of the week, home health will be discharging her, and she can begin outpatient physical therapy. By this time next year, I expect her to be much more active, and you will probably hear about some of our adventures together camping and traveling in our tent. She’s really looking forward to getting back to that level of independence, and it’s not far away now.
I thought it would be fun to do a word cloud to show the most common words I use on this blog. Turns out, the biggest word is “writing,” which shouldn’t be surprising at all. “Work,” “book,” “write,” “story,” and “books” seem to feature prominently as well, along with “time” and “can.” These all seem both appropriate and positive and exactly what I would expect from a writer.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about bullet journaling. I hadn’t until this past April, but man, now that I’ve started, I am obsessed with it.
It’s revived my love of doodling and calligraphy, which I love, and I really do feel like it’s made me more productive and organized. Plus, it’s just plain fun. So much more so than keeping a regular planner would be. It’s like planner meets scrapbook meets coloring book meets journal, all in one. I bought myself a bunch of supplies for decorating it, and it’s really made it a much more entertaining and interesting hobby. Best of all, the bullet journal is literally whatever you decide to make it. You have total creative freedom to organize and create it in whatever way works best for you.
If it looks like something you’re interested in, googling “bullet journal” or looking it up on Instagram or Pinterest will give you a ton of cool ideas to try. I also bought some books on cool lettering techniques, and I’m still experimenting with them.
I’ve become an avid hobbist gardener, and this year we decided to dedicate our garden specifically to food that we could use in a salad. We planted two kinds of lettuce, curly kale, spinach, radishes, carrots, peppers, and cherry tomatoes. In addition, we’re also growing peas and yellow squash.
The raised bed made of concrete blocks sits up high enough we can sit on the edge to weed or harvest without having to strain to reach things.
In the past, I’ve used upcycled wooden pallets, but now that we have the raised bed garden, it’s unnecessary. We are fast approaching a time when it’ll be too hot for the lettuce, so we’ll have to find something else to plant in its place.
This week, I’ll be picking all of the spinach and kale that remains so it can be blanched and then frozen for use in eggs later on.
Here’s a roundup of my writing plans for the near future:
- In the Blood comes out July 1st.
- Book Two, Out for Blood, is currently being edited, and I plan to have it ready to be published this winter.
- Book Three, Trial by Blood, is well begun with about a third of the novel already written. It will be released in 2018.
But The Blood Royal Saga books are not the only thing I have plans to write.
- I’m working on a hard cover coffee table book with my mother about our trip to Newfoundland. It’ll have photographs as well as our retelling of events. I’m hoping to have that book published this winter as well.
- I have a YA novel I want to write that is Viking related. I don’t want to say too much and spoil things, but I’m very excited about the story.
- A friend of mine and I are planning a collaboration that’s got to do with pirates and werewolves.
- She and I are also discussing a collaborative vampire novel, and I’m extremely excited about this possibility.
- I’ve got several urban fantasy/supernatural/horror short stories in the works. Some will be sent off to journals and anthology publishers, but others will be published by me.
Various and Sundry
For a summary of everything I’ve talked/posted about over the last week, here’s my Paper.li page with all the stuff in it.
Would you like to be interviewed on this blog? Have a book you’d like me to review? Let me know!
All last winter and this spring, I’ve been finishing my manuscript, and then setting up my business in order to get the ball rolling with publishing In the Blood: Book One of The Blood Royal Saga, the first novel in my vampire series. Now that the manuscript is out of my hands and July 1st is set as the publication date, it’s time for me to shift gears from doing behind the scenes work to doing things out in public.
Being an author is a very private undertaking. Most of the time, I write in my office alone (other than my dogs, of course). But gearing up to sell the book means putting on my publicist hat, and that’s a whole different mindset.
Stepping out of my hermit-like surroundings, I will be going out into the world and meeting with people face-to-face. I’ll be sending out emails and posting on social media. I’ll be contacting reviewers and scheduling some events. I’ll be setting up book signings and attending any conventions or book events that I think will help me connect with readers who like the sort of book I have written. I’ll pay for some advertising. I will likely do a few podcasts related to the book. I’ll go to meet with bookstore owners and managers to ask them to stock copies of the book on their shelves, particularly those in my home state where I would be listed as a local author.
I’m also planning a big party to celebrate my hard work. Though I’ll have books on hand for those who want a signed copy, that isn’t the purpose of the party. I think it’s important to stop for a moment and recognize my accomplishment. Not because I want to be patted on the back by others, but because I think it’s important to acknowledge all that hard work for myself and to celebrate its completion.
I joked with my cousin today that I feel like I’ve just given birth, and it has been the longest labor ever. That deserves a party.
When the book is finally printed and in my hands, I hope that it’s a beautiful baby. But if it has flaws, I’m going to remember that it’s my first, not the only, book I’ll ever write. It may not be the best book I will ever write either, but it’s the best book I am capable of producing right now. There will be lessons I will learn from the process, and I’ll take that knowledge with me when I work on the ones that follow. I have done the very best I know how to do, and while it may not be perfect, that’s okay. It’s perfectly mine, and that’s enough for me. If I waited for perfection, I’d never finish a thing.
I hope that readers enjoy the story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It’s been a joy and a struggle, and I hope that as a result of this book, people will be willing to go on future adventures with me as well.
In light of all that, here is the trailer for the novel.
That said, I’m also going to try to make sure that I’m not beating the drum too much. Nothing turns me off more than constant advertisement, so I won’t be doing that myself either. I plan to go on being myself and posting about things I care about. Sometimes that will be my books, but most of the time, it’ll be a lot of other stuff too.
Ways you can help me, if you’re so inclined:
There are a few things people can do to help me get the word out. I’m not going to beg for it. But if you are willing, these are things that can assist me in getting my feet off the ground.
- Go to your local bookstore and request my book. If enough people do that, their computer system will see a demand and start stocking it on their shelves.
- Tell a friend about the book if you think he or she would like to read it.
- Write an Amazon review.
That’s it. It may not sound like much, but it’ll make a huge difference to me.
Last year was touted as “the year of the woman” with film after film and book after book focusing on strong women in lead roles forced to save the world from dire foes against impossible odds. This year, it seems, we are being asked to put what we learned into practice in our everyday lives.
We are only just reaching the end of the second week of Trump’s presidency, and it’s been a complete disaster – so bad, it seems like some sort of poorly written dystopian novel. Mom and I have gone to three protests in the last two weeks and will be going to another one on Monday. It’s that bad. So completely horrible, I can’t even list all of the things that shock me here. Every day is worse than the one before, and it is already making people exhausted by continual outrage and disbelief. As for me, I’m finding it very hard to concentrate and get work done or even have a semblance or normalcy to my day-to-day life.
I find myself reposting article after article, consumed with keeping up with the latest news.
It is easy to become numb, to lose oneself in escapist television or books and ignore politics altogether. But we have seen the world that results from apathy and shock. Letting oneself succumb to helplessness and stunned dismay until we are overwhelmed – that’s what happened to educated Germans in the 1930s. They couldn’t believe that their fellow citizens were so stupid, refused to believe that it was possible for those things to happen in their country. And then they were subsumed by tyranny and fascism.
I can’t let that happen to me, however difficult it might be. Being quiet and ignoring what is happening is not going to make it stop. Thought the reality is painful and repugnant, I must face it and act accordingly. I have a duty to humanity to do so. If those of us who disagree with what is happening do not speak up, who will? Who do we think is going to step up to save us?
We have to save ourselves. It is hard work. It is painful and discouraging. It is not going to happen overnight. But it is vital not to give in without a fight. I cannot. My conscience will not let me.
Mom and I have ordered t-shirts that read “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty – Thomas Jefferson.” I am taking that quote to heart. I need to believe that there are others who feel the same way and who will resist what is happening to our nation.
I would like to wind back the clock a couple of years when my social media was full of silly memes and cat videos and kid’s birthday parties, but that isn’t the world we live in right now. And I don’t want to become complacent or tell myself I have to pretend this is the “new normal.” I don’t want to get used to the way our government is operating currently. I am not going to be quiet and accept it. I plan to do everything I can in order to make sure my voice is heard and to encourage others to speak out as well. This isn’t a time for being silent. This is about human rights. Human dignity. Human beings. I cannot in good conscience allow myself to sit quietly and pretend the house isn’t on fire. It’s time to sound the alarm and do what I can to fix what is wrong.
This past summer, my mother and I drove from our small town in Missouri all the way to the top of Newfoundland where Leif Erikson landed. The journey was absolutely an adventure, encompassing over six thousand miles of driving and three weeks of camping in the rain.
While we were there, I read the Vinland sagas alongside the book written by the woman who was the archaeologist who discovered the Viking site at L’Anse Aux Meadows which was their headquarters while they explored the land they called Vinland.
Since my return, I’ve been fascinated to learn more about this exploration, and have been gathering and reading several books to help me in that quest.
The map of Vinland has been something of a contentious quandary among historians and experts, but the controversy surrounding the manuscript doesn’t change the irrefutable evidence that the Vikings did indeed come to this continent in search of land and perhaps even to satisfy an innate curiousity about the world as well.
Is there a book in all this? You betcha.
The landscape is beautiful, wild, and vast. It’s hard to capture the sweeping magesty of all that we saw, but I can easily understand how the Greenlanders, coming here on their longships, would turn it into a place of myth and legend.
I am not yet sure what shape the book will take, or even if there will only be one. What I do know is that I am inspired, and writing is soon to follow.
One of the most common questions I get asked when people find out I’m a writer is “Where do you get your story ideas?” It sounds like a straightforward question, but answering it is much more complex, however, than I think most people realize.
The simple answer is “They just come to me,” but that makes it sound like some sort of mystical dreamlike process involving fairies or a magic spell or something.
Honestly, sometimes they do come in dreams, but the majority of them don’t, and I don’t know anyone who’s tried to write who didn’t struggle with this issue when they first began.
For me, every story begins with daydreaming about a “what if” scenario.
- What if vampires were real and one sat down and told his life story to a reporter?
- What if young medical student found a way to bring the dead back to life?
- What if on the other side of the mirror, there was another world?
- What if a poor girl meets a rich guy at a party and they hate each other right away because of bad first impressions?
All of those are the basic premises of books that went on to become wildly successful, but each started from a simple “what if” situation.
The vampire series I wrote began as “What if Marie Antoinette was a vampire and was still alive?” Everything else in the plot developed out of that with a series of reporter’s questions – who, what, when, where, why, how.
- If she’s a vampire, where is she living now?
- Why did she move there?
- How did she adapt to the modern world?
- What does she do for a living?
- How did she escape the guillotine?
- Who helped her?
Once I answered those questions, I continued asking more “what if” questions to keep searching for a plot.
Asking “What if she still has enemies?” led to more reporter’s questions.
- Who are they?
- Why do they hate her?
- What do they want?
- Where did she meet them?
- How long have they been searching for her?
My plot grew out of those questions/answers.
Whenever I find myself stuck, I return to asking myself questions to think through the next scene or plot point.
I keep multiple notebooks where I write down these ideas whenever they come to me. But I find that just waiting around for a muse to arrive doesn’t work. I have to give it a push. My muse is lazy, and she doesn’t seem to bring me story ideas in some magical way. For me, it comes from consciously seeking out story. Allowing myself time to daydream. Actively encouraging daydreaming, in fact.
If I wake up from a dream with an idea for a story, it’s because I’ve been asking myself those what if questions before bed, and my brain worked on the problem while I was sleeping. There’s nothing mystical about it.
There isn’t a trick to suddenly having good ideas for stories. You can’t just sit with blank paper and wait for the story to arrive. Generating them takes effort and practice. Not every idea is going to work, and not every story will become successful. But the more you actively train your brain to daydream in a productive way, the more you learn how to generate interesting stories.
Would you like to be interviewed on this blog? Let me know!