I often feel like the start of a new year is like the beginning of a race toward a list of accomplishments I hope to complete before the year’s end. Last year is the first year in a long time when I completed everything I set out to accomplish, and now I feel like I need to set the goalposts a little higher to keep challenging myself.
One of my new challenges is to write a new blogpost every week. So here I am, tackling that resolution on time.
Years ago, I was good about blogging on a regular basis. I wrote nearly every day on a wide variety of subjects, garnered a few follower friends along the way, and I still have a few friends I keep in touch with even now as a result (Hi, Kate, if you read this!). For a ton of reasons, I lost the habit, replacing those blogposts with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts instead.
What I’ve found, though, is that even though I’m still posting regularly in those new places, I don’t do as much in depth writing about subjects. I tend to post photos of my dog or links to things someone else posted that I thought were interesting, often without very much writing of my own to accompany them. I do have more conversations in those places, but very little of what I post is truly introspective or planned in any way.
Blog writing tends to make me slow down and really think about what I want to say. That, to me, has value, and I miss it.
Also, however, those other social media places tend to make me slip into the bad habit of looking for instant gratification and distraction. I will sit down, telling myself I’m just going to look for five minutes at the newsfeed and respond to my notifications, and the next thing I know, an hour has gone by with me skimming through people’s posts, and I still haven’t responded to the one thing I went there to do.
Social Media is great, and I love keeping in touch with people there, but if I’m ever going to finish the next book in my vampire series (or anything else, for that matter), I’ve got to be more conscious about my time. I won’t be quitting it entirely, but I need to limit myself there.
Therefore, as of this week, I resolve to spend less time on social media, and dedicate one day a week to writing longer, more well-thought-out and engaging posts. I’ll still have some fun and interesting links at the end of my blogpost. On social media, you’d be getting several of these a day, but here you’ll get the best of them, and hopefully the more narrowed focus will be more interesting.
I’m using an app called Fabulous to help me stay on track with my resolutions this year. Exercise, meditation, drinking more water, scheduling time to read…these are all a few of the things I’m trying to establish as good habits, and so far the app seems to be working. Granted, it’s only January 4th, so the real test will be if I’m still doing all those things in June.
What are your resolutions? What tools are you using to hold yourself accountable? I’ve considered a Fitbit. Do I want one? Why?
Last month, I talked about how I came to terms with letting go of my original outline of Trial By Blood (the third book in my vampire series). The characters had led me along a different path in Out For Blood than what I’d originally planned, and the ending of that book meant that I had to rethink everything for the next one. I’ve begun writing now with the new plan, and I’m very excited about how things are going already.
I’m doing a ramped up version of the 90-Day Write (The annual challenge to write 85,000 words in 90 days (January through March) is also the 90-Day Write cycle, the first cycle in the year-long 85K Writing Challenge) but instead of writing the book in 90 days, I plan to complete it by the end of February. It won’t be the finished version by any means, but the first draft of the story will be complete and ready to be revised and edited in March and April. I intend to release the book in the summer, and I’m hoping for July 1st as a publication date (though that isn’t quite set in stone yet). That is very quick turn-around, I know. I also know that I can do it.
In setting up the publishing schedule for Trial By Blood, I’ve set myself some very straightforward goals and deadlines. This strategy worked for me last year, enabling me to publish the first two books of the trilogy five months apart, so I am confident I’ll be able to release this third installment on time too.
When I began working from home, I had trouble at first sticking to a regular schedule. There was always something around the house to do – laundry, dishes, etc. – and I had a hard time setting firm boundaries with my family and friends, so I often answered the phone or ran errands during time I had planned to set aside for work. But then I thought about what I would say to an employee of mine who did those things rather than stay on task during work hours, and I knew that had to change if I was ever going to accomplish all of my goals.
No one takes you seriously as a professional if you don’t treat yourself that way.
Once I’d internalized that simple but essential truth, I had a sit down with my family and established clear ground rules. Set office hours. Firm boundaries. No interruptions except for mealtimes, and even then, if I’m on a roll, I can’t always just stop what I’m doing. They text rather than call when they need something unless it’s an emergency, and understand that it may take a little while before I respond. I explained that just as I wouldn’t show up at their place of business and interrupt their work expecting instant attention when they had projects or customers to focus on, they couldn’t walk into my office or call in the middle of my writing time and expect me to drop what I’m doing either. Just because I’m at home, that doesn’t mean I am not working. I have set aside specific days for errands and tasks around the house, and I do a lot of cooking ahead in bulk and then freezing meals that can be easily reheated so I don’t have to spend every weekday at the stove rather than at my desk.
I’m probably the hardest boss I’ve ever had. I work extremely long days, frequently eating lunch at my desk and working until late in the evening (like now, for example). I work holidays and weekends. I almost never take a day off unless I’m sick, and even then I often work from bed. I work even when I’m on “vacation.” But honestly, this is the first time in my life I’ve had total autonomy over every aspect of what I do. That’s both thrilling and kinda scary, really, when you stop and think about it. If everything goes well, I get all the credit. If everything crashes and burns, it’s entirely my fault. That’s why I work so hard. I’m fully invested in every step along the way, and the final product reflects entirely on me. I wake up every day truly excited to get to work. The hardest part of my day is making myself stop, knowing there’s more I wish I had time to do.
In years past, when I finished a big writing goal, I bought myself one big thing I truly wanted. Generally, it was an expensive book, but this year, when I finish writing Trial By Blood, I’m buying myself a Remote Control Millennium Falcon. I have no idea where I’ll fly it, though I’m pretty certain my dogs will go berserk at the Chewbacca sound effects, and those reactions will make it all worth it.
A friend of mine recommended an app called Litsy for authors, and I made an account, but I haven’t really figured out what to do with it yet. It seems like a version of Instagram but with a very narrow focus, although I admit that maybe I am misunderstanding the purpose.
Do any of you use Litsy? How? I haven’t posted there yet because frankly I’m confused, and it feels like an extra thing that could turn into a distraction rather than something I really need. If you use it, tell me about your experience in the comments. I’m really curious.
Finally, here’s some stuff I found interesting this week:
- I just finished the second season of The Crown on Netflix, and now I am bereft. Claire Foy and Matt Smith are wonderful in their roles as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and the show deserves all the accolades it’s garnered over these first two seasons. I am glad I’ve finished the last of the episodes, however, since I’ll be working hard to finish writing the next book.
- The Ancient Roman Cult That Continues to Vex Scholars – The Mithraic Mysteries worshipped a pagan god from subterranean temples buried throughout the empire. – once I’ve got a little time, I want to do some deeper research into this. I find this glimpse into the unknown past fascinating.
- Would You Get Expelled From Hogwarts (Flowchart) – Spoiler Alert: I would.
Got other things I should see? Drop me a line in the comments!
“How do I get copies of your books,” you ask? All the links for ebooks and paperbacks are conveniently listed right here.
Autographed Paperbacks of both installments in The Blood Royal Saga can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.
If you’ve read either or both of the books, I’d love it if you’d take a moment to post a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Reviews help me improve and they also help other readers find the series as well.
Also, sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t done so yet. I promise no spam. Just updates on books and events.
This holiday week has been downtime for me writing-wise. For the first time this year, I’ve taken a whole week off to simply catch my breath.
There’s a sale this week on In The Blood to celebrate the holidays.
— Delia Remington (@therealdelia) December 27, 2017
Though the link I’m advertising is for purchasing it through Amazon, the sale price is available through all other online retailers too, whatever type of ebook you prefer.
In addition, Out For Blood is out there in the world, and I’m very proud of my work on it. I hope readers enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Out For Blood, the second installment in The Blood Royal Saga is available now wherever books are sold. Go to http://eagleheightspress.com for paperback and ebook links or buy at Amazon (http://a.co/6KHA4IV )!
If you’ve had a chance to read it, please take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, if you don’t mind. It would mean a lot to me, in addition to helping other readers find the series.
Autographed Paperbacks of both installments in The Blood Royal Saga can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for my quarterly newsletter if you haven’t done so yet. I promise no spam. Just updates on books and events. I’ll also be sending out coupons for book purchases in 2018, as well as a few surprises.
Highlights of 2017
Looking back, this has been such a momentous time in my life. It was a major change going from working for other people to starting my own business, trusting my vision, and hoping that given time it would find an audience.
January – Having finished the major edits of In The Blood and Out For Blood, I decided to form an LLC, meeting with my lawyer to get the paperwork started. I made a business plan and set a publishing schedule for myself.
February – Once the LLC was official according to the state, I withdrew my retirement money and set up a business account, PayPal, and got a mobile card-reader. I downloaded accounting software and created websites and social media accounts for my publishing business.
March – I worked to learn what I needed for InDesign and refreshed my understanding of Photoshop. I created the business branding and graphics I would need for the foreseeable future. I finalized my publishing schedule. I also did some research and then decided on a printer for the series.
April – I began using my bullet journal to keep track of and plan for all the business-related work I needed to do, breaking big goals down into small tasks spread out over time. I began formatting In The Blood in InDesign and working on the graphics to start marketing the book. I bought a batch of ISBNs for my future books.
May – My mother had knee replacement surgery, and I helped her during her recovery. For several weeks, my work was on hold, but the internet was upgraded, and I set up the book with Ingram. I registered the ISBNs and got preorder links for the books.
June – I began planning the book release party and setting up some signing events for the rest of the year. I did an interview on the local radio station, KPIP. I set up an online store for signed copies and began promoting the book in earnest. I got the first preview copies of the book and sent out a few signed books early to those who’d ordered them already. I did a blog tour and tried not to panic as the release date for In The Blood approached.
July – In The Blood was released on July 1st. I bought a folding table, a tent, marketing materials, and Marie standup I’d need for all the events, and in the middle of the month we had the release party with the AMAZING cake, champagne, and lots of fantastic friends.
August – We had two fun local events where I signed books, and it gave me time to figure out what worked and what didn’t before we set out to do bigger festivals. I also began promoting and planning for Out For Blood, editing, assigning ISBNs, and setting it up for presale on Ingram.
September – My nephew got married, and that weekend was a real highlight of the year. We returned to go to another local festival, then attended the Saint Louis Bookfest before driving to Colorado for the Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat where I caught up with several of my favorite writer friends.
October – We went to the Twin Cities BookFest, had a signing at Grey Willows, and ended the month in Cape Girardeau at the Heartland Book Festival. It was a wonderful experience having such a busy fall, though I was worn out by the time it was over.
November – I spent the bulk of the month finalizing Out For Blood for publication and planning for next year. This month was also very busy personally with several birthdays and Thanksgiving with family.
December – Out For Blood launched on December 1st. I was so thrilled to have been able to keep to my deadlines, and I think the book was even better than the first, in spite of being finished in the midst of so much activity. I revised my outline for Trial By Blood, the third installment in the series, and have set up a publishing schedule for the spring. Grey Willows hosted the last signing event of the year for me, and I’ve enjoyed spending the rest of the month gearing up for the next phase in the process. I’ve also got another project planned for Eagle Heights Press – a book I’m editing for another writer – and I’m excited to say it’ll be published in April. I reorganized my office, and my space is ready for what comes next.
Coming Attractions in 2018
In January and February, I’ll be writing Trial By Blood. Writing a book is often an isolating experience, so I’ve scheduled two days a week out of the house, working in a coffee shop or library. Otherwise, it’ll be too easy for me to spend weeks alone in the office, never seeing anyone other than my family.
I’m excited to burrow into the story world and get back into the flow with my characters. Throwing myself into their adventures is a very immersive process. For me, it unfolds in my imagination like a movie, but that story lasts for weeks. I have a plan for what will happen, but I’m certain my characters will manage to surprise me along the way.
At the same time I’ll be working on my own project, I’ll also be wrapping up the work preparing the nonfiction project I’m editing and getting it ready to send to the printer.
In March, I’ll attend StokerCon 2018 at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. I’m hoping to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones as well. The conference is always a good opportunity to learn more about the market, and I’m looking forward to that as well. I’ll also begin major edits/revisions to the manuscript of Trial By Blood.
April is the Unbound Book Festival in Columbia, Missouri, as well as the release of the book I’m editing. I’ll be talking to some beta readers this month and getting some feedback on Trial By Blood.
By May, I’ll be deep into final revisions and proofreading of Trial By Blood, setting the book up for preorders and beginning to market it along with the rest of the series.
June will bring preparations for the book release, and I plan to have Trial By Blood ready to go live on July 1st. Also, I’m looking forward to my niece’s second baby who’s due to make an appearance at this same time.
In August, I’ll be at Scares That Care in Williamsburg, Virginia, with a signing table. I’m really excited about this event and can’t wait to catch up with some of my friends.
I’ve got two writers retreats in September, and I’m thrilled about it. It’ll be fun to spend time with friends and do some work on whatever comes next. I’ll also have at least one book event, plus I hope to attend homecoming at my alma mater.
October is going to be busy with several book events, though it’s still up in the air which ones I’ll attend.
November is going to be family time, and I’ll be working a little more on my next project.
Finally, if all goes well, I hope to spend time in December in Tanzania attending a dear friend’s wedding and doing some adventure travel.
The Power of Goalsetting
If this year has taught me anything, it’s that you only get where you’re going if you have a plan.
Bullet journaling has kept me on track, making it possible for me to set goals and reach them using long range planning and breaking big jobs down into a series of short tasks. That’s why I already have a plan for next year, and I intend to keep checking off each completed step day by day until I get where I want to be.
I will keep telling stories.
And I’ll keep setting new goals and reaching further every day.
It is easy to get bogged down in the daily cycle of bad news, and it can be hard to rise above those things to see what is going right. That’s why I’ve made it a habit to list the good things each week so I don’t get overwhelmed by what I can’t control.
I am grateful for so many things this year.
- My parents for all the reasons.
- My extended family scattered all over the country.
- My teachers and mentors who helped shaped me into the person I am today.
- My friends both near and far, past and present.
- The friends and compatriots I have only met on social media but who have become my tribe and heroes.
- Fellow writers who inspire me and make me see I’m not alone in my weirdness.
- Readers who show me that my wild imagination is appreciated.
- My lovely dogs who show me love in their (mostly) quiet way.
- Lessons I’ve learned over the year, sometimes by trial and error.
- Anyone who took the time to write a review of my books.
- Anyone who came by my table at the events to talk and listen and take a chance on an unknown author.
- Anyone who gave me words of encouragement.
- And to you. You are appreciated. You matter. I am thankful and better for having known you. THANK YOU.
I love getting to know new people. Find me on social media:
If this looks like a pep talk, it is.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been struggling with writer’s block, unable to make forward motion on the manuscript of Trial By Blood (Book 3) no matter how hard I tried.
You see, a year ago, I had about 30,000 words written in that manuscript. Nearly halfway to completion.
Then I decided to make the plunge and self-publish the series. In The Blood (Book 1) and Out For Blood (Book 2) underwent an extensive revision, and while I am thrilled with the final drafts of those novels, when I sat down to return to work on the third installment in the series, I realized nearly 90% of the book no longer fit where I had left off.
Writing a book is an intense process, and I had come to love sections of what I’d written. But my attachment to those scenes was getting in the way of being able to move forward.
Sometimes the only way to get things to flourish is to do some ruthless pruning.
Still, I dithered a little, telling myself I could make a few alterations and the text would still work. I printed out the pages of the manuscript, thinking that returning to pen and paper would work some sort of magic and fix what was wrong.
Finally, I recognized it wasn’t to be. Those pages had to go. I wrote myself a pep talk, gave myself permission to let go, and literally tore out the pages that don’t fit the narrative anymore.
Almost nothing now remains of the original manuscript beyond chapter one. It was terrifying.
However, after getting a good night’s sleep and returning to work this morning, I felt suddenly free of the burden of fixing what was wrong, and after a cup of coffee, I wrote out a brand new outline for the book in about twenty minutes. As I sat back and read it over, I couldn’t stop smiling.
Trial By Blood isn’t the book I thought it would be.
It’s bold, breathtaking, and original. The twists and turns surprised even me, and now I’m energized and thrilled to get started. All those pages were tripping me up, and without them, I feel a renewed joy and wonder at the adventure ahead.
Some people have asked if this third book will be the end of the series or if there is more to come. The short answer is “I don’t know yet.”
I can promise the end of Trial By Blood is satisfying, and the story arch is complete by the end of the book. However, there are certainly ways in which the series could continue with new storylines. I have ideas for three and potentially six more future installments. If readers want it, I will certainly be happy to provide more entertainment and excitement.
But I also have other stories that want telling as well, and other characters are waiting their turns to be brought to light. Whether they’re a part of this series or something totally new remains to be decided.
Trial By Blood is due out in the summer of 2018. I’ve already made a new cover for it, and I’m going to be hard at work giving it my all.
For updates on the release date plus other announcements from Eagle Heights Press, subscribe to the quarterly newsletter.
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, and so much has happened in the last few months, it feels like a whirlwind, but one that brings positive change, not chaos. This blog post is long because there is just so much to tell, all of it good.
Hungry For More?
In just five days, Out For Blood: Book Two of The Blood Royal Saga will be going out to readers all over the world.
“What had seemed like a simple rescue mission to bring Raul back home turns out to be much more complex than Marie or Sybill could ever have anticipated. Intrigue and secrets are on all sides, and somewhere there’s a spy in their midst. Out of her element and unsure who to trust, Marie is in danger, and as a result so is everyone around her. Meanwhile, Raul will have his loyalties tested, and he will learn some things both about Marie and about himself that will force him to choose sides in a battle that’s been waging for centuries. With new faces and even more excitement, this second installment delivers with every twist and turn.”
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-02-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-03-8
Available from your favorite online outlet
Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press and shipped to you.
For local folks, I’ll be signing books at Grey Willows Arts, Antiques, & Gifts in Fayette, MO on December 9 from 3:00-4:30pm. Come by to celebrate the new book just in time for the holidays!
Sign up for the Quarterly Newsletter!
For announcements about books and events, don’t forget to sign up for the Eagle Heights Press Quarterly Newsletter!
All Five Stars for In The Blood!
Author Phillip Harris (Serial Killer Z, The Leah King Trilogy, and Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet) was among the reviewers, stating:
“The tone reminded me of the movie, The Hunger and there’s a real sense of authenticity to the vampires. That’s hard to pull off when you’re writing about (presumably) imaginary creatures. Definitely one to check out if you like your vampires sans-sparkles, particularly if you’re a fan of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.”
It’s important to me to make good on my promise to not make people wait too long for the sequels, so there’ll be no rest for me anytime soon. The third book in the series, Trial By Blood, will be released in the summer of 2018, so I’ll be very busy in the coming months getting that ready. Once I have a more definite date for that release, I’ll announce it.
You Asked, We Delivered!
Everywhere we went this fall, people asked about the t-shirts and mugs my mom and I took with us on the road. Several folks wanted to know where they could get some of our own. I took that request seriously, and have created a line of items that I hope people will use and enjoy.
The Blood Royal Saga now has merchandise available from Zazzle! Coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more to celebrate the series!
Are there other items you think I should add? Marie Antoinette themed items? Vampire gifts and collectibles? Something else I haven’t thought of?
Let me know! I’m happy to hear suggestions!
This fall, I was on the road at events all over the Midwest, meeting people, signing books, and doing selfies with Marie. We had a lot of fun talking to folks in every city, large or small.
In The Works
Among the things I’m currently gearing up for are:
- Audiobooks – Several people asked about them, and that is in the works. I hope to have more information on that very soon.
- A short story for an anthology – I’m keeping that close to the vest until I have something more to tell, but I’m very excited about it.
- A joint writing project with a friend of mine (also a vampire story)
- Several events in 2018, including:
- StokerCon March 1-4 at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island
- Unbound Book Festival April 19-21 in Columbia, Missouri
- Scares That Care August 3-5 in Williamsburg, Virginia
On A Personal Note
This fall also brought a ton of good things to my personal life.
- My nephew got married.
- My niece is going to have a second child.
- I got to see some good friends at the Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat in Estes Park, Colorado.
- November meant birthdays (including mine), Thanksgiving, and time with friends and family.
Other fun things that made this fall enjoyable included:
- Watching the St. Louis symphony perform the entire score of Jurassic Park live along with the movie.
- Outlander and Stranger Things 2 have become my obsessions, though I’m also really loving The Orville, Season 3 of Lucifer, the return of the Shannara Chronicles, and the second season of the quirky Dirk Gently series on BBC America.
- I am mastering the art of stranded knitting. I was afraid of it for a long time, but now I can’t wait to make a million things.
- My bullet journaling is such a simple but life changing way of managing my time. I’ve loved getting back into calligraphy, and it has not only sparked my creativity, but it’s also been a wonderful stress reducer and helped me keep on top of all the big projects I’ve worked on and accomplish my goals one step at a time. If you’ve never heard of bullet journals, go now and google it. There are a ton of examples to look at, and you can tailor your book to suit your individual needs. It’s one of the best things I ever did for myself.
- Anne and Christopher Rice’s new novel, Rameses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra arrived, and I can’t wait to get a little time to finish it.
This winter, I’ll be relocating my office to a much larger room in the house (no small task, given the size of my library), and I’m really looking forward to a bigger, more open workspace.
I will also be catching up on a lot of reading, and plan to do several book reviews over the coming months.
What are you reading, planning, watching, doing? Tell me about it in the comments below!
I hope to have a little time to rest over the holidays, but there is still a lot happening. Keep your eye out for sales and giveaways over the holidays. I’ll make announcements for those here and on my Twitter and Facebook pages.
Last month, I was revising my draft of Out For Blood: Book Two of The Blood Royal Saga which I plan to release in December. That’s all very quiet work, with long hours spent in my office alone.
My introvert life has to take a backstage, however, and I’m in for a long stretch of time being social. After spending Labor Day weekend with family celebrating my nephew’s wedding, I’m settling in for a lot of work all through the fall.
This week begins an exciting two month rush of writing and book/sales events that I’ll be attending. Marie and I will be hitting the road for signings and selfies all over the Midwest.
- Thu Sep 7 (4:30pm – 8:00pm)
Boonville Festival of Lights
Boonville, MO 65233, USA
Sat Sep 23 (11:00am – 6:00pm)
BookFest Saint Louis
St. Louis, MO, USA
Sat Oct 14 (10:00am – 5:00 pm)
Twin Cities Book Festival
St. Paul MN, USA
Sat Oct 28 (8:00am – 5:00pm)
Heartland Book Festival
Cape Girardeau, MO, USA
All of these festivals are free and open to the public. If you’ve already bought a book, I’ll be happy to sign it for you, though you’re also welcome to simply stop by to chat and do selfies.
I’m in the process of scheduling some other signings and readings, as well, so keep an eye out for announcements for that on my Events page or on my Facebook and Twitter pages. If you would like email updates on what’s coming next, you can sign up for the Eagle Heights Press Newsletter.
Like my vampiric characters, I haven’t seen the sun in a while by the very nature of what I did all summer, so don’t be surprised by my pale appearance.
During the last weekend in September, I’ll be at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park for a horror writers retreat. Some of you may have heard me talk about going there before. I’ll be seeing several familiar faces, and I’m really looking forward to
I’ll also be working on some other projects – interviews with fellow authors, editing another person’s book (announcement coming soon), writing a short story, and prepping Out For Blood for presale.
It’ll be very busy, but in the best sort of way.
In The Blood: Book One of The Blood Royal Saga
by Delia Remington
“Art Student Sybill Lysander had an ordinary life, working in a coffee shop in the Central West End of St. Louis. Then a vampire named Fin walked in the door, and her whole world changed. Fin and his maker, former Queen Marie Antoinette have hidden for years from her enemies, but both Fin and Sybill become caught up in Marie’s unfinished business.”
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-00-7
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-01-4
Available from your favorite online outlet
Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.
So much is happening this fall! Things are getting very busy for me in the best and most exciting ways.
In addition to gearing up for the release of Out For Blood, Book Two of The Blood Royal Saga in December, I’m also going to be signing books at several events here in the Midwest in September and October. I’ve created an “Events” page and added it to the navigation menu of my website in order to make those easier for readers to find, and I will keep it updated regularly.
Next year, I plan to expand those so I am visiting book festivals across the country.
Eagle Heights Press is also going to have a quarterly newsletter. If you sign up for that, you’ll get updates on my book releases and events sent to your email. No spam. Just news.
At the end of September, I’ll be spending the weekend in Estes Park for the Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat. I’m looking forward to catching up with my friends and having time to relax and get some concentrated work done on Trial By Blood: Book Three of The Blood Royal Saga. I’m planning to have the first draft of that manuscript done this fall so the book can be ready to release next year.
As for what’s happening right now, I’m wrapping up revisions to Out For Blood this month. The revision process is tedious, but necessary, and I’m hoping that this next book is even more exciting than the first.
The book release party we had in July was a ton of fun, with about fifty people who came to celebrate with me. We had a fabulous cake decorated to look like the cover of my book, and we set up a cardboard standup of Marie Antoinette for people to take selfies with on the front porch.
The standup and the backdrop will be going on the road with me wherever I’m doing signings this fall, and we’ll be giving away red velvet cupcakes to people who sign up for the newsletter. After all, “LET THEM EAT CAKE!” Hahaha! It should be both eye catching and a lot of fun.
We had our first booth signing table at the Fayette Festival of the Arts last week, and that was a wonderful success.
In The Blood Reviews
I’m grateful and humbled by the reviews for In The Blood. So far, it’s all been five stars on Amazon, and a lot of people have tagged me on social media to tell me how much they enjoyed the story.
You always hope when you write something that readers will enjoy what you’ve written as much as you enjoyed the telling of the story, and it’s thrilling to me that the book has found an audience that finds the book exciting and fun.
I’ve had fun tracking all the places I’ve sent signed copies on a map. It’s exciting to know that there are people on the other side of the world who have read the story, and it definitely gives me a lot of encouragement and motivation to keep working on the sequels. The first three books are a certainty, but if the series sells well, I have ideas for a great deal more. I hope that readers will want to continue to take that journey with me.
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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!