Giveaways, Quarantine Ebook Sales, Radio Interview, And Much More

I sat down to talk with Rachel Steele from my local radio station, KPIP, in an interview that aired today, April 27, 2020. In it, we discussed my vampire series, The Blood Royal Saga, and my progress on writing the fourth installment, Flesh And Blood.

Awards Nominations!

I also have some exciting news to share about the two books I published through Eagle Heights Press in 2019!

  • Also, Dark Conjurings: A Short Fiction Horror Anthology is up for two awards this year:
    • 2020 Midwest Book Awards in Fiction: Anthology
    • 2020 Ben Franklin Awards™️ in Fiction: Horror

I’m grateful and honored to have the recognition from both the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

The awards ceremonies will be online this year, and I’m looking forward to those events.

In addition, Sarah Read, who wrote the foreword for Dark Conjurings won a Bram Stoker Award™️ from the Horror Writers Association this spring for her First Novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re in for a treat. She was also nominated for a 2020 Stoker Award for her short story collection, Out of Water. Congratulations to her! It’s so well deserved.

Quarantine Reading

With bookstores and libraries closed and people needing an escape while they’re stuck at home, I’m making books more accessible to help during this difficult time.

Right now, ebooks of In The Blood are only $.99 until the end of May!

Also, ebooks of Dark Conjurings are only $.99 through the end of May as well.

Events and Giveaways

This week, The Blood Royal Saga is featured on I Love Vampire Novels.

You can find an interview with me there, plus enter to win an autographed paperback. The giveaway ends May 3, 2020 11:45 pm CDT, so hurry to enter! And while you’re there, check out their exclusive group on Facebook, sign up for their newsletter, and follow them on social media so you never miss out on great deals and book reviews.

I hope you are all staying safe. Layla and Mustang Sally and I are hanging with the family at home. I’m reminding myself daily that boredom is good because boredom means we’re all healthy and safe. There’s no emergencies. I hope the same is true for you. And if you have to work because your job is essential, THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. Please know that you’re making a difference, and we are all safer because of you.

Much love to you and yours!

All The Things I Cannot Say

The last few months have been very introspective for me. Winter always is, but this one especially for reasons that are very personal.

I’ve always suffered from Seasonal Affected Disorder. If you look at my grade cards from childhood, third quarter was always a slog with notes about missed assignments and distracted behavior. And always when spring came, I rebounded. This year, I decided to try combatting those winter blues with light therapy, and it seems to have made a difference.

Still, it’s not just short days and long nights that got me down.

My parents are getting older, and it falls to me to take over things that they used to manage themselves in the past but for one reason or another those tasks are now too difficult for them to tackle. I don’t mind doing these jobs. After all, they took care of me when I was too young to do things for myself, so it seems only right that I should return the favor. However, it makes me melancholy to see that they’re less able. They’ve always been very active and spent most of my life going from project to project with undimmed enthusiasm. They built everything from boats to houses to furniture. They approached each challenge with excitement and pride in a job well done, and if there was a skill they hadn’t yet acquired, they studied until they were able to do the work and gain mastery in the task. In the past, I had an assistant role, following their direction and guidance. And while many would say that I have grown to be a very independent woman, still I feel unready to take the lead.

In December, my father expressed a deep desire to change the color of the back room that is my parents’ den. He’s not able to do the job himself, so unless we hired someone, the work was going to be my responsibility. I wanted to do it for them. But before I could paint the walls, I needed to do some repairs to the drywall that went beyond simple spackling. One of the seams had drywall tape that had buckled and was peeling loose. In order to fix that seam, I would have to cut the old tape out and then attempt the job of plastering and taping with new joint compound. It’s a job I had watched and done with help, but I’d never attempted the work on my own before. I found the prospect daunting, and even as I began the project, I heard my inner perfectionist telling me I would never get it right, that I wasn’t skilled enough to make the seam disappear. For a couple of weeks, I was immobilized with lack of confidence, procrastinating while I watched how to videos on YouTube and worrying that I’d only make a mess of the wall.

Then I finally realized that my parents weren’t always skilled at the jobs they tackled when I was growing up. They just did the work anyway and learned as they went. I had always thought of them as the experts and felt I needed to have constant handholding because I didn’t trust my own abilities to do the job to a standard they would be proud of. But as I applied the joint compound and sanded away imperfections in my work, I realized that the only person who would see the flaws was me. I didn’t have to be perfect. I only had to do my best and do the job with love.

The room is finished now. Mom and Dad love the way it turned out, and I’m pretty happy with it too. It isn’t perfect, but neither is life. My work doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to be proud of having done it. I learned as I worked, and next time I have to do that sort of job I’ll be better at it. More importantly, I won’t be so hesitant to try something I don’t know how to do. I just have to remember that even if I don’t know how to do it yet, I can learn, and if I fail, I have still learned something. That’s a gift my parents gave me, and it will continue to bring me joy and satisfaction each time I try something new.

No, my parents aren’t able to do all the things they used to do. But I can see now that I’m far more able to step up and take over where they left off. All this time, I thought they were teaching me skills for specific tasks. But now I realize they taught me how to be brave enough to try even when I don’t know what to do, how to learn what I need to know, and how to enjoy the end result even when I know there are imperfections.

I’m slowly emerging from my dark days as the days gradually grow longer. Getting through it means being patient and kind to myself while I am struggling. I know once the weather warms, I will feel the resurgence of energy I’ve come to know so well each spring. When I do, I bring with it the knowledge that I have the strength to take on new challenges, and long after they’re no longer here to guide me, I’ll have those experiences to look back on and help guide me on my way forward. For that lesson, I am eternally grateful.

Time for Giving Thanks!

2019 is winding down to a close, and what a wild ride it has been!

In the last 12 months, I have:

  • Finished setting up my new office
  • Spoken at the Boonslick Regional Library in Boonville, MO
  • Updated the covers for all three books of The Blood Royal Saga and published a library hard cover edition of Book One, In The Blood
  • Attended the Independent Book Publishers Association Conference in Chicago, IL
  • Published Soar: Indie Author Business Planner
  • Been interviewed by KPIP radio in Fayette, MO
  • Done my first professional photoshoot
  • Attended Boonville Heritage Days in Boonville, MO
  • Traveled as a special guest and speaker to the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival in Highgate, London
  • Toured Mid Continent Public Library’s Story Center in Kansas City, MO
  • Taken part in the Fayette Festival of the Arts in Fayette, MO
  • Met with readers at the Celebrate Wildwood Festival in Wildwood, MO
  • Been interviewed by Paul Pepper for KBIA radio and KMOS TV in Columbia, MO
  • Had a booth at Mid MO Pagan Pride in Columbia, MO
  • Participated in the Missouri Library Association‘s Tradeshow in Kansas City, MO
  • Edited and Published my first short story anthology, Dark Conjurings: A Short Fiction Horror Anthology, along with six of my good writer friends, including Sarah Read who wrote a fabulous forward for the book
  • Exhibited at the Twin Cities BookFest in St. Paul, MN
  • Been a special guest and speaker at the Multiverse SciFi & Fantasy Convention in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Taken part in the Daniel Boone Regional Library Local Author Event in Columbia, MO

Needless to say, professionally, this year has been nothing short of fantastic!

My personal life, however, has been full of stress. My father’s health isn’t what it once was, and he needs more help to get through his days. Migraines and Meniere’s Disease have slowed me down at times throughout the year. I’ve also lost nine friends and family members over the course of this year, and those losses have been difficult at times to bear. And we had a major project on the homefront, replacing our roof. This house was built in 1892, and up until this fall, no one had ever taken off the original cedar shingles. They had simply added another course of shingles on top of the old ones. Four layers of them were weighing our house down at a staggering 9000 pounds. All that has now been removed and replaced with new decking and shingles which has been guaranteed to last at least fifty years.

I had intended to publish two more novellas for some other writers and finish and publish Flesh and Blood: Book Four of The Blood Royal Saga by the end of this year, but given the stumbling blocks I’ve faced in my personal life, those projects have to be pushed back until the spring of 2020.

However, I’m still working diligently to make sure those projects come to fruition, and I’ve got a few more surprises as well that I’ll be announcing soon.

I’m grateful beyond measure for my friends who have joined me through my joys and journeys and supported me when I needed their strength. You are truly the best, and my life is so much better because you’re in it.

I’m honored to know and work with so many inspiring and interesting writers, artists, and creative folks and to have the opportunity to learn from and grow from our interactions both in person and online. You help me continue challenging myself in new ways and remind me that I’m not alone.

I am overwhelmed by all the opportunities that came my way this year. To those of you who gave me a hand up and who made a seat at the table for me and for my work, thank you, thank you, thank you. A thousand times, thank you. Because of you, I am changed for the better.

To the teachers I’ve met along this journey, both professional and personal, thank you for helping me grow in my craft and in my life. You have helped me understand what is possible and shown me where I want to go from here.

I’m also thankful for the readers who have enjoyed my work, supported my endeavors, followed and interacted with me on social media, subscribed to my blog, reached out to tell me they liked what I’m doing, and written reviews of things I’ve written. I am truly blessed and humbled. Thank you. I love you all.

Most of all, I’m grateful for my family who have been my rock throughout this year’s ups and downs. I owe you everything.

I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and a joyful holiday season. I hope it is filled with laughter and love and many moments of gratitude.

Wishing you all the best!

Dark Conjurings Release!

I am thrilled to announce the release of Dark Conjurings: A Short Fiction Horror Anthology! With six dark tales, this anthology has something to please every reader this Halloween.

“Six gripping tales from new voices in horror and fantasy. Each story in this collection opens a window into a world of dark imaginings where nightmares stalk and shadows linger. Within these pages, you’ll find ghosts and ghouls, monsters and magic, murder and mayhem. Enter friend, but be cautious, lest you find yourself lost in these dark conjurings.”

Foreword by Sarah Read

Edited by Delia Remington

Cover and Interior Graphics by Cassy Crownover

Table of Contents:

  • “Foreword” by Sarah Read
  • “All That Glitters Must Die” by Jai Lefay 
  • “The Shadows Breathe” by A.R. Reinhardt 
  • “Night of the Beast” by Cassy Crownover
  • “The Doctor and The Lady” by Delia Remington
  • “The Lady In White” by Karolyne Cronin
  • “Mystick Tea” by Mimi Schweid

This is my editorial debut, and I’m thrilled and proud of the work that went into it. Each of the authors breathes new life into classic tropes, deftly subverting reader expectations and providing surprises and chills along the way. The foreword by Sarah Read is a delight, showcasing the reasons why she is such a powerhouse of insight and creativity in the genre. And the cover design and interior graphic work by Cassy Crownover gives the entire collection a thematic cohesiveness I absolutely adore.

As for my own story contribution, “The Doctor and The Lady” depicts Mary Shelley as she conducts research vital to her horrific classic creation, Frankenstein, in a story that blends historical fiction and horror.

Available to purchase online at all the usual places, including:

Hardcover

Paperback

Ebook

If you prefer face-to-face purchases, copies are available at several independent bookstores, including:

And from the several Barnes & Noble locations, including:

  • Union Square, New York City
  • Zona Rosa, Kansas City, MO
  • Columbia Mall, Columbia, MO

Paul Pepper Video Interview, August 28, 2019

Last month, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Paul Pepper for his local NPR/PBS show, “Radio Friends with Paul Pepper.” Our conversation was a lot of fun, and it was a pleasure to be on the show. Here’s the video clip from the interview.

Interview on Radio Friends with Paul Pepper

On Wed. Aug. 28 at 8:50am, you can hear my interview with Paul Pepper on Columbia, Missouri’s NPR Station, 91 FM KBIA. It’ll also be available as a podcast download (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/radio-friends-paul-pepper/id340253562?mt=2).

Our conversation was a lot of fun, talking about my books and all things vampire.

June Wrap-up

This month has been a busy one, and I accomplished several major goals.

Book Releases

I published the hard cover library edition of In The Blood. I’d been working on the project for a couple of months, and after a great deal of research and hard work, it’s finally here. I’m very happy with the way the dust jacket turned out, and I’m equally proud of the interior. It’s satisfying to hold it in my hands, knowing I truly owned every piece of its production. I’m hopeful readers will like the new format.


My next project was the product of swift and concentrated effort. For the last four years, I’ve been bullet journaling, and while I enjoyed the process, I sometimes found the extra effort of doing all those monthly and weekly layouts time consuming in a way that became counter productive. After searching for alternatives, I was frustrated with the journals and planners on the market. None of them incorporated all the elements I wanted. I took all the things I loved about my bullet journal and added in some of the missing pieces I needed in order to accomplish my goals, and created a planner tool that was as close to my ideal as I thought I could manage.

Originally, I’d envisioned the book for my own private use, but as soon as I completed the design work, I knew other people would find it helpful too. I’m proud to announce the release of Soar: Indie Author Business Planner, available in paperback and hardcover. With annual planning worksheets, quarterly, monthly, and weekly business planning pages, customizable “bullet journal style” pages, and regular assessments, the book is designed to help writers stay on task and accomplish their goals.


Rachel Steele from my local public radio station KPIP interviewed me for their Local Voices segment. You can listen at the link below.

KPIP Local Voices Interview with Rachel Steele

Upcoming Projects

As soon as these books were completed, I began work on a dark fiction short story anthology I’m editing and plan to publish later this year. More details will be coming soon, including a title and cover art, but I’m nearly through with the first round of edits and am truly thrilled about these tales. Each one is like a little gem. I can’t wait to share the book with the world.


I have also been asked to write the forward for my friend, Brian Spielbauer‘s forthcoming book, The Battle from Concordis Publishing. It’s an honor, and as soon as details are available for the book release, I’ll share that information with you.


Book Four of The Blood Royal Saga, Flesh and Blood, is in progress. I’ll announce the release date with preorder links as soon as it’s available.


In addition, I’m working on a werewolf book which I’m very excited about, and that story may end up being yet another series. Once I’m ready to talk about that a little more, I’ll share that information.


Summer/Fall Events

I’ve been asked to speak at several events this year, so I had a photoshoot with Drummond Photography. This picture will appear in promotions, and I’m very pleased with the way it came out.

  • In July, I’ll be at the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival in Highgate London.
  • During August, I’ll be at some local events – Fayette Festival of the Arts and Celebrate Wildwood.
  • September is Mid Missouri Pagan Pride in Columbia, Missouri, and then I’m off to VampCon Chicago.
  • In October, I’ll be at the Missouri Library Association annual conference in Kansas City, the Twin Cities Bookfest in St. Paul, Minnesota, and then Multiverse SciFi and Fantasy Convention in Atlanta.

Details about all these events can be found at my Events Page.


Reminders:

“How do I get copies of your books,” you ask? All the links for ebooks and paperbacks are conveniently listed right here.

Ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers of all three installments in The Blood Royal Saga and copies of Soar: Indie Author Business Planner can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.

If you’ve read any of my 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. Plus, if you sign up, you’ll get a coupon good for 10% off all books in the store, including ebooks.