Saying that 2018 was eventful is a huge understatement.
My mom and I were busy traveling to local events as well as several in other parts of the country, and we even went as far as Romania to attend the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival (Some photos from these events are shown below.).
This year is shaping up to be extremely busy as well, and I’ll be on the road (and in the air) a lot. Every month has a major event planned, and I’m thrilled about all of them.
Looks like my suitcase will get a workout.
Sadly, I won’t be able to do everything I wish. I will have to leave StokerCon, Scares That Care, and my beloved Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat for 2020. There just isn’t time and money enough to go to all of the things I’m interested in. I will miss all the folks there, but I promise to be back in the future.
If you see me out at any of this year’s events, don’t be surprised if I have a notebook or laptop beside me. I’ve got several big projects happening this year too. I’m writing two books (Book Four, Flesh and Blood, comes out this fall and the other is still to be determined), producing the audiobooks of the first three novels in The Blood Royal Saga, and Eagle Heights Press will be publishing some other people’s books as well. There are a few other things in the works that I’m not quite ready to discuss yet, but I’ll be talking more about all of the above as they progress, so be on the lookout for those announcements.
The next installment of The Blood Royal Saga is underway. Book Four will be entitled Flesh And Blood, kicking off the next story arch, and I anticipate its release in the Fall of 2019.
To celebrate, I’ve not only made a new cover for the upcoming book, but I’ve also given the rest of the books in the series a fresh new look. It’s been nearly two years since the release of In The Blood, and I thought it was time for a makeover! Hope you enjoy!
I’ve been away from the blogging habit for a while now, spending time focusing on writing books and keeping the things I used to post here in a private journal instead. The last few years have been a whirlwind for me, ushering in huge changes in my life. After a lifetime of working for other people, some of which was literally organized by bells marking the passage of time, becoming my own boss was a huge adjustment. I’d never had the flexibility of setting my own schedule. I didn’t know which hours were my peak hours. I didn’t know how to plan my time accurately. I didn’t know how to find a good work/life balance.
Before I began working from home, I thought I’d done my homework. I’d read books and articles on it. I knew friends who had made the leap. And as for the writing part of it, well, that was easy, wasn’t it? I mean, I had written a first draft of my novel in my spare time while working a full time job and doing some side hustles too. If I was working at it full time, I could easily finish a book every couple of weeks at the pace I normally wrote.
A lot of people think of working for yourself as though it’s like a day off – sitting around at home in your pajamas, listening to music, watching YouTube videos, scrolling through social media while your pet does something cute.
Okay, yes, I’ve done my fair share of that, but most of my time is spent actually working.
Don’t believe me? Okay. Imagine this.
You hear about a place other people like to go. It sounds exotic, and you read up about it on the internet. You watch Rick Steves videos about how quaint the little towns are. You look up how to cook some of the local cuisine. You even learn a little of the language. Finally, you decide it’s time to visit. You buy your plane ticket and reserve your hotel room, and finally the day comes and off you go. Once you arrive in this virtual paradise, you walk around, see the sights, meet some locals, and you think “wow, it would be great to live here.” So you quit your job, pack your things, and move to that magical place. But you don’t know where the good grocery store is, and you didn’t realize how bad the traffic would be, plus the rent is really steep and no one in the area is hiring at anything approaching a living wage. It’s no longer a hobby. You’re not visiting. You live there.
That’s what it’s like starting your own business working from home, especially if you’re a creative person.
You’ll have weeks when you repeatedly wake up, sit down at your desk, eat meals there, and stay until it’s time to go to bed. Working from home is not like a day off at all. It’s the workday that never ends, and if your desk is in your living space, you never really have downtime at all unless your friends, family, or significant others force you out of that space. There is a continual sense that you don’t have enough time.
Every action that requires leaving the house is an interruption. It means taking time to put on pants, for goodness sake! That’s a whole hour of work you’ll miss out on while you’re doing frivolous things like choosing what to wear in public or ensuring that your hair doesn’t look like a haystack.
I knew how to do project management. I knew how to write long projects and how to do the tasks that were required for publishing them. I even knew some things about bookkeeping (though I had a lot of room to learn in that department). But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I had no idea what I’d signed up for.
It’s been nearly four years now since I took that leap, and I’ve learned a few things in that time.
As I was putting away my suitcase, I realized I won’t need it again until next spring. I’ve traveled so much this year, I needed a moment to let it sink in that I don’t have any more business trips for the next three months, at least. Whew.
It’s a funny thing, writing a series of books. I knew all along what the last chapter would be, but I was as surprised as anyone else with some of the parts in between. I’ve lived with the story and those characters for so long, I’m not quite sure how to handle not having the urgency behind me to reach the finish line. I’ve worked so hard for so long, and now it’s out there in the world, for better or worse (hopefully, for better). It’s time for me to take a break and write something else for a little while (next year I’ll be working on a stand alone project), but I’m glad I don’t have to say goodbye to my characters for good. I have outlines for much more to come.
Construction is moving steadily on in the office space. Today, they put down subflooring and started work on my roof overhang. Tomorrow, they’ll finish that job and get started on the siding. After that, it’s on to the interior. Wahoo! I can’t wait.
Meanwhile, I’ve been taking care of errands this week, getting a checkup, and generally doing some of the things around the house I haven’t had time to do since my publishing journey began.
On Thursday, I’m at the St. Louis Public Library, and on Saturday, October 27, I’m at the Boonslick Regional Library for a Halloween talk about Dracula and vampires in general. Yay for books!
Next month, I’ll be working on an exciting new book project with my cousin Brianna Carlson and there’s a local author event at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia.
In December, I’m on vacation all month long (the office move will happen then, I hope), and also the audiobook will begin production with Tiffany Flynn. I’m totally thrilled about that too!
That sounds like a lot, I know, but the pace will actually be MUCH more relaxed through the end of the year. I’m grateful for all the good things this year has brought, but I’m ready to have time to catch my breath before I start my next big thing next year.
It’s been a long road to get to this point, but I know it’s only the first stop in a lifelong journey.
Thank you for coming along with me. And for those of you who are new to the series, welcome aboard.
One week until Trial By Blood is available for readers everywhere! The book comes out October 13, and if you preorder now, you’ll have it on the release day!
I’m extremely proud of this third book in The Blood Royal Saga.
Trial By Blood is more exhilarating, more edgy, more suspenseful, more thrilling, and I truly think it will give a satisfying sense of closure to this first story arch.
From here, there are lots of other roads I can take for future adventures in this story world, and that’s exciting too.
Fall is a busy season for me, and I’ll be traveling all around the midwest to meet readers everywhere.
Find me at the 18th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, October 13 (10am-5pm).
Admission and parking is free, and you can even get free metro tickets to the event.
I’ll be at the downtown location of the Saint Louis Public Library, Thursday October 18th (6pm-8:30pm), for a Not So Quiet! Event with a free concert by DRACLA. I’ll be signing books in the main lobby. Have your selfie taken with Marie and pick up some treats while you’re there.
On Saturday, October 27 (10am), I’ll be at the Boonslick Regional Library in Boonville to discuss my Search For Dracula as well as the folklore origins of the vampire myth.
Marie will be there, and I’ll have Halloween treats and fangs, as well as copies of all three books in The Blood Royal Saga.
I’m going to be at the Daniel Boone Regional Library’s Local Authors Open House, Saturday, November 17 (10 am-1 pm). Come by, say hi, and pick up some new books by some amazing local writers.