I have always been a list maker. From the time I could fit a pencil in my hand and scribble down the thoughts in my head, I loved making lists of things. It began with cataloging things. Books on my shelf. My matchbox cars. Names of all my Barbies.
When I got a little older, I learned the joy of task lists. My mother learned quickly that the way to motivate me to do my chores was to give me a list I could check off with glee. I often would do more than had been written on the paper simply so I could mark those things as done too.
That’s why upon seeing my friend’s bullet journal last year, I realized that I needed to make this ritual a regular part of my life. It was the best decision I ever made.
My bullet journal is more than just a collection of lists. Though that is what it was originally designed to do, there are so many other ways to use it.
My bullet journal is my:
Okay, so that’s a lot more than five ways.
I credit my use of the bullet journal for keeping me on task while I published two books last year and participated in a series of writing and book-related events. My bujo is also the way I keep track of my weight loss, manage all my family errands and activities, remember my appointments, know when to expect packages, and maintain a migraine trigger record to share with my doctor.
Though I do a lot of calligraphy and use multicolored markers and washi tape to decorate my pages, that is all embellishment of a truly simple concept. It’s not necessary to do all that in order to use the bullet journal. All you need to start is a good pen and a blank notebook in order to begin. The rest is all up to you.
There are a ton of ideas you can find online by Googling “bullet journal” or by searching Pinterest. Here are a few of my favorite websites that helped me get started:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
For announcements about books and events, don’t forget to sign up for the Eagle Heights Press Quarterly Newsletter!
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.
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.
Among the things I’m currently gearing up for are:
This fall also brought a ton of good things to my personal life.
Other fun things that made this fall enjoyable included:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want to be featured on this blog? Let me know!