Category Archives: social media

No Rest for the Wicked

In The Blood is Finally Here!

I am so excited that In The Blood, the first book in The Blood Royal Saga is finally out there for people to read and enjoy.

img_0117For those who are interested in purchasing a copy of In The Blood:

Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-00-7

  • Amazon (Link goes to the US Amazon link, but if you search using the ISBN number, you will find the copy, no matter what country you’re in)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Or you can request an order from your favorite local bookstore

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-01-4
Available from your favorite online outlet

Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.

I’ve been sending out a lot of signed copies, and it’s amazing and humbling to me how many countries it’s reached. I’m considering getting a big world map and pinning all the locations I’ve mailed to. Yes, I’m sending them out myself, so if you order one of these, I’ll be the one mailing it out to you.

It’s been a very long road to this day, but one week into the sales, and I’m pretty pleased with the comments I’ve gotten back. I’m hoping people find the book exciting and interesting and that they want to keep coming back for more.

I’ve tried very hard not to swamp people with too much advertisement. Some of it is necessary, but it’s hard to find a balance between simply sharing your excitement and feeling like you’re spamming people. I hope I am doing the former rather than the latter. No one likes constant advertising, and I don’t want to do that to my friends.

I know I can’t just sit around and wait for people to buy, however. It’s not just going to become a success without effort.

Help Spread The Word

Some people have asked what they can do to help me get the word out. There are a few things, if you’re so inclined:

  • Post about it on social media to help me find new readers
  • Write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
  • Tell people you think would enjoy it
  • Request the book at your local bookstore

Those things will help more than anything else, and would be greatly appreciated.

Release Party

On July 15, I’m hosting an afternoon release party open house celebration at my house for anyone who is local. I’ve ordered a cake from The Upper Crust bakery in Columbia (LET THEM EAT CAKE) which I cannot wait to see (It’s supposed to look like my book cover). We will also have champagne, though there will also be punch and coffee for those who prefer it. So far, we’ve got about sixty five people or so who have confirmed that they’re attending, though there may be more.

At the party we will have special guest Marie Antoinette in attendance, and you can have your photo taken with her to celebrate.

With as many people as we are anticipating, we’ve spent a lot of time getting the house ready for the event and have purchased a canopy tent thing where I’ll set up outdoors to sign copies for those who want them. I’ll use the canopy for festivals and outdoor events later on, and may even take Marie on the road with me.

Camp NaNoWriMo and Sequels

Thououtforbloodcovergh this first week of July has been hectic, I still set myself the goal of doing Camp NaNoWriMo and using the time to complete revisions on Book 2, Out For Blood, before sending the book to an editor. I’m planning to finish my work on the book this month so I can publish the book by December, and even get a head start on finishing Book 3, Trial By Blood which I plan to publish in 2018. I don’t want to make readers wait too long for the sequels.

I’ve also made a mockup of the cover of Out For Blood, and I’m very excited to see it come to its fruition. I’m feeling more confident with InDesign, and I truly enjoy that aspect of the job as well. Though being responsible for every aspect of the project is extremely hard work and sometimes I feel like Dick Van Dyke’s One Man Band in Mary Poppins, it’s so rewarding to have every part of the project be something I had a hand in. Every choice has been mine, from font to layout to cover art. Having creative freedom also means creative responsibility, but it’s an aspect of the job that is extremely satisfying to me.

Public Radio show and Podcast

After meeting with the station manager of the local public radio station, KPIP, I’ll be hosting my own show regularly, and that will then be posted online as a podcast. The schedule has to be set, and I am still working on a title for it, but I’m really excited that this is a thing that’s going to happen.

One segment of the show will be me reaching a chapter of In The Blood a week. I intend to compile those once I’m through and put out an audiobook.

I’ve bought a microphone and headset to do the recordings, and the equipment will work on both my desktop computer and on my iPad. That means I can take it with me to events or on research trips and do recordings on the road as well. As soon as I have more information, I’ll be posting about that so people know where to listen in.

As part of the show, I’d like to host regular interviews with other writers as well, and if you’re interested in participating in that, please let me know. I’m happy to do that, and I’d love to hear from you.

In gearing up for that, as well as to prepare for other things I intend to write, I’m doing some research. Here are just a few of the things on my reading list. If you’ve got recommendations, drop me a line, and I’ll add them to my stack.

 

So, anyway, that’s what’s happening with me this month. It’s likely to keep me very busy. It’s a good busy, though, and I’m loving the work.

I’m looking forward to having a little time to go on a holiday this fall, though it’s likely to be a working vacation. So much I want to do and only so much time!

 

 

Pretty Good Days

Untitled

By Neil Gaiman’s definition, I’ve had some pretty good days lately.

Well, okay, I took a couple of days off to go on a short trip to Chicago. But otherwise, yes. I’m writing every day. I’m keeping to a routine that works. I’m wrapping up changes to the manuscript to give to my editor and will be sending them off by the end of the week. The work makes me happy. The changes feel good. I’m inspired. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

Like anyone else, I could list off a litany of things that aren’t going the way I would like. However, I choose to focus on what is going right, and my writing is a big part of that.

I’m also working with Miranda, the fabulous, on my social media plan, and that project is also making me smile. She’s been very helpful in helping me focus on what works now and what can be better. I’m really going to miss her at the end of the semester.

Random Things That Interested Me:

Spring Break Boogie

For the university students at the college where I work, Spring Break begins today. While I don’t have the entire week off from work, I do have two three-day weekends in a row, which is almost as  fantastic. This weekend, I’m working on book revisions, learning to podcast, and spending some time with my family.

Family

DadMy father’s 82nd birthday was last week, but due to the bad weather and my laryngitis, we held off celebrating for a week.

The photo to the right shows him six years ago, working on the front porch of my house on a beautiful day in October. My father, an optometrist by day, acted as contractor for nearly every part of the work that was done on my house, from demolition, rough construction, plumbing, wiring, drywall, paint, finish carpentry…you name it, my dad did it. He did the work in his spare time, giving up days off to help me with the job that would otherwise have been impossible and overwhelming. There is not a room in this house that doesn’t have his stamp on it. Words cannot express the gratitude I have or the impact he’s had on my life.

Though he isn’t able to do as much as he used to, at age 82, I think he’s earned the right to relax. Still, he is always looking toward the next project, and that is an approach to life that I aspire to.

Social Media

Back in January, I started working with my intern assistant, Miranda Herod. To introduce her, she and I did an interview together. Miranda is a business major, concentrating in marketing and advertising, and she’s minoring in communications. Throughout the spring semester, she is working with me on my internet presence, helping to analyze and improve my social media use.

As part of the internship, Miranda and I are working on creating a plan for a regular podcast I’ll host, and I’m looking forward to making that happen.

Author Fangirling

Neil Gaiman PosterToday, I got such a wonderful surprise! I discovered that I won a contest for this Neil Gaiman signed poster! Eee!! I opened the mail and almost screamed, but then I realized I was on my front porch still in pajamas and there were people leaving the building across the street. Once I scurried inside though, totally shameless fangirling happened.

Now I just have to find the perfect frame so I can hang it in a place of honor in my office.

I’m not at all an autograph hound, but I have loved Neil Gaiman’s work for the last 25 years, and this poster is definitely going to be motivational for me. His work inspires me every day.

The only other autograph I’ve ever sought out is Anne Rice’s.

To the best of my memory, it was 1995. I was 24 years old and was in the process of writing my first book (which was dreadful, though I didn’t realize it at the time). I hadn’t yet made up my mind about grad school, but I knew that my dream was to work as an author one day. In addition to my academic reading, I absolutely devoured horror novels, especially Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.

A friend of mine from college who shared my interests called to let me know that Anne Rice was on a book tour to promote her latest novel. As a gift to me, she got both of us tickets to the signing event at a bookstore near her house. I remember driving two hours and then waiting with my friend for four more hours in line. The demand for the tickets had been much greater than the bookstore had anticipated, and hundreds of people had come from miles around for the event.

Anne Rice AutographImpatient and excited, I clutched my ticket and my brand new copy of Memnock the Devil until my group was called. As long as my day was, when I thought about how long she had been scrawling her name over and over inside book after book, still smiling and saying “thank you,” it made me even more grateful. She must have been there ten hours that day, and she was just as polite and thoughtful to those of us at the end of the line as she had been to the people lucky enough to get there first.

I was so excited about the autograph that I immediately went to buy a second copy of the novel in order to keep the signed one unopened and pristine. I still have it on the shelf next to my computer, and every day as I’m working in my office I see the book out of the corner of my eye and smile.

My Writing

My brain is full of more ideas than I can contain right now. It’s a good problem, but I can’t write fast enough.

Keeping focused on my top priority, I’m making a few more revisions to Book 1 before I send it off for another round of edits and then shop it.

As for Book 2, I’m about 30 pages in. I’ve put it on hold until my revisions are through, but I intend to be back to work on it in about a month.

In addition, I’m working on a couple of short stories which I hope to complete sometime before the end of the summer. One is a ghost story inspired by a dream I had, and I hope that what scares me will scare others. The other is a detective story with a horror twist.

Finally, I’ve had yet another idea for a YA book, also inspired by a dream, this one a dystopian zombiesque story. I have another YA book about werewolves already begun. I’ve made notes on both books and set them aside for the time being so I can concentrate on one thing at a time.

I love being so inspired. I only wish there were more hours in the day.

Layla

LaylaHave I mentioned that I have the best dog ever? Well, I do. She’s a wonderful writing companion-quiet, relaxed, and patient. Layla also makes sure I don’t forget to eat and stretch once in a while. She doesn’t do any tricks except “sit,” and even then you have to give her a treat for doing it, but I don’t need a dog who entertains me. Layla knows how to love, and that is the best.

Dogs don’t ask for much. They cheerfully eat the same thing every day. They love unconditionally.

Things Layla has taught me:

  • Give the people in your life all of your attention.
  • If you love someone, show it.
  • Ask for hugs when you need them.
  • Be excited to meet new people.
  • Show gratitude immediately.
  • Expect the best, always.
  • Appreciate the little things-warm breezes, soft blankets, belly rubs, tasty treats.
  • Slow down to notice the wonder of the world around you.
  • Take walks.
  • Set boundaries and make sure others know them.
  • Try harder.
  • Live in the now.
  • Share your enthusiasm with others.
  • Naps are good.
  • There is comfort in routine.
  • Be willing to follow someone else’s lead.
  • Never give up on something that matters to you.

And on that note, I’m off to work.

Random Interesting Stuff (or How I Cut My Distractions and Got Busy Writing Book 2)

How to Break Through Your Creative Block by Maria Popova for Brain Pickings
I’m working on this. I get easily distracted and sidetracked with to-do lists and social media, and then the next thing I know I’m taking a nap. My solution is two-fold.

  1. This blog is going to be my repository of distracting but interesting stuff. Rather than posting several times a day, I’m going to try to limit myself to a few posts at the beginning and end of the day, saving up interesting ephemera for one single blogpost every day or so.
  2. When I’m staring at a blank page or screen, unsure how to start, I take about 5-10 minutes and do a prewriting just to get things rolling. Instead of worrying about how I’m going to say just the right thing, I start instead with writing about what I’m going to write about. I don’t worry about grammar or paragraph breaks or any of that. Sometimes it’s just a list. But I’m thinking about the scene and what I want to have happen. By the time I’ve told myself what I’m going to tell, it’s easy to start telling it. The hard work is done.

Why Dogs Make Fun Writing Partners by Jennifer Robson for Writer’s Digest
I loved this article, and I couldn’t agree more. Layla needs a break about as often as I need a new cup of coffee, so that’s a partnership that works. Plus, she keeps my feet warm. I keep her bed right behind my chair, though she often chooses to lie down under my desk or on the rug at my side. She’s a good companion since she doesn’t say much but is an excellent listener.

“The Poisoner’s Handbook,” American Experience . WGBH | PBS
My high school English teacher sent me a link to this video on Facebook, and it was definitely worth watching. I’ve always loved murder mysteries and true crime, so it was interesting to me to see the development of this end of CSI work.

Vampires: Folklore, fantasy and fact – Michael Molina 


I don’t think I really need to explain why I find this short video sent to me by a friend so fascinating and fun.

Vampire ForensicsVampire Forensics
I bought this book for my Kindle, and I’m really enjoying the details inside. Though I can’t reveal just how (spoilers!), there are definite ways this book will inform some of the things that happen in Book 2. As a reader, I always like knowing that an author has done his/her homework, so I want to be sure I’m following through on that expectation too.

I’ve got a few more books on their way, and I’ll be doing some book reviews once I’m finished reading for those who are interested in vampire lore and history.

History of Magic and Experimental Science
I bought this set of books at the last library book sale. None of them had been read in 30 years or more, but the title alone is fascinating. It’s an encyclopedic study of how superstitions about witchcraft and alchemy developed over the course of several centuries into what we now call the sciences.

These books are far too lengthy for me to read straight through beginning to end, but they are wonderful to dip in and out of. Vampires and other supernatural creatures are discussed throughout history, beginning with the Greek NeoPlatonists. Creepy geeky goodness. There are certainly ways in which I will be using information found here.

Goal Setting for the New Year

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a big list-maker. One of the most satisfying experiences, in my opinion, is making a list of all the things I hope to accomplish in a day/week/month/year and ticking them off one at a time till they’re all done. I love that sense of completion I get from looking at a list upon which every task has a corresponding checkmark. I also learned early on to break up large jobs into small tasks so that I could simultaneously give myself achievable goals and positive reinforcement that would see me through to the end. This system has stood me well as a writer as well.

I have very ambitious long term goals, but the only way I’m going to see them to fruition is by setting a series of short term milepost goals that will lead me in the direction I want to go.

With this in mind, here are my goals for 2014 (yes, I realize this is a long list, but they’re all attainable given the proper planning):

Writing Goals

  • Find representation (In process) for the book series with the goal of publishing Book 1 within a year
  • Meanwhile, write manuscript for Book 2 between January and May.
    • Write summaries for each character’s storyline, with their key scenes detailed
    • Outline the chapters in order, interweaving those storylines
    • Organize the book into 3 acts (30-35 thousand words per part) in order to give the story structure
    • Create the Scrivener project for the book
    • Set a schedule for each week with a deadline for completing each of the parts (one per month?)
    • Maintain a record of words completed each week
    • When first draft of each section is complete, take a couple of days off and then do at least 3 rounds of revision
    • Update outline as needed until the entire manuscript is complete and ready to begin editorial process
  • Write at least 2 short stories in the summer of 2014 (related to the novel? unrelated?) and shop them for publication in the fall
  • Determine what manuscript I want to work on during The Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat

Social Media Goals

  • Set a weekly/monthly schedule for regular blogging/posting
  • Learn how to use analytics to determine content goals
  • Find an admin assistant for my FB and Twitter to help manage postings if needed

Personal Goals

  • Schedule exercise into my weekly calendar 3 x per week and take it as seriously as I do my writing goals
  • Expand my container garden to grow more than just tomatoes this year
  • Reorganize my laundry room and consider purchasing new equipment
  • Learn to crochet
  • Dedicate one room for hobbies and organize supplies
  • Spring cleaning during the week of Spring Break to sort clutter, then store, toss, or donate as appropriate
  • Read 50 books using Goodreads to keep track of my goal

Notice that these are goals, not resolutions. Resolutions seem to always be broken. I am going to do these things, not just say I’m going to. Getting out my calendar now to make my plans. 2014 is going to be a good year.

What are your goals for the New Year?