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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!

 

 

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Various and Sundry

Ordinarily, I have a theme I focus on as I write my blog entries, but my mind is everywhere all at once this weekend, so I’m just going to give you pieces of that instead.

What I’m writing:

I’m working on additions/changes to Book One of my vampire series. I’m hoping to have those done by the end of October so I can spend November (NaNoWriMo time) finishing Books Two and Three. They’re outlined, and the word totals for the two books add up to 70,000 words, which is the goal for NaNoWriMo. How awesome would it be to enter December with THREE COMPLETE NOVELS in my series done? SO AWESOME.

I’ve also got a werewolf project I’m planning to co-write with a friend, and I’m very excited about seeing that happen. I’m hoping if we can get more done, I can sign us up for Channillo so it can be published in serial form online.

What I’m reading:

I’m working my way through The Memoirs of Casanova. He’s such a fascinating person. I’m really enjoying his storytelling. There’s such a playful energy to his style and a clear intelligent wit. He’s often laughing, it seems, but at himself as much as at the other people he was surrounded by. I can see why so many women found him appealing.

What’s happening around the house:

New screen doors and trim have been installed on our back porch, and before the cold sets in, we’re having the back of the house scraped and repainted. That wall was the first one that was painted back when the renovations were happening, and some of the paint has begun to peel. It’s been several years now, so I suppose that’s not surprising. I can’t wait to see it looking fresh and new again. As for the back porch, I’m very excited to have that finishing touch completed. I’m looking forward to spending three seasons of the year out there, bug free.

The last big job to tackle is the garage, and that will happen hopefully next year.

What I’m making:

Knitting is relaxing for me. I do it in between writing sprints and as a way to relax my mind when gearing up or gearing down for the day. I let my mind drift, and it seems to help me focus better once I get to work.

For the last month, I’ve been making hats and scarves for five of my friends. I have several projects going at the same time, and I move from one to the other depending on my mood and which room I’m in.

I’m hoping to have them all finished and mailed out by Thanksgiving, and then I plan to make knitted animals for the children in my family as well as a few other people I know would enjoy them.

Next spring, I plan to make my first sweater. I’ve always been a little nervous about doing that since it seems so complicated, but I’m going to tackle my fear and just try. After all, that’s the only way to learn, right?

Nerdy things that arrived in the mail:

Stuff I thought was cool:

How’s ’bout you?

  • What’s new with you?
  • Got any new projects/books you’re excited about?
  • What are you working on? Writing? Reading? Doing?
  • Did you find something cool you think I should know about?

Tell me in the comments!

Want to be interviewed on this blog? Let me know! I’m always looking for writers to promote and talk with.

 

NaNoWriMo Time Again

Though I’ve been writing for the last year, my blogging has fallen off. I’m going to be using it over the next month as a way to stave off my urge to use social media throughout the day. I’ll be saving up the the things I want to say to put into one long post, rather than doing fifteen short ones scattered throughout the day. I’ll just make notes of them as they come to me, rather than getting on Twitter or Facebook which turns a five second post into a forty five minute scan of cat videos and cute baby pics and TV show spoilers.

I spent a couple of days last week setting up a table so I can work away from online distraction, and so far, it’s proved to be very productive. NaNoWriMo will really put my plan to the test. Wish me luck!

My office has become a really comfortable space, and I truly love my ever-growing library. When I moved back from Saint Louis last spring, I had twenty eight big paper boxes full of books (the equivalent of about 5000 volumes), and at last I have all of the books put in order. There is even room for my collection to grow, which I haven’t had in…well…ever. I’ve always had bookshelves that were overflowing. This is a new era in my life. Eventually, I plan to repurpose my garage into a giant office (This room is the smallest of the guestrooms in the house.), but that change is at least a year away, so in the meantime, I’m making this space as functional and useful as possible.

There’s a little spaceheater that looks like a fireplace, and I’m looking forward to keeping this room cozy throughout the long winter days and nights.

In order to keep myself on task, I’ve set up a whiteboard near the door, and I’m going to keep track of my word counts throughout NaNoWriMo. My hope is to finish the last of the additions to Book One by the end of October, then spend November completing Book Two and setting to work on Book Three. In a perfect world, with no distractions or problems, all three novels in the series would be completed by the end of December.

In addition, I’ve begun using Toggl.com as a way to keep track of my time on various tasks and to help me with time management. For instance, so far, I’ve spent forty minutes writing this blog entry. Somehow, if I can see the timer spinning off the minutes and seconds, I stay focused better, and it forces me to be more efficient in my use of time.

I’ll also be using my Scrivener to keep word counts, then recording my progress on NaNoWriMo’s website.

To keep myself from scanning relevant and interesting articles all day long, I’m using Klout.com as an aggregator and to schedule my posts, spacing them out throughout the day, rather than being online all day long or, conversely, dumping them all in a short span of time and overwhelming people with a bunch of links at once. I’ve used Klout in the past, and I find it really helpful. I scan the articles under my chosen topics when I have free time, then let the site take care of the rest. That’s a much better use of my time, and I really like it for that purpose. If I can ever afford to hire an assistant, they can take over some of that sort of work for me, but in the meantime, Klout is the next best thing.

Things I found and posted in the last twenty four hours, include:

My friend Kari Kilgore’s new novel is out, and I highly recommend it!

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B01M0MA3MB&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_a88dyb70JC7PZ

Also, my friend Jeff Chacon also has a new book coming out. The second installment in his Zombie series is due out next month, but the first novel, American Badass, is out now and being made into a film. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, it’s a great read!

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B00NK7GL3K&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_M38dybQGRQQKZ

As for my writing, I’m very excited and making good progress.

In the early summer, I made some revisions to Book One based on suggestions from beta readers, and I’m very pleased with that work.

I’ve made some major changes to my overall outline for Books Two and Three (and maybe even Four), based on where the characters have lead me, and those changes are going to be truly fun to write.

To prepare for the scenes I need to write, I’ve been doing a lot of research, and books are arriving daily to give me inspiration. I’ve also surrounded myself with items that will help me when I get fidgety, including more action figures. I now have a Casanova action figure with Carnival mask action to stand next to my beheadable Marie Antoinette. It seemed appropriate since part of the action in Book Two takes place in Venice.

I’ve got a lot to read, but I’m not going to let that bog down my draft. I can always come back and add more details in the revision process. What’s important is to let the story unfold and give life to the characters. I’m letting myself become immersed in their world, and I can’t wait for what happens next.

It’s all right there in my head.

In addition to my vampire series, I have ideas for a few other novels as well. One that’s a collaboration with another writer, and I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.

Exciting things are coming!

Tell me in the comments:

  • What are your upcoming projects? Do you plan to do NaNoWriMo?
  • Do you have books/stories that you recommend or that you’ve recently published?
  • What do you do to balance writing and social media time?
  • How do you keep track of your word counts?

I finished this blog post in an hour and fifteen minutes. Thanks Toggl.com!

Perfect Fusion

People have asked me how much research I do when I’m working on a story. It’s hard to quantify something like that.

F946771_475886782495178_34019459_nor me, research is useful, but I don’t like to be tied to what I’ve read. For example, some of my characters are based on real people. Do I read their biographies before I write? Yes. I read everything I can get my hands on, especially first hand accounts. Letters and journals. Biographical accounts from contemporaries. If the character is an author, I will read everything that person wrote. I immerse myself in the music, art, and culture of the society of the time. It’s important to me to make the character believable.

However, I don’t like feeling tied to those facts as I create my story. I use that biographical information to help me understand their personalities, their quirks, their motivations. But I always keep in mind that I am not writing non-fiction. My story is just that. A story. It’s fiction. I am using that real person to add verisimilitude to the tale. The appearance of reality, not the absolute truth.

Character is key. I want to understand the person in as much depth as possible.

If I am doing my job well, the reader will be swept along into a believable storyworld inhabited by realistic, fascinating, and relatable characters who seem like people the reader could meet and recognize on the street.

John Keats once said “We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us,” and I think that sentiment is equally true for fiction. I never want my fiction to feel like a history lesson. Instead, I strive to use that historical background to add richness and depth to the story and its characters, rather than to teach the reader about this or that historical figure.

So, yes. I do a great deal of research to prepare for my writing, but I don’t leave the books open and refer to them constantly as I go.

My method once I’ve decided on a subject I want to explore in my story is to read and absorb as much as I can on the topic. I’ve taken a forensic course in order to understand more about crime scenes and forensic procedures, for example. I’ve read through medical textbooks and read through books on folklore and history. I’ve traveled to the locations I know I’m going to describe. I’ve even used Google maps’ street view to check my understanding of the environment I’ll use as my setting. Once I’ve finished my research, I close the books and set them aside on my desk. They are there for reference if I need to add a specific date or name or detail, but otherwise I allow my mind to extrapolate and expand on the facts I have gleaned from my study. I fictionalize where the story requires it.

I try to avoid long passages of factual infodumping. Instead, I layer the facts into the story as it becomes relevant. And I try very hard to reveal information about my characters’ history in much the same way we get to know the real people in our lives. No one comes into our lives and blurts out his or her entire personal history in one go upon first being introduced, and we would be bored to tears if someone tried to. It’s much more interesting, both in real life and in fiction, to keep learning new things that add to our understanding. It keeps us fascinated and engaged, always wanting to know more.

social_media_truth

New Normal

If you want to be taken seriously, be consistent.”

I saw this quote yesterday on a friend’s page, and though she was referring to her fitness regimen, it spoke to my beliefs about writing too.

Some of the people in my life, when they heard that I had sent my book off to an agent, said “Oh good! Now you can have your free time back.” And I realized that they saw my writing as a chore, something I undertook as a project, and now the first manuscript is finished, they saw the chore as something I could tick off my to-do list and finally have time for “fun.”

But the thing is that writing IS fun for me. It’s not a chore. Well, okay, there are days when it’s easier than others. Still, writing is something I enjoy. And it’s an ongoing thing. I’m a writer, and that word encompasses the ongoing nature of the action. For me, it’s not something I do once and then I’m finished. It’s part of who I am. It’s something that’s integral to my nature. I’ve always done it. The difference is that in the past it was something I hid from others. It was a private activity that I did late at night after everyone else was asleep. I had this feeling that I wasn’t allowed to be serious about it. I had to have a full-time job and there were responsibilities and obligations and to-do lists of chores. So my writing became like an indulgence. Something I allowed myself to do as a privilege whenever I finished everything else. It was a luxury the way other women dream of bubble baths and manicures and trips to the spa. And I was able to indulge that luxury about as often as most women get to have those other things.

It’s amazing to me that, given the sidelining of my dreams, I still managed to write anything at all. And yet, I have amassed a great deal of writing in spite of all that. I dreamed of being a writer since I was a little girl, but I allowed that dream to shrink while other things took control of my time.

This last year was the first time that I decided to stop relegating my writing to the margins of my life. I feel as though I finally allowed my true self to step forward and reclaim the importance it deserves. It’s the first time that I let myself think of writing as a true vocation.

I’ve been writing my whole life. People just never saw it before now. But I’m through hiding it. This is my new normal. I’m not apologizing for it.

“If you want to be taken seriously, be consistent.” That means setting a schedule. Following through on what I plan. Writing every day not as an afterthought or a late night indulgence but as a priority.

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Here at the beginning stages of Book 2, I have some research to do to prepare for the world I’m creating. I’m not sure yet how much of that research will yield rules I will incorporate vs. those I’ll deliberately break, but I think it’s important that I remind myself what the traditional rules have been before I go making new ones of my own.

These are a couple of the books I’m looking through.

 

I also found some very interesting information from my History of Magic and Experimental Science books (mentioned before here) regarding vampire lore, spanning back to the Greeks and Romans. Fascinating stuff! One passage refers to the Lamias, female vampiric figures I’ve studied before.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the research, and I’m certain that the information will be useful.

_________________________________________

One of the improvements I’ve made since I began work on this series a year ago is the use of Evernote to collect my notes, inspiration, and scraps of ideas for future reference. Evernote allows me to keep all of my ideas together and share them from my desktop to my iPad to my phone seamlessly.  I can use tags to make searching for data simple, and so far it’s really helped me organize my work. Often, I’ll be walking to work and think of something that I might add to my book somehow. With Evernote, I can save it all in one place, and those ideas are never lost. Research, character notes, photos, links…all collected for me. I love it.