Year in Review

Happy Holidays to you! I hope that you have some time lined up to rest, to enjoy life, and to spend time with your loved ones. As I sit here with my morning coffee and a delicious eggnog biscotti baked by my mom, I reflect upon the year and realize how much I need a break. I promise to take my own advice and step back to enjoy the things that matter the most over the holidays.

A lot has happened in my author path over the last year. I took a deep dive into a massive makeover and overhaul of my books, my website, my newsletter…all of it. I now have the rebranded Track Trilogy along with a full ‘author toolbox’ behind it. I love how it all turned out. It reflects my voice, the essence of the books, and the core of what I write. I built a wonderful relationship with a cover design team along the way, and reflected the new look throughout my whole author presence.

With that said, I have realized that my custom designed ‘vintage’ print books also have a place in the world! I attended my first in person event since before lockdown, and was a little shocked but thoroughly excited to find a true audience for these creative projects that I poured my heart and soul into. Heavy Metal Horror has a place, and I’ve started to find it!

The most important thing that came out of this massive makeover, and my first in person event in years, was that found my voice. Actually, that’s not quite right. I had my voice. I just didn’t realize it. It was shining through loud and clear for years as I worked hard on writing and producing my books. All of the time spent on working and reworking covers, my newsletter, my website, and my social media streams came to a place where it all came together. People started giving me feedback, saying how Killers and Demons had such a clear look and feel – they definitely know something comes from it when they see it.

I guess then the biggest thing that came from this year was my awareness and belief in my voice. Thank you to all of you for reading my books, my blog, my posts, and supporting me along the way. Without you, none of this would be possible.

As a direct result of all of this, I had the courage to enter Final Track for an award. It came in as a finalist (Top 5) in the 2022 Kindle Book Awards for Horror/Suspense! It was also a semi-finalist for best cover, and it was included in the Readers Choice. This was a huge boost for my belief in my books. I have now entered books in multiple award contests, and will continue to do so. I didn’t have the confidence to do this before.

After the event, I was pumped up and keen to find other events where my books would be a good fit. I found a holiday market in November that fit the bill. I remember looking at my table after it was set up and realizing that I had more than enough books to fill a booth! This year has also brought author swag with a killer new sign, book bags, and pins!

The biggest highlight of my author year has to be my 80s metal party book launch that welcomed Back Track (the third book in my core series) to the world. It was a true collaboration between artists: an author (me) and a band (Lynx). They killed it! My local supporters had an amazing time, and copies of Back Track found their way into eager hands.

And…it doesn’t end there. I was asked to include a story in a special Halloween anthology from which all proceeds went to the Calgary food bank. It was a huge accomplishment for me to be invited to submit a story. Then, in November, I launched my first self-published novella, Dead End Track. Attached to the track series, this beauty stands perfectly on its own feet, and the entire process of writing and producing it provided massive validation to my entire book production process and how much it has evolved!

Some other great stuff happened as well. I took on a volunteer role as the local regional representative for the Crime Writers of Canada. I was able to facilitate a couple of local events where authors did some live readings and sold some books! It felt really good to see how comfortable I have become doing my own readings, and to support and encourage other authors.

As the year neared the end, I found myself deep into writing mode. Book four the the Track Trilogy is deep in the editing phase, and book five has been written (first draft)! 2023, and I have two more novellas in the works. 2023 will see the the track series continue and become more than a trilogy! On that note, 2022 also saw the birth and a complete revamp of the film script for the first book (Final Track). Who knows what will happen in the new year!

Thank you for tuning in today, and for reading my posts. This has been therapeutic for me, looking back on the year from the perspective of my author life. I do hope that you will do the same – take a look at everything you have done this year and be proud of yourself.

Now, it’s time to tune out and enjoy the holidays! Happy Holidays!

Dusting off an Old Friend

Where has the time gone? I mean, seriously, where?

I don’t know how long it has been since I sat down and enjoyed writing a blog post. I love my blog. And I love each of you for reading it. I apologize for neglecting it, and here I am to breathe new life into it! Thank you for your patience.

Since today is December 1st, I’m feeling festive. I love the Holiday Season. I dug out one of the lovely holiday mugs my dear mother gave me. I like this one. The fancy French look and pasteries is definitely reflective of the things I enjoy. Why not superimpose a photo of my website in the background, because what makes the Holiday Season even better than Holiday Horror?

It has been a busy time, in a good way. There has been a lot of great writing related things going on. October found me delving into the month of Halloween with enthusiasm, as always. There was pumpkin carving, creepy makeup (I pushed my limits this year), handing out of candy (and glow sticks), and horror movie watching.

October also saw the launch of October Blood, an anthology that I was honored to have a story (Candy Lady) in. It was a beautiful project executed by Hawke Haus, and all proceeds went to the Calgary Food Bank.

November was packed full and it was a lot of fun! I was able to get into a fantastic Holiday Market and sell some books! The vibe at the market was incredible. The other vendors were excited and friendly. The patrons were thrilled to be out and shopping for the holidays. I loved interacting with new readers and putting vintage print books into their eager hands. It was quite exciting for me to see how far my collection of books has come and how much my vendor booth has evolved.

November was also NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month). I use this month to put my writing at the topmost priority, and I join a community of writers in a super motivating over the top fun boot camp. We gather in the virtual space from all over the world and write together.

The goal is to write 50,000 words, thus finishing the first draft of a novel. I set my goal to finish the entire first draft of another book in the Det. Mahoney series. For me, that means writing closer to 80,000 words. I planned for Nano by prepping aspects of characters, settings, stories, and investigation in October. I also allocated chunks of time in November to allow myself the luxury of writing. I am thrilled to say that I wrote over 100,000 words. The novel came in around 92.000, and I pulled out a horror novella I’d been working on to blast through the 100 K line.

The first time I did Nano, I was struggling to finish my first novel. This year, I had so much fun and am really happy that I stuck to it, worked hard, and have improved my craft and my process.

Now that we are officially into December, I will leave you with a festive treat. I am running the Holiday Gift Guide by Killers and Demons for the entire month of December. It will be posted on my Instagram and FB streams (@killersanddemons). On Day 1, I share one of the most moving books I have ever read. Hope to see you on my socials!

Finding Flow in the New Year

Some of us had time off during the festive season. For those of you who didn’t, I hope you can find time and space to rest and recharge. This year, I took a full week between Christmas and New Year’s. I didn’t allow myself to work on anything book or writing related. I love to write. But being an indie author brings many other things that have to be done, other than writing books. I realized that I quite dedicated to my little book business, and thus I don’t tend to take conscious breaks. Especially at a time when travel and adventure has been off the table.

So, I consciously took a full festive week. It was great. I read a lot. I went on nature hikes with my hubby in the winter cold. I cozied by the fire with festive Christmas beer (brewed by my favorite brewery). I had a tonne of fun in the kitchen! I have a passion for learning how to make French pastry. I have a French pastry idol, and have taken his master class, and bought his book. That poor book sat on my shelf, alone. Over holidays, I opened it up and dove right in. I was quite proud of my execution of the homemade jam-jam style cookie, the ever so sweet chocolate chip cookie, and tiramisu. I love how this type of baking requires a slow, focused pace. I love the art of it, and creating something so divine to the sight and the taste buds!

The festive break was also a time to connect with people that I love. And to spend some real quality time with my hubby. It felt good to be completely away from the computer and the office.

Yesterday, Monday, January 3, marked the intended day of my return to the office. It didn’t happen. I was quite run down from my festive and fun week. I recognized that, and I took a full rest day. This morning, I feel quite different. I feel good, relaxed, and in a full state of flow. I have some hefty and exciting goals for this year to realize some visions. I am overly excited about them. I wanted to fling myself right back in. But, if there is one thing I have recognizedd this past year, it’s that I don’t want to be in a state of force. I want to push myself when I know I need it, want it, and it is right. But, when I know my being needs a break, I want to back off. This is something I have not always been good at. Sometimes, I have been terrible at this.

This year, I seek flow.

I will achieve my goals, bringing my visions to reality. I want to do it in a healthy state of creativity, passion, and oneness with my physical, mental and spiritual beings.

This week I will translate my visions for my projects into concrete actions. I have decided to start with the first four months of the year, as I have some big targets for May. Instead of madly jotting down all the things that need to get done, I will start by reflecting on what these visions truly look like to be in a state of success. What success means to you is the most important thing in defining a goal. I will then identify those tasks for each month and week that will take me to my idea of of success for each of those projects. The whole time, I will seek to be in a state of positive energy, passion fueled creativity, and trust in my talent and comittment.

Sound good? Do you want on this train? Stay tuned here. I’ll share my journey, the steps I am taking, and tips along the way.

My Fiction Writing Journey

During the first two years of writing fiction, and attempting to produce a full novel, the process was slow, for me. There were tears. There was a lot of sweat. And…maybe a little blood?

I declared the start of my fiction writing journey to be officially happening in the fall of 2017. There had been a gap between writing and producing my non-fiction work, I had continued to plunge myself into the local writing community, and just attended my favorite, local writing conference. With no particular goal, or project, in mind, I attended a plethora of presentations and discussions, all on topics that intrigued me. I met a local Detective, and was blown away by his presentation on principles of investigations. It stirred within me the passion for true crime books and shows that had been swelling within me for a long time.

I decided I wanted to know if I could write a novel.

I had no idea what that meant, really. But, I knew I wanted to try. It was a strong desired pulsing in my gut. I had to forge forth and let the journey unfold.

I did make a plan, of course. And that plan was derailed from time to time, of course. That is life. But if I’ve learned anything from the ventures and projects that I’ve thrown myself into, it’s how you respond to such derailments that really matters.

I remember the first year of researching and trying to write. At times, I could have sworn I was trying to extract blood from a rock. It took me a while to get it. To be able to let go, let my imagination run wild, and to write freely, words falling on the page. What a glorious moment that was when I realized I’d found my flow.

Now, looking back, and staring at my author page, I am grateful, delighted, hell, I’m ecstatic, that I have continued to set goals and to work hard, and to find my own writing process.

Today, four and a half years after declaring my fiction writing journey has started, I am thrilled to be able to share my author profile here. Eeeeek!!!

First line up: my core series. An 80s metal dark crime series, comprised of two full novels and a novella. The third in the series is planned for launch early 2022.

I have had two short horror stories published! Yes! Someone else loved my story enough to publish it in their works – TWO TIMES! I am also collaborating on a horror anthology that will be released in Oct (The Omens Call). I had no idea I would be working with others, and co-creating an anthology!

Share with me. What journey have you embarked on? Where are you at? What successes have you had? What are you struggling with?

And, please, believe me when I say: YES YOU CAN!

Positively Power – ACDC

Right at a time when we all need a little positivity, the kings of rock deliver. ACDC has just released their newest album – Power Up. It packs punch. It pumps that positive, body twitching, head jerking ACDC electric juice through your entire body. Click on the quick vid below for a little sneak preview (I indulged in the hardcore fan package of the CD version).

Every tune shoots energetic vibes through the air for miles and miles. I don’t know how these guys are still doing it, but they are. Power Up is the seventeenth album of ACDC, and the tunes do not disappoint. Malcolm and Agnus, the brothers that initiated the spark that would become ACDC, co-wrote the songs. Malcolm sadly passed in 2017 of dementia. What a tribute to him.

I still get thrills shooting through my veins when I think back to the time I dragged my better half on a half day journey just to go and see these guys. It was pouring, I mean POURING, rain, but it didn’t slow them down. Angus trotted, danced, whipped his head around and convulsed in guitar god bliss across that slippery, rain drenched stage as it if were a slight sprinkle.

Even Rolling Stone acknowledges that they’ve never slowed down, and this new album is one of their best. Check out the full article.

So here’s to all those about to rock, all those who love dirty deeds done dirt cheap, and every raving fan who remains thunderstruck decades later!

Do you have an ACDC memory? Share in the comments.

Do you have a favourite ACDC track? Share in the comments.

Let’s keep the ACDC love going!

Get your copy of the Power Up limited edition deluxe lightbox by clicking the image below.

Pushing Yourself into New Realms

Hello my little demons! How is your Halloween month?

Now that you’re here, with Demon Julie, it just got better! Why? Because I have a Halloween treat for you. Yes. A dark, delicious delight.

When I set up Killers And Demons, I was writing dark crime, thus ‘Killers’. My vision was to branch into horror, thus ‘Demons’. Well, I am thrilled to announce that it has happened sooner than expected. Sometimes in life, when something presents itself, you just need to dig your claws into it and go for it. When I saw a particular call for submissions for a horror anthology, something tingled in my gut. My whole body clenched with excitement. I didn’t know if I was ready, I didn’t know if I could do it, but I knew I had to try. And, my little demons, failure is not doing something and getting a less than desired outcome. Failure is not trying at all.

So – I thrust my entire being into writing the darkest piece of fiction that has ever come out of me (I think, but some might say my dark crime is just as evil). For days on end I thought of nothing else as my creation formed itself from somewhere within me. I would wake up in the night thinking about it. I would get up early and plunge myself into it. Day after day, I was filled with turmoil in creating the best horror story I could for the particular anthology. If I didn’t try, and I mean – if I didn’t try at 200% (or more), then I’d be a disappointed demon – in myself.

Once I released it, I let it go. I thought about it a lot. I allowed myself to think about it and to dream of being in the anthology. But I also moved my focus into my other work and the universe take the story where it was meant to go.

When I found out that my story was indeed to belong in this anthology, I don’t think I even believed it at first. I think I read the email over and over until I realized – yes – my story made it.

After reading the other stories in the book, I am honoured to be part of this amazing creation. And, I am here to tell you that you should TREAT YOURSELF to a copy now! It is a truly indulgent Halloween treat for you. After all, why should the kids have all the fun?

To get your pre-order in, and have your very own copy dropped your way on Oct 19, check out all the juicy details here: https://www.devilsrockpublishing.com/theotherside

To join in the celebration with me, Demon Julie, on Oct 19, RSVP to the to the invitation to a truly horrifying celebration that will be sure to chill your bones. You don’t want to miss out on a chance to ask Daniel Willcocks, a modern horror king, your questions about his creation. You might even get your spine prickled with a creepy reading by Demon Julie. Bring a cocktail, and raise your glass to pushing limits and doing things that simultaneously terrify and excite!

The next time your nerves tingle, your pores bleed sweat, and your stomach clenches in response to something you REALLY want to do, but you have a mound of self-doubt over, think of Demon Julie taking a deep breath and plunging into a new world of story telling. If I can do it, so can you. Take a deep breath and do it (and then come back here and share your story in the comments)!!!

Lots of love from Demon Julie xxxooo

Killer Writing Tip #2: Effectively Digesting Feedback

When I decided to write my first novel, I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know if I could do it. It was a massive, incomprehensible project looming over me. I wanted to know, needed to know, if I could do it.

Before anything else, I find the most useful thing to do is to admit that I don’t know everything. I completely, 100 % admitted to myself and anyone who asked that I didn’t know how to write the novel that I so desperately wanted to write. I had no idea where to start. The first ‘chunk’ or set of scenes was the hardest.

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This was fiction. This was ‘make belief’ laced with a high level of realism since I wanted my potential readers (if there were any out there) to get pulled into the fictional homicide investigation I was creating and become invested in the outcome.

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Purple Zen Waves from Demon Julie

I might be Demon Julie offering you up creepy readings that make you scared of the dark, but I’m also a happy little demon bringing rainbows and sunshine to your doorstep.

I can’t help it. I love scary things. I love a chill crawling up my back as I crave the next word, sentence, page in a terrifying story, and I love to trickle that chill down your spine too. But I also love warm, happy energy. And I love creating bursts of positivity and sending them your way on a purple wavelength of zen love.

This morning the sun shone. After a week of wet, grey clouds, and persistent rain, my heart soared at the sight of the blazing yellow ball. I indulged in some time outside, sipping coffee and listening to birds chirping happy songs.

I relished in the sounds of nature as I watched the shade peel away like a blanket, revealing the glowing energy that warms the earth and sprouts spring seeds. I took in all the happy energy that flowed my way, wrapped it up in a bow, and sent it your way.

No matter what happens today, you can carve out a moment in time to sit, and to feel happy. Unwrap that box I sent your way and let the soothing purple vibes flow over you. Let the gift of singing birds and warm sunshine cloak you in happiness.

Have a lovely day.

A Dose of Happy

Hello readers, little demons, and friends. How are you doing? No, really. How ARE you doing? I would love to know. Your comments are welcome.

This is a simple – hi, how are you? – post.

We are all bombarded by scary, negative information right now.
We are all unsure of what will happen next.
The world around us is trying to figure out what to do.

I know you want to go back to ‘normal’. To go out for a glass of wine with a friend in the afternoon. To take part in summer activities. To leisurely browse your favourite bookstore. We all have things we miss. Things we are craving! I would LOVE to go out for a dose of live music, dancing and socializing with friends. Oh yes, I have moments where I just want to claw my way out of these walls around me.

But, I need to have a little patience. We all need to have a little patience. With each other, and with ourselves.

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When our uneasiness becomes intolerable, when our anxiety swells, we must regroup. I know it’s hard. But, if the let our bad feelings and thoughts get away from us, we infect ourselves and our family members. The energy can even seep through the world wide web into our online virtual meetings and classes

I say we CHOOSE to be positive. Even when it gets tough. We can create our own sunshine filled patio with a dose of happy hour.

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Keeping Your Energy Positive

I know, I know, my little demons. This is a crazy time.

The news is overwhelming. It’s a constant stream, a bombardment of bad things, and a builder of stress. As you peruse the headlines, a ball of bad energy builds up inside of you. It’s too much.

Your entire life, routine, familiar flow has been totally disrupted. The roles you play have changed. Your day looks entirely different than it did before.

Your work, your projects, your passions have been turned upside down.

The future is unknown.

But…the future is always unknown. There will always be things that happen in life that disrupt our plan. Our normal way. Our flow. All of this has a significant impact on our ENERGY.

Peaceful Holiday

We can CHOOSE how our energy is effected. Yes, we can.

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