Highs and Lows


I have learned a great deal in the last few days. The amazing joy of seeing for the first time my words in print. The tears that fell from my face are still imprinted on my skin. I have never felt more proud of myself than seeing my book preview. It was, aside from children being born, the greatest moment of my life.

Then of course I sat down and read it. The joy quickly turned to horror when I realized that I downloaded the wrong book file.

Yes, I made a huge mistake. My blood pressure shot up so high I almost admitted myself to the hospital. Every typo, every error was in plain view and I wanted to throw up. I knew that I would find some, anyone that had ever had to edit their own work expects that, but the thought that I would do something so stupid, after all my hard work, never once entered my mind.

After staying up for the past few days with the most agonizing anxiety it has finally been fixed. Unfortunately the Kindle team does not think that my new version is that different so it is not offering an update for those that purchased the book right away. So now I am stuck with the feeling of regret. All of my family and friends who downloaded the original will not get to read what was intended to be the best version of my first book.

I know that everyone makes mistakes, I get that, but to me that means little. I wish I could refund everyone’s money and purchase them new copies but I can’t. So now I just have to focus on the good.

The book that I intended to publish is now up. I can only hope that people love the story and characters as much as I do. I can only pray that people will overlook some of the few typos and realize this is my first book and I can only wish that people will believe in it as much as I do.

Link to book one of the Skye Trilogy, Isle of Skye: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=isle%20of%20skye%20shannon%20barczak




I’m pretty sure that there are several people who would tell me to stop writing tonight.

Don’t do it!

Wait until tomorrow!

I can’t though, I am way to excited, this weekend not only did I get my book cover done I also published my first book.

There are so many emotions racing through me right now, I know I should take the night to gather my thoughts but unfortunately I can’t. When I hit book preview last night I started sobbing. To see your words come to life is incredible, but when I saw it actually published on my Kindle, I just sat there for a few minutes. All my hard work, late nights, early mornings, all of it was now being showcased for the world to see.

In a few days I’m sure some reviews may be scathing, in fact someone might actually start a “Let’s raise money so she can get this book edited by a professional” fund but right now, in this moment, it doesn’t matter.

Because in this moment I am a published author.


Introducing The Isle of Skye


I am thrilled and very proud to finally introduce to the world my new book, ‘ The Isle of Skye’.

As you may know, the writing blurb, has given me pounding headaches, heartburn and many sleepless nights. I have agonized about writing this small description for weeks. Do I think it’s the best blurb out there? Nope. Do I think it’s the best I can do in my current state of mind? Yes!

Now that I am almost ready to publish, over the next few weeks, I will be talking more about the story and the characters. I have to be honest, I’m a little hesitate to get into too many details. Call me superstitious but until this baby is out there published with my own copyright I want to keep it safe and protected.

So without further adieu …

The Isle of Skye

A place where Magic & Myth collide

Willa McCormack is a feisty Bakery owner in Yuma, Arizona. She has
Wonderful parents, great friends, and a career she loves. Her life changes
overnight when her terrified parents are forced to reveal their secrets.

Secrets that will change her life forever.

Willa must now leave everything she has ever known and embark on a
dangerous journey to the Isle of Skye. A place where she will learn that
fairytales and nightmares are real. A place where she will discover not
only what she really is but who she is destined to be.

Come explore the world of Gypsies, Faeries, and Vampires with an unlikely
heroine, who above all else, is determined to stay true to herself.

Book one of the Skye trilogy

The Final Draft, The Writing Blurb, and Fair Weather Friends


I feel like in the past week I have grown not only as a writer but also as an editor. That’s not to say I am hanging a sign out my front door for my services, but all in all, I feel pretty good about how things are progressing.

I finally got my first draft of my final draft done. Yes, you read right, first draft of the final. Since I’m not able to use a copy editor at this time * wailing* I’m plowing through it on my own. Alright, I’m also using writing software, which I found out, does not rewrite everything for you, apparently you have to do it all manually…Yay!

Needless to say I was feeling happy and excited to be almost done with my book.

That was until I had to sit and write the blurb.

How do you write what your entire book is about in a few short paragraphs? How do you entice a reader but not give too much away?

I stressed about this for several days. I started out with a glowing two page essay. Two pages which I had to shrink into two-three paragraphs. Finally I had an epiphany. I had made a conscience effort with my first book to write with a sense of realism, what would I say? What would I do? I realized with the blurb I didn’t have to do that. I could be as lyrical as I wanted. After all my book is about magic and fairytales. 

In true fashion I finished it up while cooking dinner and I’m so relieved. I conquered my nemesis. I slayed the blurb dragon. Long live me!

On a completely different side note, I also, made a rather startling realization last night.

For months I hid what I was doing from everyone. I didn’t want to post it out there that I was writing a book. Who cares? Thousands of people start writing books, few though, have the conviction to finish. I’m not saying that to be arrogant, I am merely stating fact. It’s not easy. In fact, it will literally suck the life right out of you. You have to be committed to spending every waking hour for months obsessing about every word, every character, every scene. You have to come to terms with the fact not everyone will like what you’ve written. There is nobody on this earth that will ever love your book as much as you. 

When I did finally post on Facebook that I had written a book I was surprised by how many people just didn’t give two sh*ts. People who I have known for years, even some members of my own family, couldn’t be bothered to even take one second to hit the ‘ Like ‘ button. I’m not asking for a parade but when you do something that means so much to you, you expect, some of the people in your life to share in your joy.

This past week has been an amazing journey of discovery for me. Not only do I have a new enthusiasm for my book to finally be published but I also have a greater sense of human character. To pretend that it doesn’t hurt me would be a lie but I am now armed with a deeper sense of who I want in my life and who doesn’t really belong.

So to summarize: I’m almost finished with my first book. I’m tackling challenges that a few short months ago I couldn’t even imagine trying , and, I’m finding out who my friends are.

*Cue ” I’m Every Woman” by the late great Ms. Houston please*




Final Draft Anxiety



” Write drunk, edit sober.” – Ernest Hemingway

When I found this quote I thought it was brilliant but also backwards. I didn’t need to be drunk writing my first draft, but editing it? I could have used a bottle of wine with that package of highlighters. Now that I am halfway through I added ibuprofen, antacids, and valium to that list.

I shake my head and curse myself when I come across a typo. How did I not see the word ‘the’ was repeated twice? How did I not notice that a few words were misspelled? I have spellcheck for Christ’s sakes!

My favorite part has to be though when you read something, and then edit it, only to realize the first time you wrote it sounds so much better.

There is one emotion though that I did not expect. Anxiety. I found myself experiencing several little panic attacks the first few days. It was so curious and strange. I just went through Hell editing my second draft, why am I feeling this way about my final draft? I breezed through the first, which is infinitely harder, with excited exhaustion. Even my second draft, which I dubbed ” The nightmare that would never end”, I still felt  great joy while I slaved away.

What was going on?

No matter how many breathing exercises I went through I still couldn’t seem to catch my breath. After two days of this I decided a little journey into my mind was in order ( I will admit, I stopped myself from performing the WebMD symptom checker, a fact which I am sure my Doctor is very happy about) After several trips down bumpy brain dirt roads I finally realized something. I was terrified.

I thought about the times when I paint and I show someone my latest piece of artwork. Whenever I get an ” Oh.” I laugh. Gotcha Bitch. You don’t get it and guess what? That’s cool with me because I get it so that’s all that matters. When I throw a dinner party or even a BBQ and one dish, which I love, is hardly touched? Well I guess certain people’s palate’s aren’t as advanced as mine. 

That’s what I tell myself anyway. I try to put up this front that it doesn’t bother me but it does. The small thump you heard was my heart breaking a little bit. You see, all these things, are tied together. When you put so much of yourself into something and it gets rejected, it stings.

This book though was more than just a reflection of me. This book is my thoughts. It’s my story. A story that I dreamed up for two years. Instead of painting or cooking, my feelings, are now what I am laying out there. These are my words for the whole world to read. This book is so much more to me than just some story I wrote. This book, at it’s core, is about me. What would I do? What would I say? What are people going to think when they read this? If they hate it, will that mean they are rejecting me in some way?

Here’s the results of my little self help therapy session. No matter what you do, not everyone is going to like or support it, you can’t please every single person. You can’t go back in time and change how you did things. Deal with it and move forward. Lastly, I wrote an awesome book. I love it. It’s everything I want in a story and if 99% of people hate it, then so be it.

All it takes is one person to love your book and that’s you.

So I am going to continue on and finish. When I hit the publish button I know there will be some residual anxiety but I think I now have something else. Pride.

Now where the f*ck is my valium?

* Sorry had to throw in a f-bomb just for Mother. I’m sure her tears after reading this have now been replaced with the shaking of her head and rolling of her eyes.*

About Me…


So one of my best friends and I are both writing books. It’s amazing how two people who have known each other over twenty years discover their dreams at the same time. I am horribly proud of her and I am grateful to be going through this whole process with someone. While Jen is writing wonderfully poetic and adorable children’s stories. I am embroiled into the paranormal world of witches, vampires, and fairies. She is brainstorming on creating a fantastical world for young minds, I am pondering if I threw in too many F-bombs in book one and am brushing up on some erotic mommy porn for book two. 

Apples and oranges, right? They may be different but in the end their fruit.

I received an email last night. An S.O.S. for help. Please assist me in writing my authors bio. Since I was just writing down some thoughts of my own for mine I thought no problem.

Here’s the thing, how in the hell do I write about myself, in the third person, with just a few small, attention grabbing paragraphs?

I came up with this:

Shannon Barczak lives in the great state of Maine with her husband,three children and overly friendly dog named Ruby.

When she is not staying up late dreaming of crazy plots she enjoys cooking, baking and dabbling in painting.

Visit her website at www. shannonbarczakbooks.com day or night and see what she is up too.



What I really want to write is:

Shannon Barczak lives in her home state of Maine with her husband, who is like her fourth child, 14 year old hormone fueled twin boys, a 7 year old daughter who thinks she is truly a princess, and a dog named Ruby who is so inappropriately friendly it’s almost embarrassing.

When she is not cooking, baking, doing endless loads of laundry, and cleaning she enjoys dreaming up crazy stories all while listening to her iPOD on the highest decibel level possible. Her other hobbies include painting completely insane abstract paintings that most people don’t understand, swearing like a sailor when her children aren’t around ( ok, sometimes they are) and reading several books at the same time.


I’m thinking of going with number two because that is what’s real. I am not starting this journey on falsehoods and phoniness.

If some snotty big time publisher or literary agent scoffs at the bio, then get the f*ck over it and move on.

I’m just not that kind of girl.




The nightmare that was my second draft

The morning I finished my first draft I sat at my desk and stared at my computer screen in shock. I had done it. I had written a first draft of my book. I texted the few people who knew about it and proceeded to walk around my house aimlessly for the rest of the day. After the high of writing my book I was now faced with the question of now what?

I scoured other writers blogs for the answer. Take a week or two off seemed to be the general consensus. But how? How was I supposed to do that? I needed to get right back into the thick of it. The story and that of the next two was fresh in my mind. I had to get going.

So I sat down and read through my masterpiece only to realize it was a piece alright..a piece of crap. The story was there but the grammar and repetitive  words flashed before me and in doing so a cloud of doubt hung over my head like a cartoon.

My cousin told me not to focus too much on my second draft. That’s what copy editors are for she said. Alright, I can look beyond it. All I have to do is make sure my story is the best it can be and then I will send it off to some stranger to rip it apart. Gulp.

I decided to do a little research and found a lovely little pro writing editing site. I copied my prologue in, pushed the analyze button, and proceeded to have my whole body deflate when the report came back. 7 overused words, 23 grammar and spelling mistakes, 41 diction mistakes, and so forth.

Holy F*ck! Really? How in God’s name did I use the word was 24 times? And how am I supposed to fix that!!

Deep breath in and off to work I went it. All 25 chapters. 308 pages. 95,454 words.

I will admit, when I got a small report back, I did a little booty dance in my chair. When I got back a lengthy report I swore. Excessively.

Fundamentally though it was the right thing to do. Now I wish I would have taken the time to edit each chapter as I went along with my first draft. Lesson learned. I did take great pleasure in adding and changing the story up a bit. I have an amazing friend who read the story and offered me wonderful critiques and suggestions.

I was grateful for my friend and my mother. They both gave me fantastic support. Unfortunately for them I was going to need them now more than ever.

Apparently a copy editor charges $7 a page or $40 an hour. I completely understand their rates. It’s a tough job. But for a stay at home Mom of three with Christmas coming up I had the devastating realization that I may not be able to afford a copy editor.

Oh my gosh. My dream is over before it even started. How the hell am I supposed to edit this book by myself? How am I supposed to make people love this story and want to read it with a million typos? Can I really do this?



To be continued..


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