Tag Archives: Isle of Skye

Editing, Formatting, and Random Thoughts.

 

I made a vow to update my blog more regularly and I am determined to do so!

I have been editing and reformatting Isle of Sky, book one, all week. It still, even after being professionally edited (HA! That’s a story for another day) needs tweaking.  I am finally on the process of reformatting, which I actually do enjoy, and I hope to have an updated version out soon.

I have to be honest, I am having fun rereading the story. It’s been quite some time and even though, this process is tedious, it’s also been a bit more of a motivator for me.

I think, as authors, we are always so immersed in our current projects, that we almost forget our other, older stories. I find myself remembering writing my first book and being overwhelmed with joy and terror.

So much has happened since I first wrote Isle of Skye. Not only personally, but also professionally. I am a lot more confident in my writing and also more comfortable in my own skin, if that makes sense.

I encourage all other authors who follow me, to sit down, and reread your work. It is truly an amazing experience. Not only can you make some tweaks, but you can also just take a moment to relive that joy.

And laugh about how insecure and terrified you might have felt when you finally finished.

I will admit though, I still do have doubts and insecurities about my writing. When I publish a book now there is a moment when I am almost paralyzed with fear. It’s not something that we authors talk about much. We try to convey this confidence that our book is the best ever as we try to sell it to not only our faithful readers, but new buyers as well.

I think you have to be always questioning your work and also, you have to be hungry in a sense. If you lose that edge, what is the point? Where does the satisfaction come from? Writing a book is a feeling like no other. There’s always that one review that makes your toes curl and your heart skip a beat. You can have dozens of bad reviews, but all it takes is for one to have you skipping through the rest of your day.

So, that’s it. That’s what’s going on in my world. Rediscovering, re-imagining, and refocusing.

Now, it’s time to finish book one and go on to book two. Isle of Night.

I will only ever admit this once.

But it’s one of my favorite books I have ever written.

Shhh…don’t tell anyone.

 

~Shannon

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Extra! Extra!

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Yes, it has been forever since I have posted anything. I can tell you though, that I have been working like a mad woman over the past several weeks, and I can finally share some exciting news.

My entire body of work will be available in print!

Amazon is now printing my books for me and I have spent many days (and nights) editing and formatting my first trilogy. I just received the paperbacks and I am beyond happy to see them in print.

I also worked on new book covers with Seppin over at SeppinRek and I am in love with how they look.

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You can go here to purchase the print versions!

 

 

I am also thrilled to announce that my new book The Wicked Thorn is almost done!!!

This book has been a huge departure for me and I have loved every minute of writing, and editing. I cannot wait to share with you my new series on vigilantes and I hope…like really, really, hope, that you will be just as consumed by them as I am at the moment.

I will let you know more as the release date (2/14/2017) draws near about the story and I am also happy to say that I will be doing an interview about The Wicked Thorn on SeppinRek.

I think I even scammed a podcast interview so that is sure to be amusing.

Happy reading!

 

~Shannon

 

 

Writing & Cursing or Cursing Writing?

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*This article is for mature audiences only*

I am going to start off by saying that I swear…a lot. Yes, I am a mother of three and sometimes it can be hard not to drop the f-bomb when I want too but inevitably it happens. I see nothing wrong with it nor do I think badly of those that admit to being a potty mouth. I do not condone it in public or around children but sometimes you just have to say ‘Motherfucker, Holy Fuck, Shit, or my personal favorite, douchbag.’

I’m not proud of this flaw in my character but it is one I own up to when questioned or looked upon with disdain by the lovely people in this world who think they are better than me because they don’t even think to call the guy who cut them off in traffic a fucking asshole. I don’t think that ‘Oh maybe he’s had a hard day’, I think he’s a dickhead who is very eager to get home two seconds quicker than me and sit on his ass so he can watch ESPN.

When I started writing my first book, Isle of Skye, I want everyone to know that I did hesitate to throw in curse words. My hands actually hovered over my keyboard as I was about to write my first f-bomb. I knew that once I started down the cursing path, there was no turning back. In the end I decided, that to write the story the way I wanted too, I was going to have to be real and so I wrote out my first ‘What the fuck sentence.’

 Did I realize it may put off a lot of potential readers? Yes, of course but I have always said that I wanted to infuse a sense of realism to an unrealistic genre and to do that I had to write the way I think and unfortunately for my poor mother, I had to drop the F-word. Not once, not twice but several times. I thought about my character and who she was as a person. I went over in my head many times about how I was going to develop her presence as a real human being and not some little girl who says ‘Oh’ a lot or bites her lip and cries.

I wanted to portray my character as a grown woman who has many faults and one of those just happens to be swearing. When I wrote Isle of Night and Isle of Dawn, her cursing became more of a joke and something that people just expected from her. My readers know that as Willa goes through all her trials and tribulations, she grows up, swears less but she’s not always perfect and will drop it from time to time.

My new book, The Cursed Charm, has very little swearing compared to the Skye Trilogy. I wanted my new character Aston to be a bit more reserved and conservative. I did throw it in a few times but certainly not as much as my previous books.

I was thinking about it today because I am going into my final edits and I noticed how the story has less colorful language. I wondered if people will be surprised by it or will they not even notice the absence of cursing. I also recently read an article about this very subject from another writer and I couldn’t believe the people that wrote in to proudly proclaim their lack of swearing.

I mean, look, I think it’s great but can a story be real without a few carefully placed words that some might find offensive? The purpose of writing a book is to create a story someone can relate too, right?

That’s when it hit me. I cannot believe in something unless I think it’s real. I know that there are libraries stacked with wonderful literary masterpieces that do not contain even Hell or Damn but didn’t I start writing for someone like me? Someone who, if they were told there were vampires and witches roaming this world they wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, really? Wow, I always suspected but never really knew until now.’ No, my readers would say, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’

So yes, maybe I have alienated a huge niche of readers but like I have always said, I started this journey with a pledge to write with honesty. It may not be what millions of people want to read but it’s who I am and it’s what I want to write.

Basically, I could give a fuck what someone else thinks.

Judging a Book by its Cover

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Your book is finally complete after days, weeks and months of blood, sweat and tears. After editing and revisions you are now faced with the next step which is the book cover. Some will argue that the book cover is the most important aspect of the publishing process. Forget about the content itself, if you do not draw in readers with a tantalizing picture then you are pretty much screwed, right?

I’m only one small voice in a vast sea of experts but after perusing hundreds of covers I am finally ready to address this issue in my humble point of view. When I choose the cover for my first book, Isle of Skye, I had no clue what I wanted. I finally settled on a simple, yet dramatic picture of the setting sun over the ocean. I continued the theme for my trilogy and was happy with the end result.

The more I write my novels though the more interested I become in this subject. I decided to do a little research and proceeded to go through the Kindle Store with great enthusiasm. My findings were mixed to say the least. I found some really amazing covers that ranged from very famous authors to the just getting started indie authors.

But I also found some real cheesy, oh my God are you f-ing kidding me, I cannot believe someone thought that was a good idea, horror shows.

Let’s take for example Fifty Shades of Gray. The cover is simplistic and I think it makes readers want to dive into the book for curiosity sake. Why is there a tie? What does fifty shades of gray mean? These are questions I believe a majority of people asked and were also very much surprised at the content of this seemingly innocent yet strangely sensuous book cover.

Then there are others that make you cringe. I am just making up this title (hopefully) but when you have a book called Billionaire seeks slut I’m pretty sure we all get the drift. I don’t need you to shove some raunchy photo of naked people on the cover down my throat. I’m also not even going into the ridiculousness of some of the titles I saw. I think if you want to put it out there that this is erotica, great but E.L. James didn’t and she now has the most successful erotic book of all time.

My point is this: Sometimes, like our mothers all use to say, it’s good to leave some things to the imagination. I don’t need to see a woman bending over and a faceless man whipping her behind. I would much rather be intrigued and then pleasantly (or unpleasantly depending on the writing) surprised by the content after I started reading.

I also am somewhat offended as a woman. I think it’s objectifying woman on an extremely uncomfortable level. I am not a prude by any means but c’mon ladies let’s not go down that road. Yes, I am woman hear me roar. I can purchase erotica and not be ashamed of my sexuality or fantasies but can we try to invoke some sense of mystery and decorum?

I know there are probably hundreds, perhaps thousands of other authors who will look at my covers and think they’re boring and that’s cool because honestly I would rather be thought of as tame than trashy. I also would rather my kid’s look at me with some amount of respect.

So can you judge a book by its cover? In this case, it is a resounding yes!

1024x1024-TheAppBuilder-icon photomorropbay.com                  Isle of night book cover 3             Isle of Dawn book cover

 

New Year Thoughts

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Happy New Year! I feel like it has been forever since I last posted anything on my website. I can only blame the chaos of Christmas that has kept me away from the blogosphere. I was sitting here and thinking about the new year and the whole idea of resolutions. Honestly, I don’t believe in making promises about things that I will probably forget a week later. Instead my mind kept wandering not to resolutions but accomplishments and goals.

Here is what I have learned so far in the past month:

1) Microsoft Word is a truly remarkable creation. I turned my nose up and tried to stick with Google Docs when writing my first book, ‘ Isle of Skye’. My brother actually offered it to me for free and instead of stalking him until he mailed it out, I said to him “Oh whenever.”

I think we all know now, after my horrific start, that was a huge mistake.

2) Do not attempt to write during the Holidays or when your children have a vacation. Every five minutes it was, “Mom, my TV’s not working”, “Mom, what’s for lunch?”, and my favorite at nine o’clock in the morning, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” I literally had to stop myself from flipping my fourteen year old son off. I could feel the finger coming up and I had to force myself to repeat, “You don’t want to be a trashy, scum mom” several times.

3)Stop, take a breath and rewind.

I found myself floundering a bit over the last few weeks. I had totally bypassed my chapter outlines and by the time I got to chapter ten of book two, ‘The Isle of Night’, I was lost. Instead of just charging forward, I stopped myself and sat down to read what I had written so far. I then forced myself to revise my outlines and now I feel so much better.

I also realized something pretty monumental along the way. Not only did I love what I had done up to this point but I also could see a huge difference in my writing. Maybe it’s because I feel more confident or maybe it’s just all in my sick head but there seems to be a better flow to my writing. I’m certainly not going to win a Pulitzer…like ever, but I do feel pretty darn happy about how things are progressing.

4) Stop kicking yourself!

If you knew how many times I had said to myself over the last few months, “Why didn’t I finish what I started twenty years ago? Why didn’t I just go for it? Why didn’t I believe in myself more?” Those phrases kept replaying over and over in my brain. Then I realized something. I wasn’t ready then. Although I don’t think you can ever be prepared enough to write a book I do believe you have to have the right mind set before you start.

This journey for me began because I felt that I was at a stagnant place in my life. All three kids were in school. How much cooking and cleaning could I really do every day? I wanted to finally, after almost fifteen years of being a mother,to do something for me. I wanted to try to achieve my ultimate goal of writing a book.

Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, is done. In fact I’m declaring those words so 2013.

The new words for 2014 are: Strive, achieve,and determination.

The Sex Scene

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Why should I be ashamed to describe what nature was not ashamed to create?-Pietro Aretino

When I started writing ‘Isle of Skye’ I made a conscience effort not to cave into the pressure of inserting erotica just because that was the new standard. I didn’t want my character Willa to jump into bed with someone she had just met. I felt that was extremely unrealistic, especially with everything that had been thrown at her. I did write in a few light and steamy scenes but for the most part stayed away from getting too graphic.

When I started the second book in the trilogy a few weeks ago, ‘Isle of Night’, I was almost looking forward to finally adding more intricate sex scenes. I sat down to write out the first one, high on anticipation of creating my two main characters first steps into a more physical union, and I had a horrible thought.

My father was going to read this.

For some reason that was like someone throwing a bucket of ice water over my head. I couldn’t shake these thoughts. I started imagining not only my father but my mother-in-law, my mother’s older friends, all reading my writings on sex. Were they going to think this was really an insight into my husband’s and I bedroom? Or were they going to be embarrassed that I was some freaky, twisted, chick?

For two days I have been struggling with this. I found myself drawn to my favorite painting in the world. ‘The Kiss’ by Gustave Klimt. Ever since I was sixteen this painting has been my muse. I always dreamed that this is what love looked like, this is what a kiss should be. Did Gustave Klimt worry about what people would think? Did he or any other artist have any of these anxieties?

I realized that this was probably something every artist, whether they were a writer, painter, sculptor, or even a baker must go through. When we put so much of our thoughts and desires into our creations, there is bound to be some backlash, not everybody will like it but at the end of the day I’m still going to write what’s real.

I’ve decided not to focus on what everyone else will think, I want to write about things that make me happy. If those things include, some steamy romps between two people that care about each other, than was that wrong?

Bring on the sex I say..