Hello my loverlies! I just wanted to share a pretty with you to cheer up your mid-week slump.
I hope you love it as much as I!
Don’t forget, you can pre-order your ebook copy today!
Add it on Goodreads now!
Seven years ago this week I self-published my first book.
I was strangely casual about it (not the decision, just how I told people about it). I posted on Facebook that I was doing it and once the buy links were live, I’d post again.
It’s kind of hilarious in retrospect.
(Although the excitement was overshadowed by President Obama’s announcement that we had finally killed Bin Laden. Seriously, not kidding, same day.)
I reached out to some book bloggers and asked them to read and review, for good or bad, and I’ll always be eternally grateful that they did that for me. The reviews were overwhelmingly good, easing my anxiety over the choice to put my work out there.
But when I started the self-publishing industry was just starting to break out of the cliche molds it had been in. You know, boxes of vanity published paperbacks in rejected authors’ garages. And since it was still so new I didn’t totally know what I was doing.
I was lucky to have met my now-editor, Cassie, a year before I published. She was the only person in my sphere who also had a degree in the Literature world and I reached out for her help in line editing. We were so new to this that we didn’t even know what Track Changes in Word was.
It’s hilarious to think of now, but it also meant that Earth didn’t get quite the polish that subsequent books got. Cassie did a great job when she first tackled Earth for me, making it much, much better than it was. But we both agreed, after a couple of years of us both honing our crafts (Cassie even started her own editing company, Joy Editing), that Earth deserved a second look.
So, here on our seventh anniversary, I finally have the second edition of EARTH: Book One in the Elemental Series. It is tighter, better polished, and something I’m very excited to share.
I also took the opportunity to correct a few tasteless comments in the book. When I was teenager in the 90’s my friends and I had very cutting and sarcastic senses of humor. We ribbed each other and poked at each other. We knew it was in fun and we loved each other, but I know, today, we would have been more mindful in our choices. When I wrote Earth, I tried to tap into that teenager mindset I had and, as a result, there were some poor choices. I’ve rectified those. I hope I’ve caught all of them. If my thoughtless comments hurt you or offended you, I am truly, deeply sorry.
Those are the only real edits that we made to the content in the book.
That was probably why I put this off for so long. I never like to go back to creative work too many years later because if I wrote Earth today, it would be a totally different story and the characters would be different, because I am different. I was afraid that I would change the book too much if I tried to work on it now. So I just let Cassie work her editor magic on it, sticking strictly to grammar and structure and I left the voice alone. But there was no way I was going to let the “Flamer” jokes stay. I hope my readers understand and have grown with me on that as well.
So, if you’ve bought Earth in the past, I have uploaded the second edition to all ebook outlets. I believe if you just “sync” your libraries, the new edition should over-write on your device.
If that doesn’t work, I invite you to email me at email@example.com with proof of your purchase of Earth and I will happily get you a new copy. Kindle users, be sure to tell me your kindle email address so I can easily email your device.
If you’ve never checked out my Elemental Series, I invite you to check out Earth. It’s a YA series about magic and monsters, that hopefully is even better today than it was yesterday.
(Please note, iBooks may take a couple of days to update)
If you’ve been following along, you know I want to write something both witchy and epic. I’ve been talking about it for a while now. Witches and magic are my jam. Witches are my aesthetic in all their iterations. From pointy hats and shoes, to smokey-eye and stomping boots with silver jewelry. I love it all.
But I wanted this book to be different than my other witch books. Which is probably why I started thinking Epic Fantasy.
And I kinda got hung up on the epic part. So when I set out to flesh the story out, it became a war story, more cold war style, but still, a war story. I realized I was forming a very familiar story, even if a witch is in the center of it. It was still going to be two kingdoms battling it out with men on the thrones. Good vs Evil. Maybe the good guy is really the bad guy, gasp!
It’s been done, yo.
So I backed away from the story yet again. And hated myself for it. I want this cool, dark, witchy tale. I want to write it. I want to send it to critique partners and hear their thoughts. I want it. But I don’t want a war story. Why does epic always somehow mean war? And kingdoms?
Then, the other day, I heard something that made me think, “I do love a good revenge story.”
Revenge. Ooh. That goes nicely with magic and witchery. Suddenly, I was cautiously excited about The Book again. I can still have this epic world, something different than I’ve ever done before, but maybe focus on a small universe inside of it. A story of revenge.
I’m not sure what the point of this post is, other than to say, if your story doesn’t feel right, if you feel stuck, if you can’t seem to figure it out, there’s a chance you’re just not ready yet.
I was really letting this block get me down. I was getting ready to forget about it for another year while I worked on other, more formulaic and familiar things until that sneaky thought whispered in my mind. I still don’t know where it’s going just yet, but having that thought, seeing my MC in my head in a really cool outfit, on a dark and creepy street, I have that spark of excitement I’d been missing for a long time.
Looks like the witch is back.
Oof. I knew it had been awhile since I posted here, but I had no idea it had been this many months. I am so sorry.
With the ability to cross-post on social media, my patreon page, and my posts over at the Spellbound Scribes’ page, I really thought some of those things had found their way over here. But obviously not.
It looks like I just dropped off the face of the earth here.
Well, if you’d like to do any catching up, I have posted about goings on over at the Spellbound page here.
One big development that I should share right now, right here, is the cover reveal of my upcoming release:
This is the companion novel to Dandelions (this is a prequel if you’re trying to keep track of the timeline), where we follow Gwen’s sister, Maggie, on her journey at the start of the apocalypse. I don’t have a release date just yet, but I will be announcing it very soon.
Secondly, I have been very good about being active on Patreon. If you want a sneak peek at Maggie’s story, I have been posting the flash fiction installments of this book for a while now. If you pledge just $3 a month, you can catch up on all previous posts and read the future posts as well!
Also, today I started a new adventure on Patreon. I am going to attempt to share a weekly tarot card, free to read, to help guide and inspire us for the week ahead. Today was the first post. You should check it out. Again, these posts will be public and no pledges are needed to see them.
I promise, I will do better to post and cross-post here. I don’t know how I let this slide again. I guess I have too many things going on in my head, something was bound to get pushed out. Thanks for sticking with me though; I really appreciate it!
Hello my loves! Happy almost Halloween!
I’m sorry I’ve all but abandoned you over here. It’s difficult to remember everything I’m committed to and sometimes, something gets left by the wayside. Too bad it’s my blog. I’m failing at Twitter pretty hard too.
But at least I’m still writing! I’m currently working on the outline for my NaNoWriMo project this year–the spin-off of the spin-off of my Ash and Ruin Trilogy. Was that confusing enough for you?
You’ll remember I released Dandelions, that was the first spin-off. In that story the main character’s sister is Maggie. Maggie wanted her own story. So I’m writing that. That’s the spin-off of the spin-off. I have the first act written, and if you’d like to read the rough draft of that you can head on over to my Patreon page and, with just a small pledge of $3 a month, you can read it and all the other fiction I’ve shared there and will continue to share (click the pic to be taken to my page!):
If you pledge more, there are rewards that come with those pledges! I hope you’ll check it out.
I’m hoping to use NaNoWriMo to finish the rough draft of this book so I can focus on something new and witchy, inspired by my recent exploratory trip to Ireland. If you’d like to read about that, you can see what I posted over on the Spellbound Scribes’ Blog. You should follow us there! We’re a group of fantasy writers who post weekly about writing, reading, and all things bookish.
So, while I may forget to blog from time to time, know that I’m still working to bring you fiction and stories and words.
I’m trying to be better about this space because I’ll forget about it for months at a time and then it’s awkward when I come back, acting like we’re cool, like I haven’t abandoned you for so long and am trying to pick up like it’s only been a couple of days.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to remind you that you can follow me on quite a few platforms outside of this blog. I’m usually much better about being active an vocal there.
We’ve got my FB fan page. I’m good about keeping people up to date about writing and bookish things there. And, I promise, I don’t spam post so I won’t be clogging your feed.
We’ve got my twitter feed. I’m far more outspoken there. I don’t shy away about my rage screaming over politics. If you like to keep art and artist separate and you don’t swing toward the liberal side of things, consider this your warning about my twitter space. I like the freedom I have there and I won’t apologize for it or anything I say or share there.
Then we have Instagram. Oh, I do love Instagram. That’s a lot of puppy pictures and what crazy hair color I’ve got going and food pics and coffee (lots of coffee) and of course, bookish stuff.
Also, I have a Patreon page (with a new post up today!), where you can help keep me from being a starving artist with your monthly pledges. You can pledge as little as a dollar just because or you can pledge $3 a month and have access to all the exclusive fiction content I’m sharing (right now I’m posting the installments of Maggie’s [from Dandelions] story that will eventually become a real book, but you can read as I write), at a $5 pledge you get a free ebook of your choice each month and the rewards grow from there. Also, every patron gets their name listed in the acknowledgements of each book that releases as long as they’re a patron. I’d love to see that list of names grow.
And, of course, we have the Spellbound Scribes. Through accidents and luck, I somehow became the moderator of this awesome group blog where I, and some awesome fantasy authors, post once a week on various bookish and writerly things. It’s very informative and helpful, I think.
Second to last, I have two manuscript critique slots open for August. I don’t have any time in September, so if you want to grab one of these two slots, now is the time. You can check my rates and philosophy on my Manuscript Critique page and contact me at shaunagranger82 @ gamil dot com. If you mention you saw this post, I’ll give you 10% off the total cost of the critique!
Finally, just to remind you, or tell you if you don’t know, the eighth Matilda Kavanagh Novel is set to release in September! Eeep! And you can preorder your ebook copy now at your favorite ebook retailer.
This past weekend I was exhibiting at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comiccon (AKA ComiKaze). This is only my second con and was my first big con.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about how women are treated at cons, whether as a cosplayer, a panel participant, or just an attendee. Sometimes you get harassed–verbally or physically–as a cosplayer because, to some men, a costume gives them permission to ignore societal norms and stop treating you like a person. Sometimes you get talked over because obviously a man understands the subject matter better than you do in your tiny woman brain. And sometimes guys are just jerks and you get treated like shit so things like The Backup Ribbon Project has to be created.
We all get this. We get it because it’s really not all that different from our day-to-day lives except maybe we’re in a costume this time, or our harassers are.
But today I’m gonna talk about having a table at a con as an artist and the bullshit I had to smile through. These were mostly microaggressions, so I’m sure some will dismiss them, but I think they’re indicative of the crap we are trained to put up with because it’s easier to just smile and avoid rather than confront. And, who knows? Maybe a guy will read this and see himself in these douchebags and maybe he’ll try to change. That’s all we can hope for, right? A little bit of change.
So, if you’re reading this, you probably know who I am and know that I’m a writer. If you’re here because you saw this linked on Twitter or somewhere and don’t know who I am, well, I’m a writer. I have three series out under this name, all various shades of Fantasy.
I am very lucky to have a supportive husband who will go with me to conventions to help me man the table, move the heavy boxes, share the long car rides, watch the table to let me take much-needed breaks. But that’s all he is at these things: my helper. My husband is not a writer or an artist (though he his a martial artist, that doesn’t apply here). He wears shirts that promote my books and website, he passes out business cards for me, he supports me.
But guess what reader? 7-8 men out of 10 who approach my table automatically assume he’s the writer/artist at the table. Now. I know what you’re thinking, “Shauna, that’s an honest mistake.” So let me further explain.
Behind my table are two huge stand-up banners that have “SHAUNA GRANGER” written across their tops. Affixed to the front of my table is another banner that says, you guessed it, “SHAUNA GRANGER” in bold white lettering against black.
Now, fine, maybe their eyes miss the last ‘a’ in my first name and they think it says “SHAUN” but give me a second. Behind the table are two chairs. I sit in one, dead center of my table with a clear space in front of me for signing books. My husband sits in the other, off to the side, and slightly behind me.
And, I’m not counting the people who also looked at my signs before making eye contact and asked, “So, who’s the writer?” Because, yeah, there’s a chance we’re just manning the table. No. I’m talking about the men who would look at my banners, glance at my books, then look right at my husband, never at me, and say, “So, you’re the writer?”
Now, here’s another funny thing, reader. People who assumed I was the writer, or who didn’t assume either of us was the writer, would smile at me when they realized it was me. They would ask me about the books and nod and listen. When they bought books and I offered to sign them, they’d light up and say, “Yes, please!” The guys who assumed the writer was my husband? Would then lose their smile, lift their eyebrows, and then very quickly leave the table when my husband would direct them to me, the writer.
What the fuck guys? What the actual fuck?
This happened a lot. A lot.
At one point my husband looked at me and said, “Wow they really do just assume it’s me, don’t they? Just because I’m the guy at the table. What bullshit.”
Another thing that happened that really tested my patience were the guys who made fun of my books or my very presence at the con as a novelist, not a comic book artist.
Yeah, that’s right. You know these guys, the ones that think it’s funny to tease you about who you are or what you’re doing. I’ll give you an example of a conversation I had with a guy who was probably ten years younger than me and had absolutely no intention of ever buying my books.
Guy: So, I imagine it’s pretty hard to be a novel writer at a comic book convention.
Me: No, not really.
Me: Really. I have a different product, so it stands out.
Guy: People actually buy your books?
Guy: Do you sell a lot?
Me: I do alright.
Guy: *smirks* Right.
Me: Well, when people do buy, they buy whole series.
Guy: Right because they can’t buy them anywhere else.
Me: No. My books are available at all retailers.
Guy: Really. (no, not a question)
Me: *strained smile*
Guy: So. Tell me about this series. *points at Elemental Series*
Me: *Give brief explanation because it’s 5 books*
Guy: The Elemental Series.
Me: Yes. *Starts to explain what “elemental” means*
Guy: *cuts me off* So, Potassium, Magnesium…? *Stupid asshole smile*
Me: Yeah, alright.
Guy: So what’s the story about?
Me: I just told you.
Guy: No but what’s it about.
Me: Each book?
Me: *starts to explain book one*
Guy: *cuts me off* Do people ever come back the next day and tell you they liked your books?
Me: The very next day? No, I don’t expect people to read a whole novel series in less than 24 hours.
Guy: So they don’t.
Me: They usually find me online later.
Guy: Online. Right. *walks away*
Yeah. Bullshit like that happens to us all the time. See, I consider everyone who comes to my table as a potential new reader. Even if they start off as a jerk, I am in sales mode so I don’t treat them like jerks, even if they deserve it. But if you’re never going to be interested in something a woman has created or if you’re coming up just to be a total asshole, don’t waste our time. Move along and find a table only manned by men. Only go to a table where you might spend money, not just to make yourself feel like a big man because you’re not. You’re a tiny man.
Guys, don’t be these guys. Because, honestly, we only have so much patience and you might be the one we lose it on.
ETA: The guys who would wait to approach until after my husband would leave the table. I’d see them lingering, their eyes glancing in my direction, not really talking to anyone at any other table, and then my husband would leave for a minute and the lingerers would swoop in to talk to me. It was creepy and they never bought books.
ETA 2: The asshats who tell you to smile. I have been told to smile by men my whole life. My whole life. I don’t stand around or walk around like a grinning idiot. How weird would that be really?! But men would come up to my table, from the opposite direction as the one I was looking and would say shit like, “You’re supposed to smile when a customer comes up.” Like, bro, I wasn’t looking in your direction, but thanks for the advice.
Paranormal Authors Writing with Passion!
An imagination and a pen
Fantasy, fires, and flailing
Stories of Strong Women from History and Today