Housekeeping and Coupons!

So this week, Friday to be exact, I have a book releasing. This one was a weird one for me. I wrote it as a flash fiction exercise for my patrons over at my Patreon page. So it took a fair bit of editing once it was done. By the time I was done with it, I wasn’t even sure if it was a book or not.

But, my critique partners all assured me it was, in fact, a book. The three of them and my editor all seemed to have glowing things to say about it. So, I should feel better, but I’m still kinda like, what did I even write? This will be my 23rd published novel between both names and I’m still like, okay but am I any good at this?

7ojb

Well, you can always voice your opinion if you want to grab a copy–you can pre-order now or buy it on Friday.

Paperback cover.png

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Smashwords Kobo iBooks

Add it on Goodreads now!

Speaking of getting a book ready, I’m plugging my professional critique services again. I have time in June to take on a couple of books, so if you want to hit me up, now is the time (though I’m happy to book you in advance for other months so if you want, just email me)! If you mention seeing this blog post, I’ll give you a 20% discount on the total price! I’m especially in the mood for some fantasy or cozy mysteries, but I’m pretty open to most genres. Just email me at shaunagranger82 @ gmail . com — Gimme something to read, y’all! My Red Pen of Death™ has been lonely!

18306308_10-times-american-housewife-nailed_t47caa0c

And, since I’m mostly just reminding you guys of things, this week’s pledge-free Tarot Card Reading is live on my Patreon page. This week’s card is The Hermit.

Tarot May 28 18b

I offer these posts pledge-free so you can check out my page and see if you’d like to chip in and become a patron–levels start as low as $1!

That’s about all that’s going on right now. I wanted to make sure you guys were aware of all the Things. Can’t believe it’s almost June and half the year will be gone already. But hey! That means my half-birthday is coming!

18367936_10-reasons-why-katie-from-american_te53a6377

Advertisements

New Edition for an Anniversary

Seven years ago this week I self-published my first book.

earth - Shauna Granger.jpg

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.

giphy1

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.

mgc

If that doesn’t work, I invite you to email me at shaunagranger82@gmail.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.

Amazon |Barnes and Noble  iBooksKobo |Smashwords

(Please note, iBooks may take a couple of days to update)

 

 

Book Witchery

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.

giphy1

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.”

giphy

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.

who27s_the_baddest_witch_in_town

Catching up… Again :-/

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.

tumblr_ojym90eixm1si3gq6o1_540

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.

I’m sorry.

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:
Blackbird.jpg

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.

Tarot March 12 18a

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!

giphy

Working and Writing

giphy

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.

giphy2

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?

giphy1

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!):

new patreon

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.

tumblr_nca0sivsar1s2wio8o1_500

xoxox

Catching up

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.

2017-07-28 11.03.48We’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.

patreon bannerAlso, 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.

spellbound widget invertedAnd, 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.

10-Coupon-Vector

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.

Hexed

Pre-order links:

Amazon Barnes and Noble | Smashwords Kobo iBooks

Revising, editing, and all the rough drafts.

As I sit down to work on yet another rough draft, I thought it might be interesting to read about how I revise and edit a new book. Because I also offer manuscript critique services, I see a lot of books before they’re ready from new writers. It’s always hard to know when a book is done and it’s time to let it go out into the world and flourish or die by its own merit, but you do need to spend a significant amount of time on it before that happens.

1b9ad802f3dd3d0439a7e7a62f47460935f1c893

First, I outline the story. When I was a new writer, I didn’t outline because I lost the urgency to tell the story, so if you’re not an outliner, don’t freak out; everyone is different and things change from book to book.

Once the outline is done, I fast draft the book. This means I write daily, usually taking 1-2 days off a week so I don’t burn out, until it’s done. There are some days where I might just get 500 words or 1,000 words, but my goal is 2-4k words a day. But, again, every book is different. As long as I make some progress, I’m happy.

tumblr_m2n195fzei1rpsfhko3_250

Then, when that first draft is done, I back up my work in 2-3 different places. I like to email myself the document every day so I don’t ever lose any work. But when I finish, I email myself again the completed document. I also save it to a memory stick. This way, if something happens to my computer, my book is safely stored in two places that can’t also be damaged by whatever killed my computer. When I was writing my fourth book, Fire, my hard-drive crashed and I lost about 20k words because I wasn’t in the habit of emailing myself on the daily, just at the end of a draft. It was devastating. Never again!

tumblr_mtvgm3vqtq1sjnl71o1_500

Then I walk away. I close the file on the computer and I don’t look at it again for at least a week, sometimes as much as six months. Again, it depends on the book (and deadlines). But I get away from it and do other things. I clean the house, I read other people’s books, I relax. I do things that have nothing to do with the book I was writing. I may even start writing (and finish) another book before I ever come back to it. There’s a few reasons for this but the main reason is so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

You just spent a couple of months to the better part of a year focused on this one story, it’s been loud in your head, the characters alive and and controlling. If you come back too soon, you’ll remember everything and you won’t see mistakes, you won’t find the plot holes, you won’t pick up on the weaknesses or the thin characters. You need to read your rough draft as though you weren’t the one who wrote it.

tumblr_nca0sivsar1s2wio8o1_500

I like to print out a copy of the MS to go over it the first time. This way I’m not working on it in the same medium that I wrote it. I am familiar with it on the computer screen, so my eyes and mind might trick me into reading it the way I wanted it to be, not the way it is. By printing it, it becomes a new book and I can take a bright red pen to it and make corrections and notes to transcribe back on the computer. That’s the second draft.

Now, depending on the book, this is the right time to give it to beta readers to go over. I like to have at least two readers, but three is ideal. You want readers who will give it back to you in 2-4 weeks. This gives you another break away from the book, but also ensures your readers focus on your book so they don’t forget what they read in the first half because they took so long to finish it.

Wait to make any changes to your MS until you hear back from all betas. This gives you the chance to see if critiques are just personal preference or if you really missed something because they all mentioned the same thing(s).

tumblr_o9u5tmu3t41sarywjo1_500

Now I go over the book again, this time on the computer, comparing beta notes, seeing if I agree or not. If I agree with a change, I have to make sure I thread it through the whole book. That’s the third draft.

Now I put it on a tablet to read it as an ebook. You may need another break or you may be ready to just dive in. So, again, I’m reading it in a different medium and more like any reader who bought it would read it. I use the highlight and note function to keep track of issues and changes I want to make. Once I make those changes, I’ve got a fourth draft.

Only on the 3rd or 4th draft does my editor get the book. Because I self-publish, I pay my editor for her services, so why in the world would I send her a book before it’s ready? I wouldn’t, and neither should you. I often get MSs that are not ready and people are paying me a fee to go over the book and 90% of the time, most of my notes could have been caught by the author or by a beta reader to be addressed for free.

yayomg-ways-jack-skellington-is-better-than-santa-5

Once I get my MS back from my editor and implement the line-edits and content-edits, I am up to the fifth draft. Guess what? It goes back for a proof-reader to comb to make sure we didn’t miss any tiny mistakes.

So, in the end, I’m publishing the 5th or 6th draft. I don’t always use beta readers because sometimes I’m up to the 5th, 6th, or 7th book in a series and I can’t expect friends to do that much work for me. But the first book in a series? A stand alone? A trilogy? Yes, I use beta readers for all of those.

You will get to the point where you start to hate your book because you’ve read it so many times, but that’s what it takes to polish it, to develop those characters, to make the plot compelling. This is the work that goes into a book. Getting that first draft is the easy part, making it a book is where the hard work really is.

tumblr_n297ecqz8v1shh1bso1_500

Writing is re-writing. This is the rule you should be living by.