Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG: June Monthly update

Rolling into summer already. It wasn't the best of spring weather, that's for sure. Hopefully the heat holds off until my body can acclimate to something other than 38-65 in wild shifts and then throw a random 88 degree day in there. ugh.

In non-writing life, my youngest has moved out but the oldest still lives at home. I haven't weeded a thing. My pond still isn't up and running. The chickens and ducks are doing great. 

So what's up on the writing project list? I'm slowly toying with another companion novel for The Narvan and slowly editing Frayed. Mostly, I'm fried after releasing two books a week apart and everything that led up to that. So I'm taking it easy for awhile. No deadlines. Actually reading books and diving into the occasional Netflix binge. 

Up next on the book event list:

June 4 & 5 : Magical Realms Fantasy Faire

June 18 & 19 : White Lake Arts & Crafts 

June 25 & 26 : Lakeshore Art Festival

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group Question is:

When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? 

This happens a lot for me when I'm about one third of the way into the book. I've introduced the characters, the world, the conflict and now I've got to start figuring out how to get from all the drama I've just created to a resolution. So yes, the other 2/3 of the book. Once I bridge that gap, I'm usually good to go. However, if I can't figure it out, the story stalls and it sits on my hard drive until a solution hits me or it gathers virtual dust forever. 

How do I keep that from happening?

#1: Stop writing and start making a rough outline to figure how what needs to happen.

#2: Write a short note of what needs to happen in the troublesome scene(s) and skip ahead to the next part.

#3: Try something different to get the words flowing again - such as switching POV or dive into some dialogue if its a narrative section.

#4: Give some thought as to why the story is being tough. Have I made the plot too convoluted? Are the characters not properly motivated? Do I need to set something on fire to spice things up?

#5: Am I having a burnt out moment and need to take a few days off to recharge?

Usually there's a reason and it's just a matter of having the patience to figure out what it is to keep myself writing. 

What's your solution?

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

New Release: Seeker - The Narvan Book 4

Guess what Narvan fans? Seeker is finally available! If you subscribe to my newsletter, you got an early start before the release date. *hint*

Book 4 closes out Vayen's story and I'm excited to share it with all of you. Without a doubt, he's been my favorite character to write. I'd say I'll miss him, except I'm toying with another companion novel that takes place after Seeker. It's not in his POV though, so I can say that his leading time in the series is over. Will any of you ever see that book? That's up for debate. I'm a third of the way in. See my next blog post as to what that means for a story.

Enough about that dangled tidbit, let's get to Seeker:

Political upheaval threatens to erupt into a war that will tear the Narvan apart. The alteration undergone by Vayen and his hunters may have saved everyone from the Arpex but it also created the possibility of bullet-proof soldiers. Vayen’s fellow advisors will do anything to get that prize for themselves.

Not only is Vayen’s daughter not speaking to him, he’s been stuck at home for weeks recovering from surgery and being smothered by Anastassia’s efforts to keep him safe and healthy. Attempting to advise three worlds from his home office has him on his last nerve.

Vayen slips out to search for a new bodyguard.  A few strong drinks later, he ends up on a distant colony,  busting up a slave operation. The adrenaline rush and possibility of having done something good to get back into his daughter’s favor offers a momentary release. He even has a host of well-trained bodyguard slaves to pick from. He’s also gained a new enemy, discovered his bond to Anastassia isn’t what it used to be, and reawakened his old drug addiction.

In spite of doing everything he can to be good, the public has labeled Vayen a mutant and a tyrant. To bring peace to the Narvan and beyond, he’ll need to become exactly what they say he is. 

Where can you get a copy? 

Find me at any of the events I do throughout Michigan and Indiana.

Click on the "Buy signed copies" tab above to get your own copy shipped from me to you (within the US)

Click the link to the left to go to Amazon.

Find it on any of your favorite online bookstores.


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Book Release: Spindelkin

It's finally release day for Spindelkin! πŸŒ³πŸŒΈπŸ‚πŸ€

Get this YA fairytale from your favorite online bookstore in paperback or e-book.

In the heart of the beautiful city of Katra, princess Amira has spent all her eleven years confined to her room. Cursed with a spell, poison runs through her veins and must be drained away every day or she will die. Kept company by only a stream of temporary maids and the king and queen when they have time, she dreams of what lies outside the castle walls, a sibling to play with, and a future she will likely never live to see. As Amira’s strength wanes, the king thinks that her salvation may lay in the distant forest, but the Spindelskov is inhabited by the nightmarish Spindelkin. The king and queen are unwilling to face them, fearing the creatures will plunge all of Katra into ruin. When the queen gives birth to a prince, Amira begs her maid to help her sneak out to meet her brother. Born with a tail and golden scales, the queen declares the baby a monster and he is left to die. Not bothered by his appearance, Amira promises the tiny prince that she will help him. Gathering her remaining strength, Amira sets out on a journey through the Spindelskov, searching for answers that may save them both.

You can get signed copies of all my books shipped from me to you (within the US)
Or get a copy from your favorite online retailer:
And many more!

Tune in next Saturday for another book release!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

May The Fourth Be With You

It's been a busy month....and May just started! 

I kicked off the month with my first time at the 3-day the Whitestown Viking Festival in Indiana. Though it was super windy and we got rained out on Saturday, vendors and event goers had a great time. Lots of music, reenactments, horn-blowing, and beer and mead. 

Then it's back to work, and planning book releases before heading off on Friday to the Royal Stagg Renaissance Faire for the weekend for more book signing fun. 

Book releases? Yes! Spindelkin is available now, but officially launches on May 14 and Seeker: Book 4 of The Narvan launches on May 21. Links are in the side bar to the left. You can also by signed copies directly from me (shipped within the US) by using the tab above. More on both of those books closer to release days.

May 14, I'll be doing a release day signing for Spindelkin in Holland, MI at the Bluestocking Bookshop.

May 27 - 29, you can find plain old author me at the Newaygo Memorial Day Craft Show with fellow author Vera West and I should have both new books with me. 

Then can I take a break to catch my breath? Ummm sorta. I'm working on Frayed to get it ready for Kindle Vella, and I'm playing around with another Narvan companion novel. And modifying my tent cover for ren faire events...and adding beading a skirt for one of my ren faire dresses. And I have three weekend events next month.

Will I spontaneously combust one of these days? Probably.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to the Insecure Writer's Support Group question of the month:
It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Writer Highs: 

When readers tag me in posts or send messages/emails saying they liked one of my books. For those of you not behind the pen, you have no idea how uplifting these little notes are. They can offset a bad review, the weariness of round twelve of edits, or the days when words just refuse to form sentences on the page. 

Meeting new-to-me readers and returning ones at events. Sitting in my writing cave is calm and peaceful but also very disconnected. It's energizing to chat with the people who I write for (other than me).

Getting to be the face of who authors are for kids (or anyone, really), who is excited to meet an author in person for the first time. We love to talk to you about books, what you're reading, what you like, what we like, and what we write and answer your questions.

Writer Lows: 

Not having days off because you have a day job and spend your weekends out promoting books. It's fun, but it's also tiring. 

Starting a new project, knowing all the work that lays ahead.

Selling so many copies of your books but hardly anyone leaves Amazon reviews no matter how nicely you ask.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

It was all calm until April hit

While the weather is warming up outside, my task list is heating up as well. And just in time for my event schedule to kick in full swing! Yay?

With the snow melting away, that means lots of yardwork to do. Thousands of sticks to pick up, leaves to rake, the garden the plant, flowerbeds to clean out, and a new chicken run to put up. Just a few things.

And then there are writing projects:

Seeker: Book 4 of The Narvan is off to proofreaders.

Spindelkin is in final line edits.

Frayed is hanging out, waiting for an editing pass before getting started on Kindle Vella. It may be venturing out to my local critique group for a while while I juggle everything else.

A possible second Narvan Novel announced itself in my brain today - taking place four years after Seeker. OMG, stop the muse train. I need a moment to breathe.

I also need to write blurbs for both Seeker and Spindelkin and get the cover art finalized.

And I'd love a little quiet. The chicks I posted photos of last month are all growing fast and as soon as the nights are reliably above freezing, will be moving out to the coop. They are currently peeping away at each other signaling that its time to get on the roost for the night. They do this for about forty-five minute straight. It sounds cute. And it is for the first couple nights...

While I do all that, I've been busy finalizing my 2022 event schedule. With the possible addition of two more single day events, I'm done. Stick a fork in me. Maybe that will hold me down. 

Can I effectively juggle my book inventory during all this? Tune in to find out.

Coming up soon:

April 8 - 10 Grand Rapids Spring Fling Comic Con

April 22 - 23 Penguicon (virtual attendance)

April 24 Tulip City Comic Con

April 29 - May 1 Viking Festival

May 7 & 8 Royal Stagg Ren Faire

May 27 - 29 Newaygo Memorial Day Art Fair

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Which brings us to the Monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group portion of the post. This month's question deals with audio books. I haven't yet ventured into those. I've had plenty of readers ask for them, but that just hasn't been on my priority list yet. 

So I'm going to jump to another topic instead. Too many projects. How do you manage them? 

I try to prioritize what needs to happen when so that I have a new book in the spring, and one in the fall. That's my goal. However, this year, things seem to have gone hilly nilly right out of the gate. Seeker was supposed to be my spring launch, but there were a lot more edits than anticipated, which added significantly to the word count (not complaining, I love how it turned out), which made line edits take much longer than planned. Then we add me picking up twice as many ren faires as I've done in the past, which lit a fire under my behind to get my YA fantasy Spindelkin ready for print so I could launch that early summer instead of fall. That derailed my plan to spend a month getting Frayed up on Kindle Vella. And then this new Narvan novel shows up, pounding on my door with a vengeance. Deep cleansing breath.

Writing is a juggling act. I'm going to attempt to stick with softly inflated beach balls rather than chain saws. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Marching into Spring

There may still be snow on the ground but at least the sun is shining now and then. Soon enough yard work will be back on the weekend agenda. Until then, I'm busy working on Seeker : Book 4 of The Narvan. The fine tuning edits are going slowly but I'm nearing halfway done. The final book in the main series is shaping up to be a long one, but hopefully also fulfilling for all the characters and wrapping up the series plot. 

Spindelkin is leaving Kindle Vella as I type this. The YA Fantasy novel is next up for going to print once I get Seeker out to proofreaders. 

Frayed, a YA urban fantasy (work in progress) will be hitting Kindle Vella as soon as I have time to get the first chapters edited and uploaded. Here's the cover so far. I'll be playing with it for months, I'm sure. I'm still playing with the cover for Spindelkin, for goodness sake. Nothing is set in stone until it goes to print. 

Upcoming book signing events:

Hall of Heroes Con in Elkhart IN - March 5-6

Grand Rapids Women's Expo in Grand Rapids, MI - March 18-20

Grand Rapids Spring fling Comic Con in Grand Rapids, MI - April 8-10

Tulip City Comic con in Holland, MI - April 24

Whitestown Viking Festival in Whitestown, IN - April 29 - May 1

And speaking of the Viking Festival, I finally finished sewing my new garb.  I had to relearn how to weave. It's been a long time since the fiber arts weeks of art class in high school. All the trim is tablet woven, which, in theory was going to give me some time to kick back and watch Netflix while I worked on it, but it turns out you have to have to actually pay attention to what you're doing. (My first strip has a about five different patterns in it because I kept losing count.)Well, crap. I ended up switching to an easier pattern for the rest of it and still had to keep flipping a paper to remind myself whether I was going forward or backward. Short term memory and I are not great friends. 

Lots of layers for all weather. 

Squeezing out the last wavering inches of tablet weaving.
Its is professional? No. Will it suffice? Yep.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Which brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: 

Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to your story?

The short answer: Yes, but I almost always write them anyway. It's just whether I let anyone else ever see them. 

But seriously, I'm just gonna go ahead and overthink that question. Long answer: Sure. But for multiple reasons. 

A. The story or scene is too close to home. I'm pretty sure I touched on this one in a previous IWSG post. Writing is a good place to work though difficult emotions or situations, like therapy, able to distance ourselves a little and see it through a character instead of ourselves. But sometimes those things are too private or sensitive to share or might offend family members if they see through the thin veil of fiction.

B. I'm just not ready to tell that story. I don't have enough experience or knowledge of a topic or lifestyle to accurately covey what I want to show. Or it's not a genre I'm comfortable writing yet. There are a few stories lurking on my hard drive that are waiting for me to do research/gain life experience.

C. The scene might not fit in the book as a whole, but I'm jonesing to write it anyway. I almost always give into to this urge and see where it goes. It's about 70/30 in favor of ending up in the book, often with major edits to make it mesh, but these are usually great emotional moments or add depth of character.

And if you've made it this far though this month's blog post. You deserve chicks. Meet the newest additions to my flock. 

Olive Egger

Midnight Mystic Maran

Blue-laced Golden Wyandotte

Congratulations, you made it to the end. :) What are you up to this month?

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Spring Book Events and IWSG

It's winter here in West Michigan. Lots of snow, temps in the teens during the day, and snow plows galore. This is grey and white, our official winter color pallet.

Winter means we're not spending much time outside. I'm not a snow loving person other than to sit inside and look out at it. Ah yes, pretty. Now, back under my blanket with a warm computer on my lap. During nature's break from yard work, I'm busy booking events, sewing, and working on edits for Seeker. 

You can find me in Michigan and Indiana this Spring:

Feb 5 Byron Rec Comic con

Feb 11-13 Lansing Women's Expo

March 5-6 Hall of Heroes Con 

March 18-20 Grand Rapids Women's Expo

April 8-10 Grand Rapids Comic Con Spring Fling

April 24 Tulip City Comic Con

April 29 - May 1 Whitestown Viking Festival

What have I been sewing? Well, I'm doing five Ren Faire events this year and all are multi-day, so I decided to make a new set of clothes with options. Also, the first event is a Viking Festival, which I simply don't have anything to wear for (dramatic sigh) so a new outfit was in order. Being in April means it could be cold. Could be warm. One never knows. An outfit with options was needed. Layers!

This is layer one. It's super soft and comfy. I do have one ren faire dress that's form fitting and let me tell you, it takes two people to get into and laced up. I'm often without a maid at these things so I'm favoring comfort and ease these days. I'll leave the sexy wench and corset garb to the younger people. Ideally, I need to get a long leather belt for the waist but that's later add-on right now.

This is layer two. Or layer one if its a nice day. Its lighter weight. There are two more layers that I've yet to sew. Or cut the patterns for, actually. Lots of projects going on here. Then I'm going to attempt some weaving for more traditional trim, which I haven't done since high school. As you may gather, that was a while ago.

You may remember from last month that I was attempting to finish a cross stich project from fifteen years ago. Well, I did it! I don't recommend letting your project sit around for fifteen years as the colors fade, you discover that you weren't paying very close attention to the pattern fifteen years ago, and the cloth isn't actually as cream-colored (it was dirty and a bit stained on the edges) as you thought it was. But it's done and I'm happy with how it turned out (mostly that its done). 

And this brings us to February's Insecure Writer's Support Group part of my month's post. Do I intend to write more than a monthly post? Sure. Do I actually do it?  Uhhh,.. Is it next month already? 

This month's question is: Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? 

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

This is kind of a sore spot for me. Support wasn't something I had much of early on. I had a few teachers in elementary school that encouraged me to write. One high school creative writing teacher did her fair share of encouraging too. She passed away years ago. However, when it came to friends and family, there were a lot of crickets. 

When my first short stories were published twelve years ago, I had a family member buy a copy. I thought I was onto something, but even when my first couple books were published, its was crickets in the support gang. I wasn't until I'd been published for ten years (no, seriously) that family and friends really started catching on and actively supporting, encouraging, and buying. 

So for those of you who feel lonely out there in the book-filled world, your time will also come. As with all aspects of writing, patience is key. And hey, support is what this group is all about, right? 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Guest Post: The Business of Short Stories Book Release

Whether you're looking to add short stories to your repertoire as a solo pursuit or in addition to novel writing, The Business of Short Stories covers every aspect from writing to marketing. Learn the dynamics of short story writing, where to focus your editing efforts, how and where to submit, how to handle acceptances and rejections, what to do with reprints, and how to market yourself and your stories online and in person. The information in The Business of Short Stories has been distilled from over a decade of short story publishing experience so you don't have to learn the hard way. You'll find information on submission formatting, cover letters, querying a collection, sending proposals to writing events, how to create a website, SEO, social media, and so much more. This is an invaluable resource for short story writers.

There's never been a better time to get into short stories!

ISBN: 978-1-7320314-5-6
Format/Price: Print ($13.99) and e-book ($3.99)
Release Date: February 1, 2022

Pre-order E-book:
Paperback pre-order link coming soon!

Shannon Lawrence has made a career of short stories, with over a decade of experience and more than fifty short stories published in magazines and anthologies. In addition, she's released three horror short story collections with a mix of new and previously published stories. Her true crime podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem is going into its third season. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

2022 One Word, IWSG, and Upcoming Events

Now that the holidays are over, it's time to start looking forward in to the new year. Tiptoeing. Quietly. Not touching aaaanything.

I haven't had much luck with my One Word Resolutions the past few years due to the world falling apart and various other things out of my control, but hey, why not play along like this year might be different? I'm going to play it safe with RECOVER. 

Currently I have a cold. Just one of those plain old chest colds that due to the coughing, make everyone run for the hills. I've had Covid. I'm sure I can handle a cold. Other than recovering from that, I'm looking forward to recovering some spring events that were still cancelled in 2021, some mythical 'free time' that went to taking care of my MIL and my daughter during their heath crises, and some mental wellness by doing some of the non-writing hobbies that I haven't made time for in years. 

One of those is a cross stitch that I started at least fifteen years ago and has sat untouched on the stand, 2/3 done, staring at me longingly, for the past seven years. Current goal: finishing this thing! It matches a plate that my grandmother gave me. I'd like to get them framed together. Eventually.

Those events I'm hoping to recover? Here's my spring line up:

Feb 5 Byron Rec Comic Con
Feb 11-13 Lansing Women's Expo
March 5-6 Hall of Heroes Con
March 18-20 Grand Rapids Women's Expo
April 8-10 Grand Rapids Spring Comic Con
April 24 Tulip City Comic Con
April 29- May 1 Whitestown Viking Fest

And that brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question:

What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

 overcome it?

Biggest regret: not having more proofreading early on in my writing career. It seems there are always typos, however, the goal is to have as few as possible or if the angels are smiling upon you, none at all. I've found typos in short stories I've had in various magazines and anthologies. Even in my books that were published by a publisher. So it's no surprise that self-published books often have typos too.

I've learned not to expect anyone else to find them all during the editing/proofing journey. Everything I submit anywhere now goes through a process to eliminate as many of those pesky buggers as possible. This way, editors and proofreaders can hopefully catch the few that are missed rather than being overwhelmed by the brunt of the typo load.

The super secret process? Read the story on screen. Find typos. Print the story, read the pages. Find typos. Have the computer read it too me. Find typos. Read the whole darn thing again. Find significantly less typos. Then it goes to other eyeballs. And still, when it comes back for the final proof before printing, I'll read it again, and find a few more to fix. Every. Darn. Time. 

We're all human. Typos and all.