Friday, July 5, 2013

Putting Blogger To Rest

Hello all! Thanks for popping into to check out my blog! Sadly, I have given up on Blogger. There are too many annoying things about it and I've officially lost my patience.

So, please update your bookmarks and trek on over to my new blog space: http://shaunagranger.wordpress.com/

Thanks!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photo tour stop 4: Fire!

Hello again! I hope you all are enjoying your little trip through my fair city! Today, we're taking a turn for the darker side of the series. Today I will show you the places that exist in the fourth book: Fire. (Just click on the pictures to see enlarged versions.)



In the beginning, Shay is atop a hill, overlooking Ventura. She's been meditating and desperately trying to glean any energy she can from the hillside. Atop this hill is a massive cross that marks the area where Spanish Monks used to reside. Here is that hill and the view.

You can see, people were getting married there that day. What a lovely place for a wedding.


And this is the view from the top of the hill:
Kind of appropriate that there was so much June Gloom that day. Since the book takes place in the winter, you get a better sense of what it should look like in the book


 A few more pretty views of the hill:


I wanted to give you some awesome shots of the coastline where Shayna tests out her new-found flying abilities to help in the car crash, but alas, there was so much construction going on, none of the shots were usable.

But, moving right along! We get to see the beautiful Majestic Ventura Theater:

The view from the balcony (I'm sure we all liked the balcony scene ;) ):
Photo credit: gothers.com


And finally, the entrance to The Tea Gardens. This is the place where I set the New Years Even scene and subsequently the fiery end of the book. 



Five years ago there actually was a horrible, horrible fire in this area. College kids had broken into the Tea Gardens (so named because this once belonged to Charlie Chaplan and he would take his tea in this part of the property), had a party and a fire and did not properly extinguish their fire before they left. A few days later, wind stirred the embers and set a catastrophic fire, burning 100 homes and injuring two people. It was heartbreaking. Because of my father's business (construction), we were very familiar with this area and knew many of the people effected. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to see it doing so well now.

                         

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Photo tour week three: Water

Welcome to the third installment of our photo tour! This week: Water - Book Two in the Elemental Series. This will probably be one of the shorter posts since most of the book's major locations were underwater, but hopefully I've caught enough shots to make it entertaining for you.


In the very beginning we are brought on a dawn patrol surf session with Shayna at her favorite break: Surfers' Point




Dawn at the beach is a wondrous, beautiful thing.


 (click the image to see a larger version)

Each of these were taken at Surfers' Point and gives you an idea of the changing moods of our beach.
Later, Shayna chases down a woman, frantically looking for her lost child. Little does Shay realize, the area known as "River Mouth" would be where she spend the majority of her time on her summer break.


River Mouth, where fresh water meets the sea.

And later we would see the beautiful beaches of Emma Wood. Emma has a special place in my heart because that was where my dad taught me how to boogie board and was one of the first places I went surfing with my husband. And if you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, Emma is one of the nicest spots to watch the sunset.



So many beautiful beaches in our county, I just wish we were lucky enough to get seashells :). Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this installment!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Photo Tour for Air: Book Two in the Elemental Series

Welcome to week two of our photo tour! Today I'm featuring the real life locations that inspired many of the places in Air: Book Two.


First up the shopping center with the movie theater and cafe where we first meet Jeremy and his invisible friends.


Then of course we have our favorite bookstore...
Which turns into a rather scary place when an unstable Jeremy looses his cool...

And then flees by jumping off the exterior balcony.


Unfortunately a lot of the other locales were made up. Much of what happened in this book were in private homes and then of course, in the Shide. None of which I could photograph. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Excerpt: Secret for a Song

Hello my lovelies! Today I'm very happy to share with you an excerpt from my friend, S.K. Fall's latest release! This is a slight departure from my normal work featured on my blog, focusing mostly on Paranormal and Fantasy, but I am so excited about this New Adult Contemporary story, I wanted to share it with you. So, without further ado, here is the excerpt!

 Drew waited with me as I stood on the sidewalk outside, letting the snow dust my head and shoulders.
“You look good in snow,” he said.
I laughed, my cheeks heating up as I tipped my head back to look at him. “Are you drunk?”
He stepped in closer, blocking out the streetlight that glowed orange in my eyes. “Maybe just a little tipsy.” He smiled. “I really meant what I sang in there.”
“Which part?” My words were just a breath, curling into the air.
He brought his head down to mine, so our noses were almost touching. “I’ll tell you a secret, I’ll sell you a secret for a song,” he sang softly; the same song from the bar. “Someday I’ll tell you, and take you back home where you belong.”
I wasn’t one of those girls who cried at every emotional thing they saw or heard; I’d never been that way. That might’ve explained why, when the tears cascaded down onto my cheeks, I felt with my fingers to see what the hell was going on with my eyes.
“Hey,” Drew said, catching one of the tears with a fingertip. “Are you okay?”
I opened my mouth to say I was, but all that came out was a sort of sob-whine, and more tears. Drew responded by putting his free hand around my waist and covering my mouth with his.
I’d like to say that in that moment, I kept my head. That I remembered that I was lying to him, that my entire existence in his life was only because of a huge untruth, and that I intended to extricate myself from him and the rest of the group. I’d like to say that I stopped the kiss.
But in that instance, the only thing I felt, the only thing that mattered, was how hard I was falling for Andrew Dean.
I was falling for this scared, lonely, broken, brave man who sang songs about secrets, who lulled me into a whole new universe using nothing but his voice. I wanted him, all of him, and I pretended that I belonged. It was the biggest lie I’d told up to that point, and for someone whose entire life was carved out of lies of different colors and shades and shapes, that was saying a lot.

Buy links:
Visit S.K. Falls:
Bio:
A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, I enjoy alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where I live and imbibe coffee. My husband and two small children seem not to mind when I hastily scribble novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.
Since no writer’s biography is complete without mention of her menagerie of animals, you should know I have one dog that doubles as a footstool, a second that functions as a vacuum cleaner, and a cat that ensures I never forget that my hands are, first and foremost, for pouring cat food.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Photo Tour of Earth: Book One in the Elemental Seires


Hello my lovelies! Today is the first installment of the photo tour of the real life places of the locations featured in the Elemental Series! First up: Earth. Mind you that I'm just showing your real places. I did make up some places, pulled them right out of my imagination. Like the high school - that place was an amalgamation of all the high schools in the district, so no pics of that. 

Unfortunately when June 1st rolled around, Ventura decided to be very literal about June Gloom. It had been sunny and warm and pretty for weeks until June 1st, so some of these pics look a little dreary and I'm sorry for that. 

So without further ado!


The Oak Ash and Thorn, featured in all five books was actually based on Journey Home, our local metaphysical shop. I have been going to this shop since I was six years old. Sadly, the exterior isn't the prettiest.

 In the beginning of the book the trio goes to a greasy spoon restaurant before they perform their first casting of the series. I give you Main St Cafe. Fun fact: this is the same restaurant from Erin Brockavich!










And you'll recall when they were finished with their meal they took some food to go for their friend and lookout, Byron. This is Byron's bench and beyond that, the first place we see the trio cast their first spells of the series.







And though the reason the three are seeking out the cause of the disruption of their quiet town and looking for someone performing blood magic, the drive down the coast to the first location is always beautiful. 
(Many car companies film their commercials along this stretch of road.)

Later, the trio goes on the hunt for the guy causing all the ruckus in town, performing blood magic and trying to lure girls into the woods. 











Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Be sure to check out The Spellbound Scribes blog!



As many of you know, I contribute to another blog, The Spellbound Scribes. We took a quick hiatus to revamp our blog and retool our thinking. But it is back up and we hit the ground running!

Be sure to follow me and my fellow Scribes to read some awesome creative and informative posts. You'll find flash fiction, story in the round, posts on writing craft, plans for world domination, things that go bump in the night, pretty much anything you'd like to see from a group of Paranormal writers.



Query Kombat Entry

Entry Nickname: Witch for Hire
Title: Wytchcraft
Word count: 101,000
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Updated Query:

Matilda Kavanagh is a witch for hire, just trying to pay rent and keep from sharing the same can of tuna with her cat. When a troll comes knocking at her door, looking to buy a spell to catch a fairy, Mattie can’t turn away his money. Little does she know, the fairy he intends to catch is the fairy princess, Rae of Dunhallow.

Just days before Rae’s brother, Roane, went missing. Thanks to Mattie helping the troll catch one fairy, they assume she must have helped someone catch the second. Now all eyes on are Mattie and her charms. The Lord and Lady of Dunhallow are holding Mattie responsible to bring Roane home, safe and sound. To force her to cooperate, the Dunhallows are holding the vampire she once loved hostage. And if that won’t work, they’ll just kill her.


Can Mattie find Roane and bring him home before the Lord and Lady lose their patience and kill her and her former, and possibly future, lover?

Updated first 250(ish) words:
I was almost out of vervain; I was almost out of a lot of my stores. Have to go visit Ronnie soon, I thought, but my tab was getting a little out of hand and I didn’t like the idea of adding to it. Closing the cupboard, I decided against starting the potion I was going to make; if I didn’t do it right it would blow up in my face. Literally and I had just waxed my eyebrows, I wanted to keep them.
“Gonna have to find work soon, Artie,” I reached to scratch my black, smush-faced cat behind the ears as he purred on the kitchen table. “We’ll be sharing the same can of tuna if I’m not careful.” Artemis rolled on his back, four black paws stretching in opposite directions before he became boneless.

Opening the fridge, I poked through leftover take out containers. Just as I grabbed a cold eggroll, someone banged at my front door. A glance at the clock told me it was well after midnight. It wasn’t odd for someone to come by at this time of night, but I wasn’t expecting anyone. I bit off a bite of eggroll and nudged the fridge closed with my hip, grabbing my baseball bat on my way to the door. Sure, I could hex whoever it was or use my knockout powder, but if it was a friend they wouldn’t thank me for it in the morning. At least the bat was threatening enough to give someone pause and me a second to react.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Writing – My Secrets



Many of you know I churn out a pretty high word count average per day. When I sit down to write I average 3,000-5,000 words. I don’t like to say pages because a page of narrative compared to a page of dialogue is so different that some days you’ll get 4-8 pages and others 10-15 depending on how much dialogue you wrote.

So, how do I do it? Since I started writing the Elemental Series I stopped treating writing like a hobby. That is the biggest question you need to ask yourself: Is writing a hobby for you? If it isn’t, if you plan to someday quit that day job and become a fulltime writer then you need to treat your writing like a job. I wrote the first three rough drafts of the first three books in the Elemental Series while working a full time job. I did not, by any stretch of the imagination, get 3-5k words a day during that time, but I forced myself to get 1k words, five days a week.

Because I was in the habit of writing 1k words a day (which averages out to 4 pages if you’re curious), when I lost my job due to the economy crash, it wasn’t difficult for me to demand more words of myself every day.

Now I’m a fulltime writer so of course I need to get a much larger word count. Yes, the house needs to be cleaned, the laundry needs doing, the dogs need walking, food needs to be cooked, time spent with my husband. All of that needs to be done, but you do all of that with a day job, right? Why make excuses to keep from writing? All of those things will still get done after you’ve allowed yourself time to write. Treat it like a job. If you called in sick every day to any other job, you’d eventually get fired, right? Right.

But how do I get that much written in a day, that’s the other question. I do not sit at my desk and write nonstop until I reach my word goal for the day. If I did, I would never get the numbers I get. Instead I carve out my words in chunks. There are a few different ways to do this, you just gotta figure out what works best for you.

I am very active on Twitter and like to have it open while I’m writing. I use it to report how much I’ve written and tell people I’m writing so if there’s someone else writing at that moment, they know they aren’t alone. It’s good to have a writing community.

When I first started this practice a popular challenge was #1k1hr – which means you’re committing to writing for one straight hour to get 1,000 words. This is cool, but it doesn’t always work for me. One straight hour, never looking away, never giving yourself a tiny break, gets to me. Like a cat with a laser pointer, I can’t focus.

I sprint. I write for 15 mins straight, or 20 minutes or 30. I never go longer than 30 without a break. In 15 mins I can write about 400-500 words. In 20 I can write 500-800 words and in 30 I almost always break the 1k mark and average 900-1300 words. But if you ask me to write for one hour straight I wont get much more than 1k because I slow down and want to do other things. It’s too much! Could you run as fast as you could for a whole hour? Do you think by the 40 min mark you’d be running just as fast as you were at the 15 min mark? Probably not. I look at writing the same way.

I sprint, usually with some writer friends, for a short block of time, then look away from the document. I check my email, twitter, stats, whatever. I take a 5-15 min break and then go again. But even if you only take a 5 min break, it will make a huge difference.

So that’s my big secret!

Figure out what works for you and do it. It doesn’t matter what you have to do to write, so long as you actually write.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Spirit’s One Monthaversary!



So Spirit has been live for one whole month now. It’s still strange to me to have this series finished. I’m happy to say the characters haven’t left me though. I still see their faces in my mind and hear their voices whispering to me.

The reason why that is so amazing is that it means there’s a possibility to future stories. I’ve talked about a spin off series in the future featuring Shay in her new life but I think it might be possible to have some other stories come out in the future. I like the idea of possibly writing some short stories in that world. Possibly written from Steven or Jodi’s point of view.

Maybe I’ll be able to write some stories about their pasts, some small adventures they’ve lived through that you all missed? Or something in the college years (at least for Jodi and Steven, lol). I don’t want to make any promises or say anything too terribly specific, but I do think it’s a strong possibility.

I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to start writing the first book in the spin off series, but some fun short stories might get my gears moving! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Genres and Where Should Your Book Live?


I thought I’d talk a little about genres. They can be so confusing, yeah? Yeah.

One of the biggest things writers have to know when they are submitting their work to agents and publishers is what genre their book is. It seems like this should be pretty obvious to most people, I mean, you wrote your book, you should know this, right? Eh, maybe.

Here’s how it can get confusing.

One big example is Dystopian vs. Post-Apocalyptic. A lot of the time these two terms are thrown around as interchangeable and they really are not.

Dystopian, as you can imagine, comes from the concept of Utopian. The big thing about Dystopian books is that the characters in the book don’t actually realize they are living in a Dystopian society, they’re supposed to believe they’re in a Utopian society and then come to realize, as the story goes, that things aren’t so awesome.

The Hunger Games is a Dystopian story. The farther away you live from the Capital, the more obvious your life isn’t awesome, but supposedly life is better than it was before.

Post-apocalyptic means the world has ended and you know, and the characters know, life is officially crap and you’re just trying to survive until you can make things better. There is no fooling anyone when it comes to Post-apocalyptic like there is in Dystopian.

I recently read The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. That is Post-apocalyptic. The aliens have invaded and they are systematically wiping out the human population (that is not a spoiler by the way; you know that by page one). You’re running around, just trying to survive and find other survivors and not get vaporized by the creepy alien dudes. No fooling anyone there.

Another confusion set of genres is Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.

I write in Urban Fantasy, almost exclusively. Urban Fantasy (UF) is set in a real world, modern city setting. Paranormal Romance (PR) can be set in the exact same space. UF has magic. So does PR. What’s the big difference? Whether or not the story hinges on the romantic plot of two characters.

In PR the whole story, no matter what is going on, depends on the developing romantic relationship in the story. In UF there can be a romantic subplot going through the story, but the main conflict of the story does not depend on the romantic subplot. See why my Elemental series wasn’t a Paranormal Romance? In the beginning Shay and Jensen are coming together and apart all the damn time but the big conflict had nothing to do with them hooking up. The big conflict was Shay and her friends rescuing someone before the big bad villain killed them.

So if you’re trying to decide what genre your book is, take a moment and think, “Where would a bookstore shelve my book?” Then decide what the subgenre is. And don’t think your book doesn’t fit into a specific genre. I often hear writers say, “Well, my book could be this or that or A or B…” No. It fits in one place and then you can say what its subgenre is.

For example, a Paranormal Romance is first a Fantasy because it has fantastical elements, like magic. So your book, The Magical Ride of the Phoenix is Fantasy: Paranormal Romance. And of course the age group is important.

So, speaking of Age Groups! There’s a lot of hoopla going around the internets lately about a newly emerging age group: New Adult. A lot of people are against letting this become a thing. Personally, I am not. I think there is a strong market for New Adult, just not a lot of people know about it yet.

The basic age groups go like this: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult.  

Picture books are obviously for kids who can’t read yet. Then Chapter Books are for kids who can read up until about age 10 or so (give or take depending on the kid). Then Middle Grade is for kids ages 10-12 and then Young Adult is intended for Teens, so 13-18. Obviously we all accept that when someone is 18-years-old they are officially an adult, right? So anything that has characters older than 18 means that book is an Adult book. Sure, sure, but do you remember being 18 or 19 years old? Are you in your late 20’s now? How about 30’s or 40’s? Have your experiences with life drastically changed over the years?

Would you say your life from ages 18-21 were ANYTHING like your life from age 28-35? Probably not, right? I started college when I was 17 years old and graduated at 21 years old. I was engaged to be married at 22 ½ and married at 24. Not a huge length of time between 17 and 24, right? But you can just imagine how different my life was while in college than what is was like by the time I was engaged and planning a wedding.

So I think there is a place in the book world for “New Adult.” People are making jokes that if we allow New Adult that soon we’ll have Middle Aged and Senior Citizen, blah blah blah. I get that argument, but I think it’s farfetched personally, but you could disagree.

But back to classifying your work. So, when I was deciding what Earth: Book One in the Elemental Series was it came down to this: Young Adult Urban Fantasy.

So do your research and don’t make it so hard on yourself. Your book has a home somewhere, not somewheres.

Monday, May 27, 2013

People forget what today is really about. - Memorial Day

Of course it is a wonderful day to hug a veteran, shake their hand and thank them for their service, but Memorial Day isn’t for the veterans, it’s for the fallen.

People get caught up in the parties, bbqs and parades, not remembering that people died in service to their country in order for us to have these celebrations. A lot of people just remember that they get today off of work, but don’t really think about why.

Carl "Booty" Southard
I remember what today is about because my mother served in the Navy, so did her brother and they are both home and safe. I remember what today is because my husband served in the Marines, and he is home and safe. His brother served in the Army, and his father the Navy, and his uncles served in the Marines, so many lives and all of them home and safe. I remember what today means because so many of our friends have served in all branches of the military, but most in the Marines, Army and Air Force.

Sadly, four years ago we lost one of my husband’s uncles to pancreatic cancer. During his time in the Marines he was sent to Vietnam, where he was exposed to Agent Orange. Because of that, so many decades later, he lost his life. Carl “Booty” Southard was a good man and a proud Marine, and he is not forgotten.

Years ago I stood at the tomb of the Unknown Solider and watched military personnel honor the fallen and the lost. It is that memory that I hold with me every Memorial Day.


Tomb of the Unknown Solider, Paris France

So no, today is not for veterans, but it is still a good day to hug one, because we are grateful that we can hug them.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What I’ve been up to May 24, 2013 edition


My my my, I have been a bad blogger. It has nearly been a whole month since I last posted anything – right before Spirit went live. I’m going to try to make up for that in the coming weeks.

So what have I been doing? Surprisingly enough, I’ve been writing. I know, right?! Crazy!

I’ve shared with you all in the past that I already started on the next few projects that I was planning after the conclusion of the Elemental Series. The first book in a new Urban Fantasy series (Adult this time around, not Young Adult), was finished in early February and I’ve been submitting to agents. I’m super superstitious so I’m not going to talk about that anymore, but I did start on the sequel to that book and finished it on Tuesday.

I’m not wholly happy with it and I know it needs work, but that’s what the editing stage is for. Anyone who has asked me how to get through writing a whole book has heard me say, “Just write the damn thing. No matter how crappy it is, just get the first draft done.” Because you can’t fix what hasn’t been written. So I’m okay with not being wholly happy with it. I will fix it in editing and after my betas rip it apart.

But before I wrote that sequel I wrote a whole different book, a post-apocalyptic book. This was totally outside my wheelhouse, but I wanted to see if I could do it. Again, not wholly happy with it. And really, I thought it was just going to sit in my hard drive and never see the light of day, but I’ve been thinking about it lately and I might print it off and take my red pen to it.

The Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic market is pretty well saturated right now and most agents are feeling a little overwhelmed with this genre, so I think, if I can make it shiny and awesome, I might self-publish this one. So you might see something new from me sooner rather than later. I am debating putting it out as a whole novel or serializing it (offering it in episodes). We’ll see how I feel about it after I edit it and give it to some betas and get some feedback on it. This one is New Adult (the main characters are 18-20) and focuses on a romantic relationship. So again, slightly different than what I’ve written before. If I jive on it and decide it is worth putting out there, it would be a trilogy.

And between that novel and the one I finished on Tuesday, I wrote a novella. So since January 1st, I’ve written a whopping total of 247,660 words. Yep, almost a quarter million words. Needless to say, I’m feeling a wee bit burnt out. I have officially given myself permission to take a little time off between projects to recharge my batteries.

At the first of the year I made a few writing resolutions. This was the list:
3-4 novels
3 novellas
1 short story

So I’ve completed 3 novels, 1 novella and 0 short stories and it’s only May. That seems pretty incredible to me. But I might’ve set the bar too high, or tried too hard to reach it too fast. I need a break.

It’s incredibly difficult for me to go any length of time and not write. I feel lost and like I’m wandering in fog. But I need to take some time off, if I don’t my writing will suffer for it. I wish my hubs and I could go somewhere for a real vacation because that would really help, but it’s not in the cards right now. Luckily it’s sunny and warm in my part of the state so I’ll read and relax and drink in the sun and when my head is in the right space, I’ll start editing some of this finished work. I really hope to have news of new work for you guys to read soon.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spirit Goes Live Soon and I'm Not Writing


I haven’t written a word today on my new work in progress.

Tonight I hit “publish” on the final installment of my Young Adult Paranormal series: The Elemental Series. Spirit will be live and the series will be finished. I’ve talked about the possibility of a spin off series in the near future, but I haven’t started on it yet because both, I and my characters, needed a break from that world.

Shay and I went on a five year adventure together. We’ve fought, cried and bled together and came out the other side whole and new. But now we needed some rest.

So I started a new series with a new world and new characters. I’ve completed the first book and am working on the second, but I haven’t written anything today. I’m not sure that I can. Shay was the first voice in my head that stuck around long enough for me to tell her whole story and because we’re celebrating the end of the series, the anniversary of the start of the series and mourning the close, I just can’t seem to hear my other characters’ voices today. I’m sure tomorrow they’ll come roaring back to me, wondering why I took a couple of days off while they were on the cusp of a bloody battle, but not today.

I’m in a weird kind of fugue today. I expected to be excited to release this book, just a bundle of nerves, terrified to hear what everyone thinks, but I’m not. I thought I might dread hitting publish today, but I don’t. I’m almost not even present. Maybe I’m afraid of how upset I’ll be when it hits me that The Elemental Series is over? I don’t know.

I do know that I’ve heard a lot of love from my readers who cannot wait for me to hit publish. And that is incredible. I remember when I first put out Earth almost exactly two years ago to this minute, and how each little sale made me jump for joy, and now I’ll have five novels out and Earth almost has 100 reviews on Amazon alone and readers are reaching out to me. It’s a little strange, wonderful, but strange. It certainly hasn’t felt like two years. Not even close.

I hope you guys like the book. I hope I ended the series well. I hope you’ll feel satisfied. I hope you’ll keep reading the new things I have planned. I hope Shay decides to start speaking to me again, soon. I hope for a lot of things.

I hope.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Characters, role models or pure fantasy?

This week I'm over at the Spellbound Scribes' blog talking about characters and whether or not they should be role models for readers. Check it out!

Characters, role models or pure fantasy?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cover Reveal: Secret for a Song by Adriana Ryan

Today I am very please to participate in the cover reveal for my friend, Adriana Ryan. A brand new New Adult book that sounds heartbreaking and beautiful, just like her cover!


Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.
She  ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.
Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives  
For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her.  But secrets have a way of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?
Adriana Ryan: A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, Adriana Ryan enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where she lives and imbibes coffee. Her husband and two small children seem not to mind when she hastily scribbles novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.

How to stalk Adriana:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spirit Giveaway - Open to International!

As you all know, I love to give things away! Today I am offering you a chance to win one of five signed copies of a paperback copy of Spirit: Book Five in the Elemental Series. And the awesome news? You will get it a whole month before it is available for purchase!

So how do you win? There are ten chances to win! Once you accomplish any of the following entry options, just click the appropriate button on the Rafflecopter widget below. But no cheating! I will be moderating all entries and if I find that you did not properly complete the task you claim to have done, that entry will be deleted. You have been warned.

Please note: you can do any or all of these tasks, the more you do, the more chances you have to win a copy!

The contest will run until 3/29/13 11:59pm. Winners will be selected on 3/30/13 and prizes will be mailed as soon as I have the winners' addresses, so watch your email! Winners will be announced here on the blog and on Facebook!

Option One: Creative Entry (worth three entries)
This is the most subjective option. Do anything you think is creative and show it off! I don't care what it is (so long as it isn't creepy of course - and yes, I am the final say on what is considered creepy). You can draw something, paint something, sing something and film it, take a cool picture of something, whatever! Just do something artistic or creative, post it online and provide a link to it on my Facebook page. If your creative project relates to the Elemental Series, all the better!

Option Two: Follow me on Twitter
If you are on Twitter, find me at @dyingechoes and follow me. Boom, that easy.

Option Three: Like my page on Facebook
If you are on Facebook, find me at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorShaunaGranger and like the page! (If you already like my Facebook page then you automatically qualify for this entry! Go click!)

Option Four: Follow me on Tumblr!
Pretty straight forward. Find me here and follow: http://shaunagranger.tumblr.com/

Option Five: Review Earth
Just post an honest review (I'm serious, just be honest) on Amazon and post a link on Facebook so I can verify it (if you already have a review posted, just provide the link and you qualify for this entry so go click it!).

Option Six: Review Air
Just post an honest review on Amazon and post a link on Facebook so I can verify it (if you already have a review posted, just provide the link and you qualify for this entry so go click it!).

Option Seven: Review Water
Just post an honest review on Amazon and post a link on Facebook so I can verify it (if you already have a review posted, just provide the link and you qualify for this entry so go click it!).

Option Eight Review Fire
Just post an honest review on Amazon and post a link on Facebook so I can verify it (if you already have a review posted, just provide the link and you qualify for this entry so go click it!).

Good luck everyone!


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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Post Writing Malaise – Or What Happens When You Finish a Book

As a full time writer, I write every day. I treat this like the job it is and only take off on the weekends and sometimes, not even then. When I had a day job I only asked myself to write 1,000 words each day, but now I expect 3,000+ each day. So when I finish a book I’m always at a loss.

I had a moment of pure, crystalline clear joy that it is finally done. Yesterday, when I finished the first draft of the Dystopian book I’ve been writing, I jumped up, ran out into the front of the house and just screamed. This book has been especially difficult for me since none of the characters could perform magic. And there were days that I never thought I would finish. There were days where I questioned why I ever wanted to write a book outside of my wheelhouse – after all I write Paranormal fiction, why would I risk hurting my brand by straying from it? There were days where I told myself, just put in zombies, or make someone a firestarter, or something, just add some magic and it’ll be easier. But I managed to keep with the plan and left out the magic and supernatural creatures. And, in doing so, I had a brilliant idea that will lead into the second book.

And yesterday I wrote for five straight hours, hearing the last words of the main character echo in my head, waiting for me to catch up in the story to type them, and I finished the damn thing.

Then I ran out and screamed. I jumped up and down and screamed some more.

Then I ran back to my office and quickly backed up the document in three different locations. Remember to back up your work people!

Then I went in search for food because the whole day all I had consumed was coffee and protein shakes, not wanting to waste time preparing food or eating it. But after I ate I sat down and just stared. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Wasn’t I supposed to be doing something?

Right, I’m supposed to be writing. But I finished.

So what do I do now?

Relax.

How?

Watch some TV.

But I’m supposed to be writing.

But you finished the manuscript. Now you need to take a breath and regroup.

Regroup for what?

For the next project.

The next project! Yes! I’ll start that!

No, the next project is editing and you’re too tired to do that right now. You’ll take a long weekend, decompress, get the end-of-the-world story out of your head and print off the Paranormal book on Monday.

Monday?

Yes, Monday – that is when you’ll start editing.

Editing?

Yes, that’s the next project!
That’s not writing! I’m supposed to be writing! See! Even Neil Gaiman says I should!

Editing is writing, it’s re-writing, much more important in the process.

So what do I do now?

Sit. Relax.

Oh.

That is the inner monologue that goes through my mind when I finish a book. I used to try to plan little trips when I finished a book, giving myself a deadline to meet so that when I finished that last sentence I knew the next day I would be out of the office and didn’t have to think about “what now?” But I didn’t do that for the last book or even this one. I finished a the first book in a new series in January and then the next week I started writing the Dystopian book, again the first in a new series. And again I have nothing planned to get me away from the computer. 


One of the things I always tell my writer friends is to make sure you do something nice for yourself to celebrate the victories, big and little. Even if the celebrations is as small as treating yourself to your favorite cup of coffee, an hour on the couch and your favorite show. I did this after the first week I managed to write 20,000 words in five days. 
Maybe buy yourself a small present. I bought myself some sparkly pink slippers after I finished writing that Paranormal book in January.

Now I’ve added up the numbers and I’ve found that I have written over 155,000 words in two months. So I have to do SOMETHING for myself. I think my husband and I will pile into the car this weekend and we’ll take a drive down the coast, get some seafood, watch the waves and the sunset over the ocean. I’m going to buy some lilies and plant them in the front yard. And I’m going to read for pleasure. It’s not much but it is more than I’ve been able to do for myself in the last two months.

When you are your own boss you have to remember to treat your employees well or they’ll quit on you. So I’m giving myself a few, hard earned days off.

Do something nice for yourself, I’m sure you deserve it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Reader Questions Part 6

How do you get into “the zone” to write? Have you ever had to deal with writer’s block? How do you get around it?

Seems appropriate to answer all of these questions in one post. You would be amazed how often I get these questions. Seriously. All the time. Even from other writers.

First, let me dispel this concept of “the zone.” There is no such thing. Sure, there are things that you like to do to make it more enjoyable, things that get you into the right mood, maybe, but other than that? Nope.

If you want to be a writer the plain and simple truth is you have to write. People have so many excuses why they don’t have time to write or why they couldn’t yesterday or how tired they are today. Blah blah blah.

I write fulltime now; this is my job. But before I had “all the time in the world” I wrote while having a day job. I’m not a morning person so I didn’t write before work. I like spending time with my husband so I didn’t write after work. I wrote during work. Oh yeah, that’s right. How did I manage it? Easy, you are given breaks at work so I took that time to write. For every four hours you get a 15 min break and if you work eight hours a day you get a lunch break. So, every day I wrote through my breaks. Sometimes I would save up my two breaks and lump them onto my lunch break to give myself that extra time, sometimes I didn’t.

I set myself a word count, back then the minimum amount of words I would demand of myself per day was 1,000. Now that I write full time I aim for 2,500. I know, doesn’t seem like enough, but writing full time and being self-published means I have a lot of other things I have to do that take up time. Like writing this blog. But recently I’ve managed to write 3,500 or more a day. I don’t like to get more than 5,500 words in one day though because it does wear you down.

I do enjoy writing to music and I do like noise to drown out the neighborhood, the dogs and even my husband. And I like to have something to drink with me. But other than that, everything else is just procrastinating. And sometimes I don’t have music to write to, or something to drink, but I still write. Hell, I wrote two chapters one day when I was waiting to be called for Jury Duty. Talk about less than ideal.

But if you want to write, you have to write. Consistently. This is not a hobby for me. Is it a hobby for you?

Writer’s block. I think this is a myth. I think there are days where you don’t feel like writing. I think there are days where you’ve written so much for so many days in a row that you need a break. I think there are times where you’ve written yourself into a corner and can’t figure out how to get out of it. I think you can drop a plot point and mess up the entire roadmap of your story and feel stuck. But there is no such thing as writer’s block.

Sure, there are days where you’ll just stare at the computer, the cursor blinking at you and hours will pass before you start typing, but eventually you do start typing.

On days where I’m having trouble with one scene and I just can’t get into it, I’ll open a blank document and start writing a scene I know is coming so that I can work the kinks out of my brain. While I’m working on that suddenly I’ll realize where I went wrong or where I have to go in that other scene and I’ll pick up where I left off. Because I have to.

For much of The Elemental Series I was a panster, that is to say, I wrote by the seat of my pants, with no outline or idea of where it was going to go. This gave me a sense of urgency to tell the story before I lost it. I always knew what the last scene or great battle was going to be, but I went on the journey to that point much like you, the reader, did – having no idea what was going to happen or what characters were going to walk on stage.

It wasn’t until I was writing Fire that I found I needed to start loosely plotting and outlining. For this new book, I have a full outline. I’m not following it closely, things have changed as I went along, but when I have gotten stuck, I can look back at that outline and remember things I wanted to include. You have to figure out what kind of writer you are and remember every book is going to be different.

But writer’s block is just another excuse not to write. Remember that. If you want to call yourself a writer then you have to write. Simple as that.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reader Questions Part 5

How do you go into so much detail in fight/magic/love scenes?

I was a creative writing major in college. I went into college thinking I knew how to write, boy was I wrong.

Obviously I took a lot of writing courses, creative writing, children’s literature, exposition writing and on and on. But the course that really helped shape my skills was my Creative Writing: Poetry class. I was lucky enough to be taught by Dr. Jack T. Ledbetter, an award winning poet and playwright.

He was the first person to tell me what a horrid writer I was. He didn’t say it so bluntly, but he opened my eyes. JT liked to tell us about the year a student wrote a poem about staring out his window at the moon. But he didn’t say that, he call the moon, “Yon sailing orb!” Yep. That happened. So, whenever we got too ridiculous or flowery in our poems JT would write in bright red “YSO!” on your paper, across your poem so you knew you’d gone off the descriptive cliff.

JT told us about the French writers of the early Nineteen Century who would write these “masterpieces” that no one actually understood. They thought, “Wonderful! This is Art! The average man shouldn’t understand what we’re saying!” That was the kind of writer I was when I started college. Thank goodness I signed up for Dr. Ledbetter’s class.

Now I know how to write clearly. I can still paint a picture with prose (say that three times fast!) but you, as the reader, still understand just what the hell I’m trying to say.

I’m also lucky enough to have a husband who is a self-defense instructor who has been training in various martial arts for nearly 30 years. So when I need to figure out a fight scene, I turn to him and he teaches me how to hurt someone and then let’s me practice on him. Now that’s love.

In my last post I’ve already told you how much research I’ve done on magic and Wicca, so I just remember what JT taught me about being clear and direct so you see what I see in my mind when I write.

As for the love scenes… well… this is a family friendly page for the most part. Let’s just say I’ve gone through my fair share of poisonous apples until my prince charming came along and broke the spell. I think knowing love helps you write it.

But even with all of that education it still takes practice. I think Air was a better book than Earth, and Water was better than Air and so on. You have to hone your craft and like any skill, if you don’t practice, your writing can get rusty. I’m a better writer today than I was a year ago because I just keep at it and I listen to constructive criticism and have learned to edit my own writing.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reader Questions Part 4

What research have you done to be able to write the magic and Wiccan practices so well?

I have done so much research there is no measuring stick I could use to tell you. I was very lucky to have parents that encouraged me to do my own research into the various religions and faiths and make my choice about what path I would follow. Because of that I learned a lot about Wicca and the various faiths that still believe in magic.

I started reading books on different religions when I was twelve years old. For the next ten years I would take the time to learn about as many religions as possible. I studied Wicca (other various nature based faiths), Christianity (lost count of how many types), Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, a few Native American faiths, many, many European pagan concepts. You would be surprised how many focus on the idea of living in balance and harmony with the world and your fellow man. Or maybe you wouldn’t, what do I know?

When I was a young teenager I had my cliché periods, which included my Goth phase, my grunge phase and the ideals of anarchy and rebelling against the accepted norm. During that time I spent many hours on the floor of my local metaphysical shop in the book section with dozens of books spread around me reading about magic and witchcraft. I’m really glad I did that because so many of the books reinforced the idea in me that I just needed to be a balanced person that tried to live in harmony with the world around me and appreciate the earth and what it does for us.

It was those hours, in that store, that gave me my greatest education to help me write realistic magic, spell castings and the character of Deb and her coven in this series. Read, read, read.