The Writing Process Blog Tour

The Writing Process Blog Tour 

Author Kimberly Pauley tagged me in this blog tour about the Writing Process. She’s the author of the Sucks to Be Me teen vampire series (Sucks to Be Me, Still Sucks to Be Me, Still Sucks to Be Me…Even in Paris) and two other YA novels, Cat Girl’s Day Off and Ask Me which goes on sale April 8, 2014. She is an amazing writer and you should all head over to her blog when you’re done here and check out her ‘writing process’ post from last week. She’s also the person who helped me create the book covers for my three books. 

And just so you all know up front, I’m breaking one of the rules for this blog tour (shame on me!). Many of my other writer friends were busy working on projects right now, so rather than tagging two other authors and having them write a specific post about their writing processes at the end, I’ll just link you to some of my writer friends and you can check out their wonderful blogs at your leisure. (Edit: One of these authors might just surprise you next week…) 

So now, as they say, let’s get on with the show.

What am I currently working on?

Two different projects…kinda.

Back in 2008, I took a short break from editing my epic fantasy novels and wrote a 60k word sci-fi, fantasy, action, adventure, buddy-‘cop’-like mash-up that was set in a wanna-be utopian future earth where magic had usurped technology for almost everyone, except the main character. It was a bizarre creation with oddball characters and snappy dialogue and it was something I knew eventually I’d want to work on again. But then I misplaced it. Recently, I found it again while going through some old computer files and while it needs a lot of work, eventually, with enough editing, tweaking, and polish, I’ll publish it (and perhaps it will be the start of another series for me).

The book I’m primarily working on though is a sequel of sorts to both The Penitent Assassin and The Rush of Betrayal books, Deception and Absolution. My goal is to write it in such a way that it could also be a stand-alone novel. I suppose David Gemmell’s Drenai book series is a model of sorts for the type of series I’d like to write. Characters from different parts of the same world with their own individual stories, sometimes interconnecting, and all creating a complete and full world, and yet, you can read just one and have a satisfying experience.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write epic fantasy with some grit and darkness, but also with a twisted sense of humor. I’m probably a little heavier on dialogue than some and I love to maintain a high level of action in the story. As I’ve told some people, the books are epic fantasies with the pacing of the “24” TV series. I don’t spend a lot of time describing each individual blade of grass, if you know what I mean. My books also seem to have a lot of villainous characters in them but I write them as if they’re the heroes of their own stories. If you hate to love them, or love to hate them then I feel like I’ve done my job.

Why do I write what I write?

This is asked as if I have a choice! LOL. I write what I write because the characters in my head won’t be ignored. They won’t let me not tell their stories. I have people come up to me and say, ‘you’re such a nice guy, how could you possibly write some of these characters?!’ It’s amazing how well I have some people fooled!

I should probably add a “LOL” after that, right? Or maybe a :)?

I think even the nicest people in the world have a ‘darker’ side; I just tend to tap into mine when I write certain parts of my books.

How does my individual writing process work?

You’re too kind to assume that it does. Oh, you mean, how do I do what I do? Magic and lots of Mt. Dew. Plenty of ‘butt in chair’ time. Daydreaming. Being very quiet and listening to the characters in my head. Mostly the last one. In the past, whenever I’ve gotten stuck while writing, it is usually because I’m trying to write something that wouldn’t be true for a certain character.

It makes outlining a little difficult, but I do attempt to keep track of the novel’s general direction. But Shawn, I can almost hear some of you say, your novels are constructed like little puzzles, how could you not plot out all those little details? Well…some of it I do, and thankfully, most of the time the characters are willing to follow my lead, but occasionally, the book will take an unexpected turn and I have to go back and tweak the rest of the novel just to make sure it all matches up. That’s where the daydreaming comes in handy. When I have to make changes to the novel, I usually run the new scenes in my head like a movie over and over, tweaking this, changing that, until I’m ready to write again.

So wait, you might be saying, how do you actually get the novel finished if you’re constantly going back and making changes? Well, that’s the part I’m attempting to stream-line even now. My writing process is continuing to evolve even now. Like editing a book, I keep in the parts that work really well, and delete the parts that don’t.

Speaking of editing, I think it’s one of my favorite parts about writing. Yes, I love the initial discovery of the new story, but it’s in the editing where the real magic happens. That’s where the crappy first draft becomes the slightly less crappy second draft followed by the ‘hey, this isn’t so crappy’ third draft which leads to the ‘okay, I won’t be embarrassed if anyone reads this’ fourth draft and then I add the final polish and the ‘It’s alive!’ final draft is done.

But, you might be saying, what’s the secret to your writing process? How do you do what you do? It can’t just be ‘magic and lots of Mt. Dew. Plenty of ‘butt in chair’ time. Daydreaming and being very quiet and listening to the characters in your head’. There must be something more.

Must there?

Perhaps there is, but I think for each writer you just gotta do whatever works best for you and the only way you’ll discover what that is, is to write. Write. Write.

And then write some more.

Good luck.

Other writers you might want to check out.

Lorijo Metz (YA sci-fi author)

Walter Shuler (adult fantasy author)

Ciara Ballintyne (adult epic fantasy author)

Have a great day!

What Happened to Blogging in 2013 (and a new book update!)

Okay, so I’m not the most regular blogger….

I really, really would like to fix that someday. Seriously.

I like the idea of blogging at least on a monthly basis (and not just so I don’t have to relearn how the heck to get on here and do posts and all the other fun stuff associated with blogging!).

As for 2013 (and for that matter the fall of 2012)….in the words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

It was all about the sleep. Or rather, the lack of it. As many of you may know, I’m a stay-at-home dad who works at a bookstore most evenings and drives for a bakery most nights. I sleep ‘in between’. For the 2012-2013 school year, that meant I napped twice a day from 11pm to 1am and from 5am to 7:30am. That was pretty much it. Needless to say, that left me with a bad case of Zombie Brain (me functioning creatively pretty much on par with a zombie).

So. When I DID have enough creative energy to write, I had a choice. Work on the second half of The Rush of Betrayal OR blog.

As you can see, since I last blogged back in December of 2012, I chose to work on the book.

I also chose to rewrite the book’s ending. The original ending was fine, and most of it is still in the book, but I discovered in the editing process I had just a wee bit more story to share. So while, The Rush of Betrayal: Absolution (Book Two) is the concluding second ‘half’ of the entire novel, in reality it is more like the concluding two-thirds. Yep, so for you fans out there, it means more reading fun, more action, more Josephine, more Ian and quite a few more surprises.

When will The Rush of Betrayal: Absolution (Book Two) be finished? Believe me, I am as anxious to know as you are (and my wife! Trust me, she wants this novel done too. And soon. Very soon. Very, very soon, because I tend to do more cleaning around the house when I’m not editing…..Hmmmm, I wonder if THAT’s why the editing has taken so long….)

In all seriousness, I am working hard to have the book out before Christmas. Of 2013. The editing and tweaking and polishing is almost done. The book cover is done (and I’ll share that with you in just a few days!). The formatting is in good shape. Probably my biggest obstacle is that darn short synopsis that everyone just LOVES to write. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I don’t love writing them. Hey, I love writing massive, epic fantasy novels ranging from 100k to 200k words (or more). My brain doesn’t do short and sweet. If it did maybe I’d write short stories more often, or poetry, or a haiku…

I was talking to a writer friend of mine from twitter, Walter Shuler, the other day about this same issue. I told him I wish I could do something along the lines of a Nike advertisement – something like: JUST READ IT. Or, maybe since I love The Princess Bride, I could do something like the scene near the beginning between the grandfather and the grandson where the grandson asks “Has it got any sports in it?” And the grandfather says, “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” And I’d say, “Yep, my book has all that PLUS magic, and blood, and sex and even a touch of steam punk.”

Bottom line, I can’t wait to share with you the conclusion of The Rush of Betrayal and I’ll do my best to get it to you very, very soon. (Plus, I’m sure my wife would just LOVE for me to clean the entire house before Christmas!) So, if you haven’t read The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) yet (or if you have, but it’s been a while), this would be the perfect time to start (again). And for those of you who have wondered, do I need to read The Penitent Assassin before The Rush of Betrayal, the answer is ‘no’, you don’t ‘need’ to, but why wouldn’t you? LOL. Yes, the books are set in the same world and yes, there are some definite connections between them, but they can be read and enjoyed independent of each other as well.

So much for that earlier ‘Let me sum up’, huh? See what I mean! I swear, it’s like my fingers think they’re doing some serious exercising when they’re typing! If only…

Check out both books over at Amazon:

The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One)

The Penitent Assassin

Or, if you’re not an Amazon fan – you can find me and my books over at Smashwords.com too.

Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving! And I chat with you again soon….. :)

State of the Writer

Hello Friends!

I know…it’s been a while. I’m sorry. What can I say…after spending much of the past year and a half focused on editing first The Penitent Assassin and then The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One), I needed a little time away to spend with my family. The kids are growing so fast and I wanted to make sure I spent some time with them while they still thought I was cool. (So far, according to them, I am…whew!)

Also, my house, like everything else, is growing older…which meant there were quite a few home-improvement projects which needed my attention. I made a small dent in the ‘honey-do’ list (if you’re a home-owner, you know that list is NEVER-ending!) which of course made my wife happy (and if you’re married, you know the saying ‘happy wife, happy life’). Of course, now she’s starting to get after me to get back to my writing again and as soon as the holiday season is over, and my crazy work hours at the bookstore settle down, I’ll be back hard at work on the final edits of The Rush of Betrayal: Absolution (Book Two).

Speaking of Book Two, yes, I know, I originally thought I would have it done by November 2012 but as I explained above I’ve had a rather busy five months and so my new goal is spring 2013. This extra time will also allow me to expand a bit more on Josephine’s storyline which I think will only improve the final version. I can’t wait to have it finished so I can share the conclusion of Ian’s and Josephine’s story with you.

GOOFY NEWS ALERT:

Back in November, twitter friends of mine and co-hosts of the Southern Fried Inkslingers Podcasts, author Walter Shuler @anakronistical and artist Brad Joyce @Brad_Joyc3 interviewed me. Now, I say ‘interviewed’ but what it really was was three guys pretty much sitting around trying to make each other laugh for over an hour. And it’s safe to say we all succeeded. I had a great time talking with the both of them and just hanging out while enjoying a Mt. Dew (I swear, I wasn’t drinking anything stronger!). I’ve been told the podcast interview will be online either later today or tomorrow. You should definitely check it out…

I plan to blog a bit more often in the upcoming months (it’s not like I can really blog a bit less!) but if for some reason I don’t make it back on here before the end of the year, I wish you all a happy holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

–Shawn

The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) Coming Soon

Hello Friends,

It looks like tomorrow, July 3rd, 2012 ‘should’ be the release date for The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One). I know, I know, I’m running a few days behind on my self-imposed deadline of ‘the end of June’ but considering how my June played out, I don’t think I did half-bad. I only had one day off during the entire month of June – Father’s Day – and I wasn’t home and able to work on the final edits that day.

Why did you put ‘should’ up there in the first line, Shawn?

Well, assuming I have no problems with my computer, no power outages etc, I ‘should’ be able to release the book on July 3rd. The book is ready. The cover art is ready. I have a short description for the book ready. I’ll be attempting to publish it first on Smashwords.com and then Amazon.com. If I can do both in one day, July 3rd, I will. All I really need is the time….

Time? Aren’t you a stay-at-home dad? You should have all day long to do whatever you want…right?

I wish! While yes, I am a stay-at-home dad, and yes, my kids are really great and able to entertain themselves for a while each day while I write, I do enjoy hanging out with them, taking them out for bike rides and visits to the park and all the other things kids like to do. But in addition to being a stay-at-home dad, I’m working to fix up my house this summer and I work two part-time jobs: I work 5-6 evenings a week at the local bookstore and I drive 6 nights a week for a bakery. Hey, it’s called: ‘paying the bills’. I’m sure you all know how it is! Someday, my goal is to have my writing pay for some of my bills. It’s a dream… :)

When do you sleep?

LOL!

Okay, back to the book. Is this book a sequel to The Penitent Assassin?

Not exactly. I consider it a companion book to The Penitent Assassin. What I mean by this is, events in both The Penitent Assassin and The Rush of Betrayal take place in the same world but in different geographical locations with different characters.

Will characters from these books ever cross-over or meet in future books?

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you? :) Too much of a tease? Okay, how about this – there are events happening in this world which do effect all of the characters, you’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

Do I have to read The Penitent Assassin first in order to enjoy or understand the new book?

No. You could read The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) first and then go back and read The Penitent Assassin, however, readers of both will begin to see some ties between the books and perhaps a grander view of the entire world. My intention is for the world to keep building in your minds with each new book I write and publish…

I see this is ‘book one’. How long will I have to wait until you publish ‘book two’?

My goal for publishing The Rush of Betrayal: Absolution (Book Two) is Oct/Nov 2012. I’ll be able to narrow this down a bit more once summer is over. The book is basically done, it has been edited many times already, all I need to do is finish up some final edits/tweaks and put a final ‘polish’ on a few chapters, check the formatting, and get the book cover done. If I manage to get this all done earlier than Oct/Nov 2012, I will not only let you all know, but I will also publish the book sooner. Of that, I promise!

Will there ever be a movie made of The Penitent Assassin or The Rush of Betrayal?

Wouldn’t that be awesome? They play like movies in my head. I’ve been told by other readers they play like movies in their heads too. I’ve had some people suggest certain actors they’d love see in the role of Mallor (from The Penitent Assassin): Clive Owen, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law and Russell Crowe are the men most commonly mentioned. (If you’re friends with any of these men, why not suggest they read The Penitent Assassin? LOL) For the most part, I think those are pretty good suggestions. What are some of your suggestions for any of the characters in any of the books? (I’m really curious who will be suggested for Lord Ian Weatherall and Josephine Hewes, two of the main characters from The Rush of Betrayal books).

But back to the actual question. Truthfully, I have no idea if or when a movie would ever be made – though I’d love to have that option. So hey, if you’re in the movies, or know anyone who is in the movies, and they love my books, let me know. I’d love to chat with you.

What’s next after both Rush books are published?

I’ve begun to plot out a sequel to The Penitent Assassin. I’ve also tossed around the idea of writing a few short stories starring some of the minor characters from the books. I’m hoping I’ll have a new novel and/or an anthology of short stories available sometime in 2013. Obviously, I’ll let you know when anything new will be coming out.

I love your books, how can I help get the word out about you and your books?

Wow! You are too kind! First, thank you very much. I’m so glad you enjoy my books. Word-of-mouth, twitter, facebook, goodreads, book reviews, blog reviews, blog interviews….Hmmmm….I’m sure there are other ways to spread the word…right? Please, let me know!

Okay, I think that’s it for tonight. (We should probably quit before it gets TOO deep in here! LOL) But hey, before I go, do you have any questions for me? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a question in the comment section and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope you’ll go check out my books. I’d love to have a chance to entertain you…

Happy Reading. :)

The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) Book Cover

Hello Friends, I just wanted to share with you the newly created book cover for The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One). A good friend of mine, Kimberly Pauley took the photo I sent her and created it for me. I think she did a great job, and I’m so happy for her help. Thanks Kimberly! (Besides being an awesome friend, she is a great writer and you should seriously check out her blog for more information about her and her books!)  

Now, before I show you the cover, some of you might be wondering, what the heck is this book about? In case you missed my most recent interview (with Ciara Ballintyne) where I described the book, I’ll include the short blurb here:

Life should be good for foreign ambassador, Lord Ian Weatherall. He’s rich, he’s married to the local princess and their young son is heir to the throne. But all is not as it should be. Friends have mysteriously died, others have been financially ruined and his marriage is falling apart. There are rumors that many in the city are unhappy with the racial mix of their future king and some are calling for his removal. Suddenly, Lord Ian’s business ventures sour too. Is this all the work of one man bent on seeing him and his son destroyed, or is it a conspiracy by many to incite war against his native land? Will Lord Ian be able to uncover the truth in time, or will he fall victim to the worst kind of betrayal? Discover the answers when I release The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) later this month.

And now, the cover…

          

The woman on the cover is Princess Cecily, Lord Ian Weatherall’s wife. You will meet both of them in Chapter Three (which I’ll include as a sample on this blog later this week).

Thanks for visiting today. Happy Reading! :)

Read more of The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One)

Hello Friends. As promised, I’m including the second chapter of my upcoming novel, The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) today. I was also going to include a copy of the book cover, but I’m still having some work done on it today so I will have to postpone its display until possibly next week. I’m very happy with its results so far, but due to some recent changes at Smashwords and Amazon, I’ve learned they would like larger book cover sizes, so I’m having the cover adjusted to match their new requirements/recommendations.

Also, before I go on, I’ll state the legal mumbo-jumbo – this chapter is copyrighted material by the author, Shawn Wickersheim (ME) and is a part of The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One). Please don’t copy, use, steal etc. etc. blah-blah-blah…you’ve read all this stuff before on my other blog post which included chapter one and the same holds true here. Bottom line, I’ve worked extremely hard on this book (and all my books) so please tell all your friends to read (not steal) my novels. (Not that I think YOU’d steal anything at all, I’m generally a pretty trusting fellow, but sadly, you know how it is in today’s world…*sigh*)

Thank you!

Hopefully, you’ve already read chapter one (which is in an earlier blog post) and without further ado, let’s as they say, get on with the show…. Read More…

Back Cover Description Overhaul

Hello Friends,

I know many people are of the opinion if you’re a writer you must be able to write all sorts of things equally well. If you write novels, you must be able to write short stories, or poems or greeting cards or…

No? You don’t believe this? Well, truth be told, neither do I.

That’s not to say that I probably couldn’t make a valiant attempt at writing short stories, or poems or greeting cards – because in the past I have worked on each of those styles of writing, however, my passion really lies in writing novels.

Full novels. 90,000+ word stories filled with multiple characters, story plots, twists, turns, surprises…

That is how my brain works creatively.

Even blog posts are not ‘easy’ for me. Sure, I can occasionally knock out a post here or there – hell, look at the consistency of my posts….What? There is no real consistency to my posts? Hmmmm….I wonder why that is?!?

The same is true with book summaries, query letters, book reviews – to me, they don’t seem….natural. And trust me, if you’ve read some of the other blog posts here you know I have the critical voice in my head screaming at me right now – “Well, maybe if you tried harder, or practiced more you’d get better at that aspect of writing…!”

And you know what, that voice is probably right. I spend thousands of hours working on writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting a novel and yet I find it perhaps the most difficult part of writing to be the time I spend writing and rewriting and rewriting the book summary. I’ve studied the back covers of probably hundreds of books (I’m serious, I work at a bookstore and own WAY too many books (according to my wife!). I have the means to perform such a study even without leaving my house). I just don’t write like that.

Well . . . I also don’t like to quit or admit defeat.

Though, I am willing to ask for help.

I’ve decided to make another attempt at writing a ‘back cover’ book description for The Penitent Assassin. Something….different. Here goes:

For Mallor, assassination is a way of life. Through death, he survives and he lives for revenge. With a past he can’t forget and a future he has little hope to enjoy, the present is all he has and presently, he is in Sepeccare, his old hometown using an old identity while hunting old foes. However, he soon discovers he’s not the only hunter in the city and there’s a price on his head large enough to attract every violent criminal around.

In this wildly adventurous fantasy novel where nothing is quite what it seems, can a man who refuses to quit despite overwhelming odds stacked against him stand any chance of success or will he be doomed to fail yet again in the dangerous world of his own creation?

Well, that’s my latest attempt. I’m curious what you think.

Thanks!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,909 other followers