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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!

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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….. 🙂

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…

The Rush of Betrayal: Book One News Update

Hello Friends. I know it’s been a while since I posted anything here but I’ve been hard at work on the final edits for the new book, The Rush of Betrayal (book one and two). I’ll have the book covers done in the next week or so and my goal is to have the first book available for purchase by the end of June 2012 (with book two available sometime later this year – my goal is October 2012).

When the cover for Book One is done, I’ll post a copy of it here so you can see what it looks like – meanwhile, I thought I’d include a sample of Chapter One today. Let me get any legal type stuff I might need out of the way…. Read More…

Where in the World Have I Been?

Hello again, Friends! Yes, I’m still alive. I know, I know, it’s been a few months since last I posted anything here and I’m sure you were all worried about–

Seriously! You think people were actually worried about you? WOW! What an ego! When did this happen?

Okay, okay, settle down I was just warming up and–

Enough with the chit-chat, let’s get down to business here. If people are here, it’s because they want to know what’s going on so spill it already!

Fine. I’ll forget about the drum roll and just get on with it. The reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is because Read More…