#JuNoWriMo Featured Author – Shan Jeniah Burton

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

Shan Jeniah Burton: The Far Shore (Kifo Island Chroincles #5)

Photo by Sylvia Woodman

Hi, I’m Shan!

My life overflows with lovely chaos. It’s a crazy quilt I share with my chef husband, two endlessly fascinating homeschooled children who gobsmack me on a daily basis, and a cast of furry companions. I’ve lived and worked at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the Everglades, and driven across the country three times. Now I’m settled on the same sleepy road in upstate New York where I grew up.

I’m particularly fond of language, dreams, photography, nature, history, music,storytelling, and fictional people with green blood and pointed ears. Combining several of these loves in my writing delights me.

For JuNoWriMo, I’ll be drafting The Far Shore, the fifth novel in my Kifo Island Chronicles an alternate near-future fantasy series in development.  Each volume explores the interwoven lives of three main characters on the island-wide, no-cost, private hospice resort.

I’m excited about completing this novel draft during JuNoWriMo , and seeing what it adds to the emerging tapestry of this series.

In this volume, a young girl with a secret; a young woman with an eating disorder; and a young woman who’s seen far more than her years suggest will attempt to find purpose and healing. Will they succeed, or will their demons destroy them?

Several real life story threads coalesced to create the basic premise for this novel including:

  • Several friends who’ve dealt with/are dealing with eating disorders.
  • Reading a novel about the child sex trade.
  • Personal experience with a volatile, abusive home environment.
  • A child of the 70s, I was intrigued by the anything-can-happen nature of Fantasy Island.
  • A passion for the ocean.

My goal is to explore the strength, adaptability, and grace of the human soul – its capacity for healing, for kindness, for selflessness, and for moments of transcendent beauty even in the midst of ugliness.

I don’t believe in happy endings, because that’s not how life really works. I’m a strong believer in growth, change, and better choices, and those will be major focuses of this novel. I tend to leave my characters in a better place than they began from, but it’s seldom a perfect place.

I’m excited to get writing, and see what will happen…

You can find me here:

Facebook: Shan Jeniah Burton, Writer https://www.facebook.com/Shan-Jeniah-Burton-Writer-120792371340651/

Twitter: @shanjeniah https://twitter.com/ShanJeniah

Blog: https://shanjeniah.com/my-prime-directives/

And, on my brand-new website:http://shanjeniahslovelychaos.com/

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Rebecca Odum

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

Hello all!

Rebecca OdumRebecca here or, if you prefer, you can call me by my pen name, RA Odum. Let’s start with the basics, shall we? I grew up and still reside in a small town in Georgia. I was born at 24 weeks and was the smallest of triplets. I have what’s called Retinopathy of Prematurity. I have no vision in my right eye and some in my left, but I haven’t let that stop me from living life.  Yes, I can’t drive, and school was very difficult,. But these challenges have made me the person that I am, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I like to say that my writing career started in my grandma’s attic at age five. I would spend the night with her, and she would tell me stories (but I was always the boss of these stories). I’ve always loved watching movies and TV  with characters that I connected with.  In fact, my current book, titled, Lightning Proof, was inspired by the movie Frozen. When I was younger, I read everything from Sweet Valley High to Christy and Nancy Drew. But as I got older, I started looking for books with characters that I relate to—characters that overcome challenges. I also read books that inspire me and make me see the world in a way that I never have before. These are the books that I strive to write.

I recently fell in love with urban fantasy and Lightening Proof mixes fantasy, futuristic and real world elements together. I love the idea of putting fantasy in an ordinary world.

Lightning Proof is  set in the fictional country of Caldwell. There two groups with magical abilities fight for acceptance against fear and hatred.  Victoria Thompson and Lindsey Cooper have been friends since they were twelve.  Then laws against their people started being passed. Victoria is a Lighter. She can shoot lightning from her fingers and can communicate via telepathy. Lindsey is an Invisible. Invisibles can teleport and can also communicate telepathically. They can also control minds but most Invisibles aren’t taught that skill. For ten years, they’ve watched the laws strip away their rights, and now, as teachers of the next generation of Lighters and Invisibles, Victoria and Lindsey must fight to keep their hope alive as they fight to save their people.

This book is the first in a series. I am very much excited to introduce my characters to the world.

Social media links:

Twitter| Facebook

Pep Talk Week 2: 4 Tips to Succeed this June

Robert Chazz Chute offers his tips on how to succeed this June!

So, you’ve decided to commit to writing 50,000 words or more this month. Blood oaths have been sworn. You promised yourself, as God is your witness, you shall be a novelist! Heroes will sing your praises in Valhalla this night. As it was foretold in the prophecy, you shall write and you will finish to great acclaim. Beer, Cherry Cokes and champagne for everybody!

Good. Now that we’ve got the drama, grand pronouncements and the first flush of enthusiasm out of the way, let’s settle some priorities and expectations so you, too, can win JuNoWriMo and the love of your cold, aloof parents.

  1. You have made your writing a high priority this month. You matter and what you want is of value. We’re talking hopes and dreams here! No shame in such selfishness.

That affirmed, know that you will have to tell someone no this month. You’ll probably have to defend your writing time against the onslaught of several someones repeatedly. Fine. Do so. Your family, friends and enemies will still be around to suck the life out of you when you’re done your word count for the day. Put your writing session on your calendar just like you would an appointment for a colonoscopy. You probably wouldn’t look forward to a such a procedure, but you definitely would not miss such an important appointment.

Yes, your writing is just as important as meeting a doctor with a startlingly long air hose, a camera and a penchant for proctology.

  1. You are here for the writing and this will be fun. Not always, of course. If scratching out words were an easy  and endless gigglefest, everyone would be a novelist. There is a trick that will help you through the rough spots: just as with a bad movie, you can always fix your manuscript in post.

Write confidently. Write swiftly. Don’t look back. Push through to the end. Editing and worry is for later. The key to a great book is to start with a crappy one. There will be plot holes. You can fill those in another time. Too often, writers compare the wretchedness of their first draft to some genius’s finished work. Trust me, that so-called genius looks like half an idiot in his or her first draft, just like you and me. Relax into the inevitability of disappointment with your first attempt.

This isn’t baseball. In writing, you can take as many swings as you like until you hit a home run. Writing is a sport for cheaters. We keep our lousy attempts in locked drawers and the fans only see our triumphs in highlight reels.

  1. I guarantee you will have a ton of fun with this challenge if you resolve to stop being so precious about writing. We fetishize the act like some dudes dig the smell of leather when they’re naked. We talk instead of write. We develop elaborate rituals, light candles and demand everything be perfect before we can begin. We think too much about how hard writing can be. But wait! Remember physical labor? Remember that sunburnt summer you got a job as a roofer pouring hot tar and day after airless day was a heatwave full shimmering punishment? Or what about that summer retail job that was so bad you studied harder in September so you would never have to work that counter at the mall again?

The quiet solitude of writing combined with the social support of JuNoWriMo is heaven compared to those mundane horrors. Writing is play. Look around. Writing is everywhere. You can already write so don’t make too big deal of it. If you want to be a novelist, be a novelist and be grateful. Storytelling looks just like typing at first. After we learn more craft, we call it writing. Eventually, we call ourselves writers and it doesn’t even sound weird when spoken aloud. Your parents will remain fretful and unsupportive, sure. But hey, you knew Mom and Dad weren’t going to change.

  1. I know you probably think writing should be hard. I had a lot of false starts thinking that way. When I got into traditional publishing, I had a romantic view of the profession. Then I drove authors to signings where no customers showed up and the author blamed me. I attended literary parties hoping for witty repartee with great minds. Sadly, the number of geniuses in the publishing industry is no more nor less than what you’ll find among any random clutch of accountants, plumbers or dentists. Elite publishing parties are more about bon bons than bon mots. You’ll find ego, avarice and envy at those cocktail soirees, but surprisingly little material for your next book.

Freedom came when I let go of all those trappings and got to the core of what you and I do. We write. Creative writing is a meditative, hopeful act of faith. When the words are coming fast, a neural engine chugs along that changes the way you think and feel. You won’t know where the ideas are coming from but it feels magical. Writing is the only magic I believe in.

This is a great thing you are attempting. If you hold on to that, you’ll persevere. Congratulations on getting started. I hope you discover a great story along the way and end up with something you’ll love. Remember, you don’t have to love it all the time. Sometimes the only virtue in the exercise is that you made your daily word count so you don’t have to write more today. Fix it in post. Tomorrow, find the fun again. Repeat until complete. Write so much and so freely that you stumble upon the magic.

Throwing down words to build stories is addictive. Let’s get high on this wonderful drug. Once you crush this goal, you’ll probably find that 50,000 words was a great start. Most serious writers I know write at least 50,000 words every month. That’s how you know you must be victorious in JuNoWriMo. If mere mortals can complete this task or something like it twelve times a year, surely you can do it once. As your confidence grows, what once seemed difficult will become easier. This might even turn out to be your new day job.

But you don’t have time to read this. Write now right now.

Robert Chazz ChuteA former journalist full of self-loathing, Robert Chazz Chute is now an award winning suspense novelist (still full of self-loathing.) He writes assorted apocalyptic epics, SFF and crime thrillers that would make your momma pee the bed. Learn more at AllThatChazz.com and love him, dammit! Since you’re climbing JuNoWriMo, you might especially like Crack the Indie Author Code.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: RF Kacy

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

I have a confession to make. I am a creative writer.

There, I said it. It isn’t an easy thing for me to do. We of Eastern European descent don’t Art, we Work. When I was younger there was a cousin who was a musician, but he earned a pass because he played at family weddings for free.

Now, decades later and post retirement, I haunt corners of our modern-day salons, pen in hand, steeped in caffeine and sugary confections. I create worlds from dreams, solve problems of my own making, and spark the most unlikely of romances. I don’t consider what the market will support, nor what readers want to consume. Though I spent many years as a professional economist, now I write what I like and pass it on to whoever wants to share in my joy.

I have too many tales that I want to tell, and they rarely fit into any recognizable category. So, I try to amuse myself and the small circle of friends who stumble across my work. As a journeyman writer I write every day because the doing of the thing is what is important. But, I will try to explain my plans if you don’t expect too much.  Once I embark on a writing journey I refuse to follow even the most basic of navigational charts. In short, I pants for as long as I can get away with it.

So what connection do my ramblings have with JuNoWriMo?

This—my project for June:  Fatal Bequest is the second book in “The Megan Lark Mysteries” series where Megan and her maybe-could-be-sometimes-boyfriend, Neal Parker, pursue truth, beauty, and justice on a college campus. Oh yes, and they solve murders, or at least find themselves in the thick of the action. Think Nancy Drew meets Alfred Hitchcock at a party thrown by David Lynch, and you won’t be too far off… well, perhaps except for the David Lynch part. I put that in for you art film lovers.

Where did the inspiration for the stories come from? Maybe from decades of observing the study habits and mating rituals of college students. Maybe from forgetting to put on my tinfoil hat in the morning. Both the NSA and aliens have some explaining to do.

This will be my first JuNoWriMo, and I look forward to contributing to the group and helping to encourage others. Or I might decide to lob grenades filled with brownies and red wine, which I guess is encouragement for some, although my internist would disagree. Regardless, I plan to hold my head high and claim victory by the end of the month, even if I have to lie about my progress. Did I mention I am now a full-time creative? Or perhaps a full-time liar. It depends on your perspective.KacyCedarKey

I’m often found at RF Kacy (include the space) on the Book of Face and @RFKacy on the Chirping Bird platform. I pop up here and there in all kinds of forums, so say hello if you see me. Be sure to do it before the moderators realize I am there.

Good luck on all your projects, and until we meet at the great gathering (you know, in a real physical place), peace out!

  • Author email — Kacy@KazDigital.com
  • Facebook — RF Kacy
  • Twitter— RFKacy

How to Have a Successful JuNoWriMo, No Matter What!

Honorée Corder, author of twenty books (and counting!) kicks off our series of JuNoWriMo 2016 pep talks with a plan to make this month a successful one.

HonoreeCorderHeadshotCongratulations on your decision to embark on JuNoWriMo! Right now I am sure you are filled with the excitement that can only come with a shiny new project. Executed well, in 30 days you will be the proud owner of a completed manuscript. And right now, you might be feeling invincible… as though not a thing or person could possibly stand in your way or take you off course.

I do hope that is the case, but I know better than almost anyone that just about the moment I 100% commit to something, at almost exactly that same moment the universe conspires to test me. (How rude!)

I want to help you get from June 1 to June 30 with finesse, style, and ease. Let’s go ahead and set you up for super success so that no matter what happens you will crush it!

Number one: the goal. If you’re like me the goal isn’t just 50,000 words, you have a story or outline already percolating in the back of your mind that comes with a title or even an ending. But on the off-chance you don’t have a specific goal, go ahead and set one. Something like: Complete 50,000 words toward my manuscript by June 30th, or, Finish Game On! The Ultimate Guide to Getting All You Want from Your Life and Your Work (my current WIP).

Write your goal on a 3×5 card and look at it twice a day: right when you wake up, and right before you go to sleep.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Shawn Contant

Meet some of your fellow June WriMos in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June. 

Hey there, everyone.  I’m Shawn.

I’ve been writing on and off since I was twelve. My first story ideas came from dreams I had. As I got older, books I read and things I learned became my inspirations. I typically write in the Christian, sci-fi, and young adult genres, sometimes mixing them together where I can.

I’m a life-long Trekkie so it’s probably no surprise my most major inspiration was Star Trek. The episode “MirI”, from the 1960s series, has fueled my imagination and muse for almost a decade. The episode features a world where adults have died off, leaving teens and children behind. I wondered what might happen if that happened in our world. That thought has led to what I call the After Adults series, which follows the lives of several young men and women after the death of all adults, and how their actions affect the reconstruction effort.

I use writing as a way to explore dilemmas of the heart and mind. To paraphrase William Faulkner, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” I’m also a fan of taking tropes and pushing them to their logical ends. Writing is a fun challenge and a personal journey. Words are really neat, not just in matters of etymology, but also the images and feelings they can evoke in the reader’s mind. Orson Scott Card is an inspiration because of his powerful characters and compelling plot in Ender’s Game. Another favorite of mine is George R.R. Martin because of the sheer detail and scope in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and the conflicted, morally grey characters he writes.

JuNoWriMo 2016

Tentatively titled A New Hero, my JuNoWriMo 2016 story is set in the same universe as my two NaNoWriMo novels The Red Eye Effect and The Ragged Platoon. However, it is set much earlier, just after the pandemic that wiped out everyone over the age of 18. Alex Caffey hides in the outskirts of his hometown as gang violence spikes. A group calling itself the Order of Friendship moves in, claiming to be interested in restoring order to the world. He agrees to work with them, first as a mechanic, then as a soldier in the Knights of Friends. For the next year, Alex travels with his fellow fighters defending those who can’t defend themselves, falling in love, and trying to figure out where he stands in the world. It’s an adventure for him externally and internally, one he never imagined taking.

I already have some of the story written, but much of it remains to be developed. I am dedicating this June to completing the novel, then moving on to others in the same world that help tell the larger story of survival, power, and social order.

Connect with Shawn:

Facebook | Twitter | Website

 

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Terrelle Shelton

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Wednesday and Friday through June. 

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BackgroundTerrelle

I became a writer shortly after reading the Twilight Series. I began writing my very first story back in 2010. It was a story centered around an ancient blood feud between two rival clans from the 1800’s set in current day Atlanta, Georgia.  I never finished writing this story because I lost the notebook I was writing it in.  About two years later, I was watching an anime known as Fairy Tale and suddenly I got the urge to write again. This time I came up with a whole new story centered around two men who decided to work together to take over the world that they were in. This led to betrayal and all sorts of things. I started working on this book back in 2013, which I finished in my first ever NaNoWriMo. It was a lot of hard work, but I loved every minute of it. I write in the fantasy genre.

Terrelle’s JuNoWriMo Plans

For JuNoWriMo, I will be working on a brand new series called, Dragons And Gods. There isn’t much to say about this book at the moment because I am still working on the blueprint,  but what I can tell you is that is that one of the dragons named Dias will attempt to take over the realm of the Gods, which will spark a war between both realms. How will it play out you may ask? Well you’ll just have to wait!   I didn’t write anything before June started, but I did work on a blueprint so I had an idea of where I wanted to go. I plan on meeting the 50k mark during JuNoWriMo, but my ultimate goal is either going to be 60 to 65k.

Connect with Terrelle: 

Facebook | Twitter

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Kalen Williamson

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Wednesday and Friday through June.

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Background Kalen

I always wrote growing up, and enjoyed writing whether it was a novel, an English project, or a poem inspired by my tumultuous emotions. I started writing as a career a few years ago. I am publishing an anthology, called Tapestry, this summer. It has various sized stories from flash fiction to novelettes linked together as an emotional journey.

Kalen’s JuNoWriMo Plans

This June is going to be hectic for me; it’s my first JuNoWriMo and I am going to be a sprint leader! I want to complete the finishing touches on Tapestry, and I plan to continue work on a novel I started a few years ago. While Tapestry is literary fiction, my novel is going to be Christmas, fantasy fiction. It’s about a boy who has learns the origins and meaning of Christmas when someone in the North Pole notices his bad behavior. There are some dark parts in the story, so i’m not sure if I would put it in the Young Adults or Adult category. I’ll have a better idea when I finish writing it.

There’s no title yet. I’ve been playing around with different ideas, but none of them seem perfect. I don’t recall if anything in particular inspired me to start down this path, but I love Christmas and stories about Santa Claus and how he came to be. Since it is a holiday story, I hope to have it written, edited, and polished in time for the holidays. I want to get most of the first draft completed during JuNoWriMo; however, the whole novel might take until the end of July.  I have not started a Pinterest board for this project yet, but I enjoy making them and will probably end up with one by the end of the project.

Connect with Kalen: 

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Blog

Pep Talk Week 4: Do you ever get stuck?

Stacy Claflin, author of four book series, shares with us her advice on what to do when you get stuck in the midst of your novel–just the Pep Talk we need for the middle of JuNoWriMo!

InspirationDo you ever get stuck at some point when writing a novel? Sometimes that middle-ish point can be the most challenging. The beginning is fun because you come in with all these ideas, and it’s exciting. The end is full action, and the writing sometimes seems to happen by itself.

Really, though, any point of the story can give the writer problems.

Feeling stuck

When you’re in the thick of it and things slow down, a lot of different variables can leave you feeling stumped. Maybe the story has gone in a different direction than you planned. You’re not sure if you need to map out a different ending or maybe look for a new path to the end you have in mind.

Or it could be that the story is right where it should be, but doubt has crept in. You know what I mean. Do I have enough material to get to the end and have it long enough? Is this as good as it could be? What if it sucks and I just can’t see it? Or maybe you feel like it is horrible, and you don’t know whether to go on or not.

That valley between the exciting peaks can feel like a wasteland. 

The good news is that it doesn’t need to stay that way. There are a lot of things you can do to turn everything around and get excited about writing again. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 4: Do you ever get stuck?”

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Eden Mabee

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Wednesday and Friday through June. 

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Hi!
Hi!

A ‘Jane of All Trades’ in a long line that has included farmers, slack-rope walkers, mechanics, forgers, teachers, horse-thieves, and writers, featured author Eden Mabee shares stories of a universe filled with magic, tech and political intrigue. She’s a self-proclaimed WriMo addict and photography dabbler.


Hi! Nice to meet you all. Welcome to JuNoWriMo, my fourth year of this challenge. It’s a great bunch of people to write with. Come join us for Twitter sprints and chatting about craft via our Facebook page.

For this year’s JuNoWriMo, I’m continuing to work on my Swan Song Series, a set of five planned novels, and will be placing the majority of my emphasis on the first book, Courting the Swan Song. The series crosses genre boundaries somewhat, but the first two books hold to the “Coming of Age” fantasy form. Here’s a quick overview of Courting:

Only child and heir, Alanii Vestimiir has decided that his father’s plans for him are shortsighted and suffocating. He’s off to become a soldier and serve the crown in the way he sees fit. In his attempt, he runs afoul not of only his father, but two powerful noble houses who stand poised to tear down his family and possibly involve their country in a war that might destroy them all.

Along the way, Alanii has to deal with all sorts of normal teenage problems: squabbles with friends, pretty girls, perfectionist teachers, etc.–who said growing up was easy?

Many elements went into CTSS. In writing my space opera, Release, secondary characters such as Alanii founded stories of their own, demanding to show how the brutal universe of the story come about through more than their actions. Before that, my best friend and I wrote fanfiction together, where I learned elements of story writing and developed the seeds of the Swan Song Series. Another MC, Atyr (book 2, Singer of the Swan Song), came out of those stories grew to be her own person as my vision of their universe became clearer.

Since CTSS comes out of writing I’ve been doing since high school, one would have thought I should be further along in the story. I am, and I’m not. A ‘finished’ version, that is very much a First Novel, has been duly been appointed a drawer where it can spend its days peacefully, while I scavenge its corpse for useful tidbits. Integrating elements from this very rough work has meant that I work on the first three books of the series concurrently (books 1 & 2 happen during the same in-world time, and book 3 follows soon after, starting where the original book began). However, this June, finishing a complete draft of CTSS is the plan.

Come visit me on my writing blog Many Worlds From Many Minds, or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.