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Where and What Wednesday: Win BOOKS

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Last Wednesday I shared great sites for writing prompts for aspiring authors so this Wednesday I wanted to provide a quick list for readers. The following are a few websites very well known and respected for giving away books to lucky winners. This is far from a comprehensive list (and really doesn't include bloggers) but it's a quick start.

Let's begin with one I adore! Every week a new book and a different author is spotlighted on the popular Free Book Friday website. New books show up on the website on Saturday and winners use a Raffle Copter to enter, the winner being selected on the Friday immediately following. FreeBookFriday.com includes exclusive interviews and other cool things for readers and if you're a blogger, this is a great spot to jump in and check out some books and authors you might want to do a Waiting-on-Wednesday post about, or maybe interview!

FreeBookFriday.com has grown tremendously since its start several years ago and now includes different subsites for teens/YA (http://teens.freebookfriday.com), fiction
(http://fiction.freebookfriday.com/), non-fiction (http://non-fiction.freebookfriday.com/), and indie novels (http://indie.freebookfriday.com/). Usually there are multiple copies offered up of each novel so there are multiple winners of each genre. So every week readers have great chances to win terrific new books!

Another respected site created by great people where you can win novels on is Fresh Fiction. The site's full of great stuff about fiction authors and there are blogs and columns and reviews. They list the month's contests in a handy format and you can click through the links to learn more. http://freshfiction.com/contests.php

Bitten by Books is a cool site with book reviews, author interviews and contests that focuses on paranormal/fantasy fiction and lists a link under "Great Events This Week at Bitten by Books" that includes book giveaways and other author-related contests for all sorts of great things. Check out BittenByBooks.com!

Two other sites that regularly give away novels of many genres to readers who enter to win--the idea being that readers will read and objectively and maturely review the books they receive. You must have a free membership with them, but the perks are cool--these (especially goodreads) are all about community, connection, and participation.

These sites include:

So get on out there, read, enter, win, and get to read some more! :) Good luck!

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 January 2013 08:47 )

Music, Madness, and Mythos in WEATHER WITCH

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It's Monday and yes, I'm blogging.

In the WEATHER WITCH series I'm combining things that I feel naturally fit together, mainly mythos and music. You all know by now that WEATHER WITCH is much different from the 13 TO LIFE series. It deals with a historically-inspired setting (1840s, America's East Coast), a deep, sort of steampunk world, and a lot of darkness and conspiracy. Okay, so the last bit is similar to the 13 TO LIFE series after all. I am a sucker for darkness and conspiracy.

And one of my favorite themes shows up again--it seems I can't quite put to rest yet the idea of what separates man from monster.

Some of the music in WEATHER WITCH is truly traditional--or close to authentically traditional. Those of you who have delved into ballads and the evolution of music know that words shift and change and tunes are altered the same way traditional tales evolve differently in different places.

Such is the joy and bane of the oral tradition.

The music that makes up the WEATHER WITCH world is partly traditional and driven by myth, legend, and lore, and partly created thanks to the generous talents of singer/songwriter Wade Mulvihill who has been researching the styles of things I want, crafting words and music to fit the story's needs and handing his results over to me freely. I am very grateful for his help.

As far as mythos...I drag out a couple "monsters" from traditional myth, tweak them to serve the story's needs and set my human population to war with one particular species.

This era in history was a time when we were desperate to conquer the frontier and tame the wilderness--and that is reflected in some ways in the WEATHER WITCH series as well.

So where does madness come in, Shannon? Great question. For all the strange creatures and odd trappings of the setting, at the heart of this series is humanity. Men and women with goals all their own--goals that drive them and sometimes control them. That is madness to me--the need for something that is so strong you do things you wish you hadn't or things you know you shouldn't. Madness is saying, "I have no choice," or "It's beyond my control," and allowing yourself to go down the path such thinking allows.

Last Updated ( Monday, 07 January 2013 08:58 )

Weekend Writing Warrior: Conquering the Agent Query Letter

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It's Friday and, as I'm trying to be better about blogging, I wanted to share a quick resource for you, dear writers.

When I do my workshops or just sit down and chat with aspiring authors, one of the most confusing (and daunting) moments we all face is writing a query letter to land an agent.

Published authors frequently tell you that you need an agent--that you should want an agent. For many major publishing houses you do still need an agent (but there are lots of options out there that do not require such and I think the tide will continue to change with so much indie publishing).

FIRST: Make sure you REALLY know your story and can summarize it into an "elevator pitch" or "logline". Maybe you don't have it fully written--hopefully you do. And polished! It needs to be polished because if an agent asks to see the first 10, 50, 100 or--yes, even--the whole blessed thing--you need it to SHINE.

SECOND: Do your research. Know who you want as an agent (there are books available that you might be able to get through your local library that will give you gobs of useful literary agent info--check them out)! Look at books that are like yours (Oh, I know--yours isn't like any other book out there--you're an original. Yes, aren't we all!) and check their Acknowledgments because it's very possible they name their agent.

THIRD: Don't be cocky. Seriously.

FOURTH: Fulfill any expectations (follow directions!)the agent may have thanks to the research you've already done about them--be smart!

FIFTH: Before you press Send make sure you have no typos. Make sure your contact info is correct and readily available. And, please, please, address the agent you are courting appropriately--deals have gone no further because of agents being addressed by the wrong gender or by the wrong name entirely

Now, if you're really ready to try and hook a literary agent, the following link will give you great information (and very specific links to examples) so you can start on the way to constructing a firm query.

Make sure you notice the things they have in common and always keep it simple, short and clear.

"Successful Query Letters for Literary Agents" through GalleyCat.

Good luck out there, gang!


Last Updated ( Friday, 04 January 2013 09:05 )

Welcome to 2013: What and Where Wednesdays

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Happy 2013!

This year's another big one for me with the first two novels in the WEATHER WITCH series (June 25 and December through St. Martin's Press) and another charity anthology (VERY SUPERSTITIOUS through Month 9 Books) releasing. And this year, like every year, I intend to write more and blog more. We'll see how I do! To kick things off, I'm aiming at posting a "What and Where Wednesday" feature aimed mainly at readers, writers (of prose, poetry and music) and curious onlookers.

Let's kick off the year with What and Where to Write: PROMPTS! These are just a few places I've checked out before--it's faaaaar from a comprehensive list but if you want to shake up that sexy brain of yours, here are some places that may help you do it!

What and Where to Write: PROMPTS

Sunday Scribblings

Three Word Wednesday

Author and Speaker Jo Knowles
http://www.joknowles.com/prompts.htm (Archived prompts, but every Monday Jo posts a new one under the "Monday Morning Warm-Up" tag.)

Writers Digest

The Writer Magazine

So get writing! And Happy New Year!


The Next Big Thing Meme!

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The lovely Laura Kreitzer tagged me, asking me to participate in The Next Big Thing Meme. As I tend to do, I jumped right in and said YES! And then reality hit me and I realized: Holy heck, Shannon, you have book 2 of the WEATHER WITCH series due the 15th, a short story for Month9 Book's new charity anthology (supporting the SPCA) due the 15th, a trip to Albany to see The Hobbit with friends the 16th, and WEATHER WITCH 1st Pass Pages due the 18th. And you are woefully behind. WOEFULLY! But I'm so glad Laura thought of me and I said I'd do it (and didn't forget) so I'm doing it!

Here's what I was asked!

What is the working title of your next book?

The title of my wip is Weather Witch 2: Stealing Thunder (but the odds they'll keep it--who knows).

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea is the result of the naturally evolving sequel to WEATHER WITCH, my debut steampunk novel (launching June 25, 2013).

What genre does your book fall under?

Steampunk –sort of... Really? Stormpunk.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow! I love and hate this question... The sad thing is, I have no idea who I’d choose and, honestly, I cam see this series being much more easily interpreted for film than 13 to Life.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Published by St. Martin’s Press and represented by Curtis Literary Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took about a month to write the first draft. Some days I'd write 10.000 words and some days none.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Parasol Protectorate series, but only in a very vague way. My series is darker and my protagonists are younger. And although I say “steampunk” it potentially is a genre all its own... Really I'm calling the genre stormpunk.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Several things inspired this series--music, history, the power of storms and weather. History inspired me quite a but as did Orson Scott Card's Red Prophet series. I think Red Prophet taught me it was okay to diverge from history in a creative way and add paranormal elements into the mix. And boy, did I!

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think we all have days we wish we could control the weather. Now imagine if that power existed and was used as a power source that ironically made those people wielding the power into the most desirable of slaves--because who ever controls the weather controls the economy, the food distribution, and transportation... Everything.


I tagged the following authors and they will be telling YOU about their works on the 19th of December. These are awesome ladies--very talented, clever and kind. Check them out and spread the literary love!

Jacqueline Houtman will be posting here: http://jjhoutman.livejournal.com/

Beth Fehlbaum

Mitzi Flyte

Charlotte Bennardo

Stacy Simonson

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 December 2012 21:02 )
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