Monday, July 13, 2015

Because I love ghost stories

So, for the past year you may or may not have heard me obsessively talking about Jefferson Parrish and Sadie, and ghosts and all things creepy. I mean... for the most part that's just me. If I'm not talking about ghosts you might want to make sure a body snatcher hasn't come along and stolen me. But there's actually a reason for all of this.

This year, I'll be finishing up two different series. In April I finished off the Sugar Coated Trilogy (which I'll silently shed a tear for since those characters are now gone from my writing agenda).



And in December I'll finish up the June Series when the fourth and final book comes out. (Another silent tear because it's JUNE! How can I not write her anymore?)



But it's okay. Because what better way to fill that void, than with a new series? And a series that lets me pretend it's the best month of the year (October) all year long? So at long last, I am VERY excited to finally announce that September 28th I'll be releasing the first book in my Parrish Chronicles (because "Chronicles" sounds way more ghost-y and hardcore than series)! I have absolutely no idea how many books will be in the series because I intend to write it so that you can pick up any book in the series and not be lost. Of course there's an overarching story throughout the books, and character development that means it's best to start at the beginning. But each story has it's own unique plot. So this thing can go on for as long as I love ghost stories (so forever... probably). At the moment I have 4 books planned out, but let's be honest, it'll probably go way beyond that.

So let's tell you a bit about the book AND show you the eerie cover!

My little gang of misfits are twenty-somethings out of college who all just happen to be ghost hunters... because that's totally normal. Right? They're tight on cash and live in Portland and REALLY need to find a way to not be evicted from their adjacent apartments.






This is Sadie Smith. Sister of Michigan Smith (who will have her own non-related book one of these days).


Sadie lives in Oregon with the rest of the gang. She's Cuban and feisty and tomboy-ish with her cute little pixie cut and loves the paranormal but has a huge problem.

This boy.

Jefferson Parrish. He's the self-proclaimed leader of  this little ghost hunting group. He's basically a Tim Burton character come to life. He and his cousin Deacon Parrish (below) are British... and cousins... and tall... but that's about where the similarities end. Jefferson is passionate about ghost hunting. Unfortunately he's also passionate about Sadie. And he's not really the subtle type. In fact he likes to walk a fine line between romantic and just plain creepy. But it's not his fault. The boy loves ghosts. How could he be normal? Oh and did I mention? Jefferson is Hayden Temple's cousin... and he sort of HATES Hayden because he thinks he's a perfect Golden Boy.



So there's some nice family conflict for you. But it also means Hayden and Isla will be popping in and out of the series :)

And then, of course, we have Jefferson's cousin, Deacon Parrish.


He's scared of women, socially awkward, and never serious. His default is to either talk about video games or try to make everything into a joke. And he just happens to be in love with...

This girl.

Brighton Gilbert. She's a bit of a walking contradiction. She looks like a cheerleader turned super model. But she has asthma, anxiety, panic attacks, and about every phobia and social disorder you could ever possibly imagine. It's sort of amazing she even functions like a normal human being on most days. And being part of a ghost hunting group would seem like a really bad idea, except for the fact that she's the technology genius in the group. So she doesn't investigate. She just manages the equipment from the safety of the van. She also happens to be cousins with the rest of the blondes. You know... Amelia, Reagan, and Isla.



So these little weirdos who have stolen my heart, will take us on our ghost hunting adventures, but each of them have a little something more to them than meets the eye. None of these things will actually be stated outright in the first book. But if you can figure out what each of them are before I tell you in the following books, you'll get 100 Science Collaboration Points!


Anyway, enough novel-length reading. Let's see the cover!

...........





Like now.




........................................

Or maybe now!




Bam!

Cover.

I sort of love it. Which might be conceited because I made it. But I don't care. I'm a little Jefferson-level-obsessive when it comes to this series. And that's Sadie on the cover... in case anyone cares... which maybe you don't because you haven't read it yet. But I do :) Every cover will feature a different character, and they'll all follow the creepy watercolor motif.

Seriously guys. This is the series I write when I want to make sure writing is fun for me. I mean... it's always fun. But nothing makes it more fun than these characters.

I'll be posting the first few chapters up on Wattpad in the coming weeks, so if you're interested, you can find it there!

So there you have it. I'm in LOVE with this series and I can't wait for you to meet them. Because I love them and I think you might too... hopefully. And even though Jefferson sounds crazy... just wait. I promise he's not.

Also, I definitely modeled Jefferson Parrish after Mika. Who just happens to have a creepy Tim-Burton-esqu music video. So enjoy a singing version of Jefferson Parrish :)



Here's the official blurb-y thing.

Sadie Smith was absolutely certain of three things: (1) ghosts were indisputably real; (2) she and her three friends were some of the best (if not the most . . . conventional) ghost hunters in Oregon; (3) her teammate Jefferson Parrish was always the scariest thing in the room—even during a paranormal investigation. In a face-off between supernatural beings and Jefferson's lack of social skills and Tim Burton-esque vibe, there really was no contest.


But ghosts—unsurprisingly—aren't great at helping to pay the rent, so when Sadie and her friends receive an anonymous letter from a mysterious client offering an undisclosed sum of money in return for finding the link between four haunted locations, it's an easy sell. Going on blind faith and a few vague instructions on how to reach their first location, the ghost hunters set out only to see clue after clue falling into place. As they piece together a sinister mystery reaching back to the 1800s, the group starts to wonder if they're in over their heads, or if they're on the path to unraveling a love story that was buried long ago—and one that should stay buried.

And here's where you can add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

Until next time!

Shannen

*This probably doesn't need to be stated because who's going to sue me for my two laser turret action figures and a bowl of cereal? But The pictures I posted are my dream cast... not... you know... affiliated in any way with Parrish.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Things I learned from #Storymakers15

I'm going to just come right out and say it. I've never been to a writing conference. I wrote my first book "The Breakup Artist" thinking it would never see the light of day and until it was published by Cedar Fort and Jolene Perry wrote me an e-mail where she introduced herself, I didn't have any idea there was such a thing as a writing community.

Even after writing more and more books and even after meeting more authors in Utah and making more friends, I still didn't quite understand what a writing community was. Once I joined a critique group I heard a lot about the Utah writing community, but I don't know that I really understood it.

It wasn't until these past three days that I spent at the LDS Storymakers Conference that I realized that this place doesn't have a writing community, it has a WRITING COMMUNITY.

Holy.

Cow.

So here's what I learned in those three glorious days.


Don't go into a Publication Primer group you're supposed to lead telling yourself "I'm SO not qualified to do this", because your group will inevitably be awesome.

Authors can get DOWN


Everyone needs that one friend who will sit at the back of the class with them and make Pretty Little Liars references.


Critique groups might be even more awesome/weird than X-Men




 Always watch your back, because Charlie Pulsipher might suddenly run at you like a dinosaur

 Don't bother trying to look fancy. You'll just be an exhausted, psychotic mess by the end of all of this




Always keep your cool when you're about to meet James Dashner, and try not to say things like, "I've now touched someone who's touched Dylan O'Brien" because that just comes off as creepy 

 If you're going to take a group picture, make sure you treat it like a Pitch Perfect poster


Read other people's books. Because they're fantastic


Don't creepily take a picture of someone you spot buying your book... because you'll find out later that they were in your Pub Primer group and you'll have to come clean.

 Always listen to Mindy Holt. She is the Oracle of all awesomeness


Weasel your way into the boys club if you can (I'm looking at you Frank Cole, Tyler Whitesides, James Dashner, Charlie Pulsipher, and others)


Sign someone's arm, because it'll make you feel like a rockstar

Take epic pictures, just because you can


And track down agents you thought looked like a certain character from a TV show and take pictures with them, because there's no faster way to kill your career :)


Although I mostly pranced around and took pictures, I actually did learn valuable things that I probably should have learned before releasing 9 books into the world. Mostly querying and pitching.... things.... But I did learn that I can describe Parrish as:

What would happen if Tim Burton turned Scooby Doo into a twisted love story.

Oh how I love that story. Can't wait until October when you guys can love that little weirdo as much as I do.



So there you have it.

Storymakers firmly has my vote.

Until next time,

<3 p="">
Shannen

Friday, April 17, 2015

Welcoming book baby # 9 into the world

Happy launch day to Silver Lined!



This is sort of significant for me because this book marks my first time ever wrapping up a series, which is good because it'll be happening again shortly in December when I release the last June book!

(Insert my eternal sadness here)

I've been excited/terrified to release this book because... how do I say this without sounding like an idiot? The whole series has been leading up to this book? I know that's an obvious thing to say about the last book in a trilogy, but I've had things planned since the beginning of this series that finally come to fruition in this book and I'm sort of dying to see what everyone thinks of all the things that happen. And if you all hate me or love me.



Because there are A LOT of things.

So good luck traversing them. And once you come out on the other side, we can have a choffy (they're brewed cocoa beans and they're AMAZING) together and talk about all the little reasons you should have seen all the secrets coming :)

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Shannen

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Publisher, I'm sorry for the things I did while on deadline

Now that I'm basically out of the woods (as T-Swift would say) with my deadline for "Silver Lined" I feel like this open letter of apology to my publisher is safe to post. I mean... don't get me wrong, I had to kill myself to get this book written and edited in time for its release... but when I wasn't killing myself, I was procrastinating. Big time. And so, without further adieu, a letter to my publisher.

Dear Publisher,

I'm sorry for the things I did while I was on a deadline to get "Silver Lined" written. Things like:

Rearranging my closet to look like "The Paradise".


Actually WATCHING "The Paradise" and shipping Denise and Moray, hardcore.




Watching an entire season of Pretty Little Liars.


Then proceeding to make my own Stiles-esque clue board about who "A" is. (PS, I totally cracked that nut!).



Trying to learn Spanish (again).


And then giving up and admitting I really want to learn French but probably never will because seriously? Why is nothing said the way it's written? Come on France, get your crap together.




Teaching myself to learn a few songs on my new Ukulele (his name is Yonezy, by the way. See video for details).



Taking almost two hours out of my day to complete the AWFUL SilverWastes jumping puzzle with my trusty guildmates Dan, Monica, and Hope.



Completing nearly 80 levels worth of personal story in Guild Wars 2 (PS, Trahearne and I are totally tight (even though he's not a real person or whatever). We basically saved the world together. NDB).

(Epic dragon thing I killed)

(Trahearne saying I'm the best ever)

Designing book covers for my other books, Parrish and Beyond Lyra.

You totally thought I was going to post a picture of them, didn't you? Nice try. I promise to reveal them soon!



Writing about 5,000 #CreepyJeffersonTexts with Ashlee to further delve into the weird inner workings of Jefferson Parrish's mind so I can write him properly.


Writing basically ALL of Beyond Lyra (okay more like 3/4 of the book) when I should have been working on Silver Lined (BL is SO much easier to write. It's not my fault Dystopian requires so much attention!).



And just generally having panic attacks when I sat down to write this book because I wanted so badly to do it justice and I was terrified I'd mess it all up. But I think we're good, people. I was able to actually write the things I meant to write and I'm really going to miss writing these characters. Now I'll just have to write my own personal side-stories for them whenever I miss them :) I don't know that I'll ever have another character as messed up and fantastically fun to write as Eris.



So please accept this former apology, Publisher. I promise that 'bidness' actually got done by the time it needed to!

Until next time,

Shannen

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Did I mention Silver Lined has a cover? Because it does :)

Behold! The beauty of Rue Volley's design!!!






The Trilogy will finally be completed this April!


Happy Birthday Under Zenith!

So my friend Katie pointed out to me that my book baby Under Zenith is turning 1 today! To think, that ornery British man and his stubborn Southern counterpart have been getting on each other's nerves for an entire year now! And of course they spurred a sequel out of me AND a whole twisted, tragic, interesting back story for the gang in my Parrish book series. Heck, they even managed to weasle their way into the Parrish books just because I couldn't let them go.




So happy birthday Hayden and Isla (heretofore known as Hayla according to Ashlee Wille who gave them a celebrity couple name)! I hope you never stop bothering each other and I can't wait to share your sequel with the world in July!


Here's a lovely picture for you :)




And the two people in this world who were destined to play Hayla... one day.... like right now please.




And last but not least, some Hayla love:

            “You almost did a good job out there,” he answered, finally managing to get a fire going. “Almost.”
            “Oh, well I’m sorry I didn’t live up to your high standards of zombie dodging.”
            “Maybe the next task will go a bit smoother,” he said with a shrug.
            I really didn’t like this guy.
            “What kind of place is this? What kind of afterlife makes you run away from zombies under the guise of completing an agility test?” I asked, sitting on an old wooden rocking chair and disturbing a few spiders that had been resting in the woodwork.
            “Guise? Fancy word for someone so…,” he let his words trail off.
            “What?” I asked threateningly, daring him to finish his sentence.
            “Southern.”
            “I graduated from a well-respected university yesterday, thank you very much,” I informed him.
            “With a degree in vocal performance,” he pointed out. “Then you got yourself killed.”
            “Oh yeah? Well what did you major in? How to piss people off?”
            “Yeah, that was my major,” he deadpanned. “You know what your problem is?”
            “I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”
            “You worry about the wrong things. All of your anxiety is completely misplaced,” he said, his British accent getting thicker now that he was upset.
            I wished I didn’t find the accent so alluring. Though I’d never admit that to Hayden. He didn’t need a reason for his ego to be inflated any more than it already was.
            “How is it misplaced?” I asked, trying to keep my cool as he took a seat on the moldy bed across from me.
            “You’re dead, Isla,” he said simply, as if that should explain his cryptic opinions. “You died last night and you haven’t said one word about being sad or upset. All you’ve done is worry about your family’s finances, or question my chivalry, or figure out some new and interesting way to make me want to throw you off a cliff.”
            He shook his head in disbelief and threw me an eye roll.
            “Aren’t you the least bit upset that your entire life was stolen away from you at such a young age?”

            I didn’t say anything to him, not wanting to get into something so personal with someone so unfeeling. Of course I was upset, but as long as I didn’t explore those feelings, it would almost be like they weren’t real.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why book inspired art is my favorite

I don't think it's any secret that I spend too much time on Tumblr and DeviantArt fangirling over various things. But my favorite thing to fangirl over? Fan art. Or just any gif/photo manipulation/art made about a book/TV show/movie. I'm using a lot of slashes in this post. I'll try to stop. Anyway, someone taking time to read a book and create their own interpretation of it in another form is probably the coolest thing ever (as is evident by this AWESOME Midnighters picture):


Or even the Midnighters picture I forced my friends/family to pose in and take with me because I was SO obsessed with those books:


So because of this love I have for book-inspired-art, I decided to post the things that just make me happy inside that people (let's be honest it's mostly Jackie making them as presents for me) have made about my characters. Because I just can't think of a single cooler thing than having someone read a character you poured your heart into, and being inspired to make something because of it that's their own personal interpretation. And I'd like to point out that this is a post appreciating the talent of these people.... not me thinking I'm some awesome capital "C" Creator. :)

So without further ado, here are ALL THE THINGS!

The Breakup Artist:
The first two are by this lovely lady on Deviant Art. And the clay sculptures are, of course, by the amazing Jackie Hicken!



Under Zenith:
These are all from Jackie :) Although the painting she comissioned.



The June Books:

Sugar Coated:
We get a clay sculpture by Jackie AND a song written by Courtney Hansen about "Sugar Coated". How freaking awesome is she for writing and performing this song?








Pwned:



So there you have it! Again, I swear this isn't a "Look at how awesome I am because I wrote these books" post. It's a "Look how awesome these artists are and how absolutely stupid-happy it makes me to see my characters in somebody else's interpretation!"

Gosh I love these.

Until Next Time,

Shannen