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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Remember to Breathe Cause It'll Take Your Breath Away

My wonderful husband :)

Yes. I did just quote "Alligator Sky" to describe how I felt about my first book signing/launch party. Can I help it that Owl City is just that epic that he knows how I'm feeling?

This is Nate-la, who is actually a character in the book!

So if you hadn't guessed it yet, this post is ALL about my launch party because I finally have some pictures to post on this blog that have to do with my book and not just random pictures of cute kids I don't know.
Just signing away

Well, in true Camp fashion, Josh and I got a late start and the whole ride up to the launch party was full of Josh telling me to stop looking at the clock because we'd be fine... we ended up being there a half hour early by the way. So that's a good thing!
The books were actually pulled off the shelves for the signing, but we snapped a picture before they took them all down.

The bookstore had ordered 20 copies of the book, which I thought was a good idea since I couldn't shut up about the launch party and thought maybe quite a few people would come just to make me stop posting about it.


Little did I know we'd sell those 20 copies in the first hour, making the other hour a little awkward as I told people "Yes this is my book! Oh... um... you can't actually buy it though. But here's a bookmark if you'd like one!" Which, by the way, I was surprised by how many people who took my bookmarks said, "Hey you've cut your hair!" Apparently I need to get on that and tell it to start growing out faster so people can recognize me!

My lovely Cousin Charity who is my 'inside connection' in the store.

Now, I know I'm kind of an awkward person by nature so I was really worried about talking to people I don't know about my book. I thought I would sound too pushy or braggy if I told people about it (which is ridiculous since the point of a book signing is to tell people about your book). But miraculously, I must have used up all of my awkwardness on the ride to the bookstore because I was relatively normal! Well... except for the fact that when people weren't talking to me I was just smiling away, making my face hurt and I'm sure looking like a complete lunatic. But hey, better a happy lunatic than an angry one right?

Me and my mom :)

It was surprisingly easy to talk to complete strangers about something that was so personal to me. Maybe because my book means so much to me that's why it's easy to share. You feel a need for other people to love your book just as much as you. That and the fact that I had a chance for someone to win a Seagull Books giftcard made it easier :)

So to sum it up, the launch party was AMAZING. I no longer have to wonder what book signings are like, and I'm officially addicted to talking to book people. Because as a writer I HAVE to be a reader, and people coming to book signings are probably readers. So what better people to talk to than book people? We may be odd and prefer the company of books over other more popular activities... but we're kind of endearing aren't we?

So next time I have a signing, come and join me my fellow book people! Because I love you :)

Until next time,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breakup tip #... uhh... I lost track.

Ok ok ok. I know what you're thinking. "Shannen, I thought you were going to do a breakup tip for every day counting down to your launch party?" Well unfortunately working at a photo lab during Christmas means I'm working 9 or 11 hour days right now sooooooo the whole book marketing thing has been a bit difficult. So don't hate me :) If only our Christmas cards weren't so dang cute at that store!

That being said, here's breakup tip #next (since I'm too tired from work to figure out which number I'm on!)

Dragging things out is not, I repeat NOT helpful. Yes you may want to explain yourself but give the movie trailer version, not the "Lord of the Rings Extended Edition" version. That only makes it worse.

Don't forget the launch party will be this Saturday December 10th from 1-3pm at Seagull Books in Salt Lake City!

1720 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
View map
Toll-free: 800-999-6257
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm Sat 9am-6pm

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Breakup Tip #4

"The Breakup Artist" comes out tomorrow my friends! So grab your copy, snuggle up to it, and take a picture! No really. Take a picture and tag "The Breakup Artist" on Facebook because... well... I don't really have a good reason for you to do it other than I'd just love to see you guys with copies of the book! Consider it a Christmas present to me :)

Now for Breakup Tip #4: Don't break up with your boyfriend just because he likes to spend more time with Muppets than you. After he sings a few more songs he'll realize he loves you and wants to spend more time with you than with his brother Walter. You'll be fine.

Don't forget the launch party will be this Saturday December 10th from 1-3pm at Seagull Books in Salt Lake City!

1720 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
View map
Toll-free: 800-999-6257
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm Sat 9am-6pm

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breakup Tip #3

I know you were all just hanging on the edge of your seat for breakup tip number three right? So here it is!

Breakup Tip#3: If your date leaves you at the high school hockey game because he forgot about you DO NOT let him become your fiance. BREAK UP with him. Pam Beesley, I'm talking to you.

Don't forget the launch party will be this Saturday December 10th from 1-3pm at Seagull Books in Salt Lake City!

1720 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
View map
Toll-free: 800-999-6257
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm Sat 9am-6pm

Monday, December 5, 2011

Breakup Tip #2

Alrighty folks are you ready for the next one?

Here we go!

Breakup Tip #2: Phone, text, and e-mail breakups are NOT acceptable. Either do it in person or hire Amelia to do it for you.

Don't forget the launch party will be this Saturday December 10th from 1-3pm at Seagull Books in Salt Lake City!

1720 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
View map
Toll-free: 800-999-6257
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm Sat 9am-6pm

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We'll pretend it's Sunday

For the next seven days I'm going to post a breakup tip in honor of my upcoming book launch party! You know... just as a friendly, hopefully not annoying countdown to make sure none of you have an excuse to forget about it!

So today (which we're pretending is Sunday... although if I just way a few minutes to post this it will be) is tip number 1

Breakup tip #1:
"It's not you, it's me" is a perfectly acceptable excuse as to why you're 86ing the relationship.

Don't forget the launch party will be this Saturday December 10th from 1-3pm at Seagull Books in Salt Lake City!

1720 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
View map
Toll-free: 800-999-6257
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm Sat 9am-6pm

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with author Mandi Tucker Slack

So I just finished reading "The Alias" by Mandi Tucker Slack and it was WONDERFUL!

I met Mandi at a Cedar Fort Authors Marketing Workshop and let me just say, I'm SO glad I just happened to sit at her table. She is AMAZING! The woman is kind, funny, and so talented. I knew I had made an instant friend when I sat with her. So naturally I was VERY excited to read her book "The Alias" (which just so happens to be available to own here and here).

So first off before we get down to the interview, I have to say that I loved this book! I wouldn't have asked her if I could interview her if I didn't. It felt a lot like a murder mystery to me, which I love. It had the same kind of pacing and the last few chapters were so intense that it was actually painful to go back to work after reading it on my lunch break. I HAD to know what happened! But sadly for you guys, I won't tell you what happened. So you'll just have to read the book. Ha!

Anyway, back on track, here's a little about "The Alias" just to get you interested in how great this book is :)

Jacey Grayson is an average, young, divorced mother struggling to build a new life for her son, Blaze. But when the FBI discloses some disturbing information about her ex-husband, Jacey's life becomes anything but average. At the risk of losing her identity, her future, and her heart, Jacey and Blaze flee to Utah, hoping to hide and start over once again. But no matter how far she runs or who she pretends to be, her past is always lurking nearby, bringing old fears with it. Thrilling action and a suspenseful plot make this novel an edge-of-your-seat-read.

And without further ado, here's my interview with the lovely Mandi Tucker Slack:

1. What inspired you to write this story?
To be honest, the idea for The Alias came after visiting with a close friend who was pursuing a divorce at the time. She was leaving behind an emotionally and physically abusive husband. I was touched by the amount of strength and courage it would take to leave behind a marriage like that and build a new life for yourself and your child(ren).

2. Do you see any of yourself in Jacey?
Sometimes. I can relate to her need to be the best mother she can be and her desire to grow and change. I think any woman can relate in some ways to this character.

3. Do you pull from your real life experiences when you write? How much do they influence your writing?
Yes, I think life is the biggest influence for my stories. We all have trials and writing is often therapeutic. I can express the way I feel through words. My stories are completely fiction. I’m not married to a member of the mafia, or a serial killer. I’m not a struggling waitress or a scientific genius (all characters in my stories), but as a writer, I feel I can better connect with my characters if I’m writing about something I understand, even if I understand that only a little. In The Alias, the protagonist, Jacey, is fleeing from an abusive marriage. I’ve never been divorced, or abused, and my marriage is good, but we’ve had our share of problems and I know what it’s like to hurt, to feel afraid and to feel pain. We all feel these emotions at some point or another and I believe these feelings are an important aspect of writing.

4. I feel like this story focuses quite a bit on inner strength and self worth. Was that something you wanted to portray in Jacey? How did you focus on these attributes?
Yes, definitely. The main theme in The Alias is Jacey’s attempt to overcome years of abuse and develop a sense of who she really is. As the story progresses we see her desire to change and grow. She struggles with feelings of guilt and remorse for staying with her ex-husband so long and exposing her son to abuse, but as the story progresses we also see how she uses the lessons from her past to move forward into a more promising future.

5. What do you do to get in the writing state of mind? Is there some essential thing you need to sit down and start writing?
Each book I write has a certain mood. Right in the beginning, I always create a playlist. I pick songs and scores that match the mood of the plot. I always carry my ipod while writing.

6. If your book was made into a movie, what would the soundtrack be?
Well, I wrote the book listening to the Transformers soundtrack, believe it or not. But…I don’t think that would work for this novel.

7. What is your favorite thing about this story?
I loved Uncle Grant’s character. He was a conglomeration of my dad, both my grandfathers and my uncles. I grew up in a small town surrounded by cowboys who wore Stetsons and loved farm life. I had fun building his character.

8. Anything else you want to add?
Thanks a bunch for reading The Alias, and I appreciate the time you took to
interview me!

As you can see, Mandi is GREAT and so is her book so go pick up your copy of "The Alias" today!

Thanks Mandi!

And until next time,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Contests all over the place!

Ok... I realize that I'm the queen of misleading blog titles. When I say "all over the place" I actually mean just two contests at the moment. But there is a promise of more ways to win my book to come! Also, nothing has been solidly pinned down yet, I've got my agent working on it (though I use the term 'agent' loosely here because I'm referring to my friend Andrew Devey who is acting as my agent at the moment) but there's possibly a book launch party and book signing in our near future. Near future, here most closely meaning December 10th and 17th.

Location is TBA much like the Bluth family's fundraising cause.

Now, back to these contests I was speaking of. The first is a Goodreads contest! That's right folks, all you have to do is click "Enter To Win". How simple is that? Look! I'll even provide a link for you! The only way this could possibly be easier is if I came over to your house and clicked the button for you... which I am willing to do upon request... sort of.

Annnd the second contest is a Facebook page contest. This one is just as easy as the first! Simply 'like' The Breakup Artist's facebook page and you'll automatically be entered to win!

Simple simple simple.

Now keep in mind that both of these contests end the day before my book comes out! So get yourself clicking before December 7th or you're out of luck Sis! Until I have another contest that is. So you're more depleted in luck than anything else.

Also, check out the 'events' tab on the site. It's now actually got events on it! Sort of. It has tentative dates at least! And contests! So if you're ever sitting at home thinking "Hmm I wonder if there's some way to get a free copy of Shannen's book." Look no further than the events tab my friends!

Until Next Time,


Monday, October 31, 2011

Let's wrap up this month in style

So apparently art imitates life... or was it the other way around? Either way, tell me if you see any similarities between the pictures that are inspiring my sequel to June:

And my Halloween:

I can't help it. When I immerse myself, I don't mess around!

Happy Halloween friends!

Only one more month until the book release!

Remember your homework assignment to be excited? I'm still relying on you!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What to do when your characters stop listening to you

OK... I fully realize that the title of this blog makes me sound a little like Johnny Depp a la "Secret Window", which is never a good thing except for the attractiveness. (As a brief side note, Josh hates that most movies about writers depict them as being crazy murderous weirdos... so I try to steer clear of those so that he doesn't take my computer away).

Now back to what I was talking about... which I actually forgot what that was until I read the title again. So. What do I do when June is whining so much that even I don't like her? I'm the one who wrote her! If I don't like her no one else will.

Ready for me to be all over the map with my train of thought?

So I just finished writing my first June book about a month ago and I was going to fine tune my YA Fantasy book to start sending out... but then I just couldn't stop thinking about everything I wanted to write about June. So I started a sequel (which has actually turned into a trilogy) and I had all of these great ideas and I couldn't wait to finish it and then it happened.

June started whining... and then she whined some more... and now I can't get her to stop! It's terrible! So what should I do about it? I guess the obvious answer would be to tell her to get over it and just see how things play out. You know... go sit in the corner and all that?

And then I guess there's the EVEN more obvious little detail I've been ignoring. I WROTE HER. I should be able to control my own character... but for those of you out there who write you know it's easier said than done... or maybe you don't know that and I really am just a crazy person.... which would be bad...

But I digress.

I'm attempting to make June less whiny and more likable so she doesn't end up like a certain popular fiction character who whines endlessly and yet is still loved by every single person in her school. This may be fiction but lets be realistic here.

So I'll stop being Rainy and start being Shooter... wait... that's actually a really bad example of what I'm trying to say. What I mean is... I'll stop letting my characters run rampant until they ruin my story and actually sit them down (in my head of course) and say "Hey I wrote you, so stop whining because I made you more likeable than that!"

Wish me luck


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interview with Jolene Perry author of "The Next Door Boys"

Jolene Perry got in touch with me a few months ago via e-mail just because we're both Cedar Fort authors. I thought I'd start off with that to show just how awesome this girl is. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say someone is really warm, friendly, and epic when I've only spoken to them through e-mail... but I don't really care. I'm going to say it anyway!

Jolene was nice enough to send me an ARC of her book "The Next Door Boys" and I must admit, once I started reading it I couldn't stop. The story just grabbed me!

I feel like before I write this review I should mention that this is the first LDS fiction novel I’ve ever read. When I first started reading it I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was surprised by the fact that prayers were written down and seeing someone living a life following the same beliefs I do was unusual for me. It was definitely a different feel from the fiction I normally read. That being said, I LOVED it. I didn’t feel like it was so focused on Leigh’s religion that non-LDS people couldn’t understand or enjoy it. I loved the compassion and understanding that you can tell went into writing this book. It’s obvious when a writer loves her characters and Jolene Perry proves that. You love Leigh and the others because you can see the heart that was put into them by Jolene. It was funny, emotional, and real. I would recommend this book to anyone! Young, old, LDS, Catholic. You name it, I’d say ‘Hey you should read this awesome book called The Next Door Boys’.

I was lucky enough to do an interview with Jolene about her book and writing in general. But before you enjoy hearing a little about Jolene, here's a little about her book (Available October 8th)... By the way, did I mention that if you comment on this post you'll automatically be entered to win either a $35 gift card to Amazon or your very own brand spankin new copy of "The Next Door Boys"? Well consider it mentioned!

The Next Door Boys

Leigh Tressman has been known as a lot of things – the girl who sings, the girl who sews, Jaron’s little sister, and last year, the girl with cancer. With her body still recovering from the cancer treatments, she’s determined to be independent and convinces her parents to let her follow her overprotective brother, Jaron, to BYU.

With an ever expanding line of young men ready to be in love with her – not to mention physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas – Leigh almost misses the opportunity to be with the man who has been quietly falling in love with her since they met. The Next Door Boys proves that even with (or maybe in spite of) independence, love can be found in comfortable, but delightful places.

An Interview with Jolene

  1. What inspired you to write this story?

I read Ally Condie’s Being Sixteen. That was my first LDS fiction. And I was like, cool. A REAL story that felt like it was about REAL, imperfect people, and living with the beliefs that I do. I wanna do that.

"The Next Door Boys" started as a comedy about a girl who goes to college determined not to get involved with any guys, and has guys who like her. Then as I thought about what made her SO fiercely independent (and a good friend of mine got cancer) it turned into something different. Besides, I’m much better at writing emotion than comedy.

  1. Do you see any of yourself in Leigh?

I love the silly, impetuous side of Leigh. That’s very much like me, or how I can be. I overdress for church, so I really wanted her to have that. Also, I sew. I had a lot of sewing projects at the time that I started this book, so I knew my time would be divided.

This was the second thing I ever wrote. This was the first book I wrote where I knew I wanted it to be a whole book when I finished. It helped a lot being able to “channel” Leigh as I was working on my sewing projects, and that’s honestly one of the main reasons I wanted her to sew – and then it ended up working for her in a lot of different ways.

  1. Do you pull from your real life experiences when you write? How much do they influence your writing?

On my blog, I have all these things in this book that came from reality. Brian started out as someone I knew (who shares some of the same tattoos – the tree one was where it started) and it felt all really weird to write him at first, but Brian became his own person fairly quickly. Whew!

My real life experiences influence my writing a TON. My family laughs out loud in places no one else would think to laugh, just because they know that particular thing is all me. The love of Crown Burger, hammocks, heels, some of the specific lines. So yeah, anytime you read a book by me, you’ll know that there’s a lot of ME in there, and I do it on purpose.

  1. This story seems to focus a lot on Leigh’s first impression of people and how that changes over time. Do you think Leigh judges people fairly for the most part or does she let what she sees influence her too much?

She DEFINITELY makes snap judgments. She notices clothes. She judges her roommates fairly harshly for good or bad right off the start. She judged Brian harshly, and she also put Noah into a tidy box of perfection. She also has a bit of a hard time changing her perceptions of people, or allowing them to move from one perception to another.

  1. What do you do to get in the writing state of mind? Is there some essential thing you need to sit down and start writing?

Nothing is essential but the desire to put words on a page. Is a quiet house helpful? Yep. Does it happen often? Nope. When I can’t write, I listen to the playlist I have for a character or a project to get myself in the “mood” and then when I can sit down, my hope is that I’m already in it, and can just jump into writing. Sometimes I listen to music when I write, but it has to be quiet, just enough that the beat or the feel of the music seeps into what I’m working on.

  1. If your book was made into a movie, what would the soundtrack be?

A mix of 500 Days of Summer and Dan In Real Life.

LOVE those two movies, and love their soundtracks.

  1. What is your favorite thing about this story?

My favorite thing is that Leigh is really faced with two (main) boys. Noah – who is perfect on paper, and Brian who is a disaster on paper. I love that part of it.

My favorite scenes are –

Leigh’s rant about the romantic movies.

After her neighbor Julie has her baby, and a certain someone follows her out of the hospital.

When she falls asleep putting Nathan to bed.

OH! And when she finally asks Brian about his tattoos. I also really love it when Leigh’s forced to eat a bit of humble pie after her snap judgments. Actually, I seem to be having a hard time narrowing it down, because her and her brother have some great scenes that I just love as well. And the big scene with Noah at the restaurant with his parents . . .

  1. Anything you want to say to… well… anyone reading this blog?

Umm . . . I hope you love this story half as much as I do?

That writing is the most amazing thing I’ve done outside of my family?

That I love the writing community just as much as I love the reading community. People who love books are awesome :D

Also – I wrote a book about Leigh’s first year of married life that I HOPE CFI takes on. So, I guess watch for – To Take This From You – unless they either 1. Don’t take it or 2. Make me change the name, lol.

If you want to learn more about Jolene, her books, or just be a part of her awesome world, you can visit her blog here. Don't forget to add her book to your 'to read' list on Goodreads! Also, if you're going to put the book on your 'to read' list you might as well know where you can buy it right :) That's what I'm here for! Pick up your copy of "The Next Door Boys" here!

And don't forget to leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a $35 Amazon gift card or copy of "The Next Door Boys"!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Cover Time!

Alright everyone it's the moment you've all been waiting for! OK... it's the moment I've been waiting for. Close enough. Here's the official copy of my book cover!

I absolutely LOVE it! Cedar Fort did such a good job designing it and I'm already making big plans for it (bookmarks, a poster for book signing tables, etc). So I thought I'd share because I'm just thrilled to pieces with it :) Also, note that they've oficially changed the title to "The Breakup Artist" with no hyphen. Tell your friends.

Stay tuned for an epic interview with Jolene Perry on her new book "The Next Door Boys" coming the 15th of October!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Remember remember the 8th of December

See that my friends? That's the face of someone who just found out that they can not only see the official release date of my book, but pre-order it as well! Is your face mirroring this delightful picture yet?

The official release date for "The Break-Up Artist" is December 8th! And you know what that means?

Christmas present time! Just picture this. Your little ones running down the stairs/hallway/crawl space (if you happen to be Harry Potter) and finding a copy of "The Break-Up Artist" under the tree. Can you think of anything better? Well... maybe, but I sure can't!

And of course, the other exciting bit of news that I accidentally stumbled upon while studiously staring at my book on Goodreads (not that I do that often......) is that if you follow the link to Amazon or Barnes and Noble you can pre-order the book! So if you should feel so inclined I'll include the link to both Amazon and Barnes and Noble so that anyone who doesn't want to try figuring out which stores it'll be in can have it sent to their own personal mailbox/doorstep/PO Box.

Barnes and Noble


And then of course here's the Goodreads page which links about a dozen other online bookstores where my book can be purchased


Just ignore the fact that a few of the websites say the book is coming out on December 28th and that the Goodreads site says my book is just called "Break-Up Artist" rather than "The Break-Up Artist". Minor details right?

Until next time friends,


Monday, August 1, 2011

Do you smell sugar floss?

People may be wondering why I can't stop talking about tight rope walkers, or silent films, or circuses lately... and by people I mainly mean my husband because he happens to be in my general vicinity most of the time. But I'll tell you why this has been all I can think about lately, whether you wanted to know or not.

See these two? This is the picture I look at right before I start working on the book I'm currently writing. In fact, I have a whole file of pictures I flip through really fast to get me into the right mindset to work on this book. I don't know how my fellow authors immerse themselves in their world (most likely they don't need picutres and they can just get themselves there right away), but for me, one of my favorite parts of writing is becoming obsessed with the story. Anyone who knows me would say I go through phases of obsessions. Weather it's this tart ginger and crazy man.. or... sort of man, sort of Time Lord

A certain pie maker and a girl named Chuck.

Or even this clever and snarky British detective, who will soon replace his deerstalker for a deep and rumbling dragon voice.

But whatever my current obsession is, I'm in it all the way. I make it my desktop, I listen to music that reminds me of it, and I spend time in between calls at work thinking about how awesome it is. So for me, the best way to write something passionately is to turn it into an obsession. For example, aside from my lovely Buster Keaton picture, I'll pull up this picture, which pretty much defines the entire feel of my book without words.

then listen to my playlist entitled "June" which has lots of circus-y Panic! At the Disco type of music.

For me, it's all about the immersion. So Facebook friends and Twitter followers, I apologize for always wanting to talk about stuff that makes you feel vaguely like eating cotton candy and popcorn. It's all part of the process.

Until next time,


PS, do you like my new background? I figured, I had the very talented Trent Davis shoot this for my book cover back before it was published, so I might as well put it to some good use!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It was Love

I'm writing right now... literally... at this very moment. Although I guess that's obvious since I'm writing this blog post. What I mean is, I'm writing this book I've been working on the past few months right now (Before and after writing this blog... and in my head while writing this blog). And while writing I came to a realization. The love interests I've developed for June, all 48342 of them (OK there's actually only 3), must seem schizophrenic. One page they're so lovable and charming and the next they're whiny, clingy, and awful. I think when you read this new book (assuming it gets published... though if it doesn't I'll just publish it myself I suppose... but let's not get into that now) you'll definitely be able to tell when I'm annoyed with a love interest. Daily I change my mind on who I actually want June to end up with so every few pages her love interests change their personalities a bit. It's probably very distracting to read. For example, when I was writing yesterday I was thinking "Man, Joseph is being such a whiny baby in this book. No one's going to want her to end up with him." And today I'm thinking "Isn't Joseph so charming? I need to write a cute scene for him. He's just so sweet." So what it really comes down to is that I'm the one with far too many personalities and my poor characters are the ones getting the blame for it. So June... and your many love interests, I'm sorry. Just pretend you're very dynamic characters with layered personalities.

Until next time,


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don't judge a book by... well... nevermind, go ahead

Let me start off by saying, this post is NOT about my book cover. Don't worry, you'll definitely know when it's about my book cover. No, this post is about other book covers. More specifically, the lovely book series I just finished after purchasing the first book based solely on the fact that the covers were interesting and the girls on them had 'pretty dresses' on. Now I'm not proud of the fact that I almost ALWAYS judge a book by its cover (Hunger Games... really?) but I will say that it's led me to read some pretty amazing books, ie Uglies, Suite Scarlett, Witch Child, A Great and Terrible Beauty, An Abundance of Katherines, and, the books which inspired me to write this post, The Luxe Series.

These books are charming. I love any book that shows a culture different from mine and the New York social scene in 1900 is definitely different from my every day experiences. I loved reading a book told from the point of view of four different girls (and one boy) in very different stations. I loved reading about how they were all trapped by their social rules regardless of if they were dirt broke or the richest girls in New York. Reading about the feeling of complete lack of control over your own life and what you can do about it was fascinating. I love relating to the characters (I fancy myself to be Diana Holland... but really I'm probably more like her sister Elizabeth Holland) and how they handle themselves in certain situations. Of course, the gorgeously described gowns and angelic faces with bee stung lips didn't really hurt to make this an easy read either.

But my point in writing all of this (besides the obvious point of GO READ LUXE NOW!) is that we can throw the old adage out the window every once in a while. Judge a book by its cover. Go read something just because the picture on the front is pretty. It may just be worth your while. But on that note I make a footnote, which is don't judge a book (meaning a person) by it's cover (meaning their appearance). Just thought I'd clarify that I'm not telling everyone to go out there and become shallow. Mostly I'm just trying to say you should read Luxe. And that's all I have to say about that.

As an extra side note I will say that this book might not be appropriate for young kids. In fact it's definitely not (not that it's a horribly scandalous book... just not young kid appropriate). So no Luxe bedtime stories.

Until next time (hopefully with some exciting book news)


Monday, June 13, 2011

Christmas come early?

All right so that title may be a bit misleading... perhaps implying that Christmas has come early this year when, in fact, I'm asking (very politely I think) for it to come early because... are you ready... my release date has been moved to DECEMBER instead of October. So while this does mean more time for me to sit here and wait (Slightly impatiently) for my book to come out, it also means that my book will be out just in time for Christmas. So... looking for the perfect Christmas present this year? For your friend/spouse/child/relative/acquaintance/flat mate/stranger on the street? I have the perfect gift idea! You can buy them the new YA fiction book "The Break Up Artist"! What's that you say? I read your mind? Well I'm just trying to help you out. So you're welcome. Although really... if you wanted to get me a Christmas present you could just buy my book and call it even. I definitely won't mind.

So, we now have a new release date but I know what you're thinking yet again, "Shannen, why would you go through the effort of creating an entire blog post for just one little bit of news when you usually take 4 months to update your blog?" Well my friends, I will answer you by saying that first, this one little bit of news is pretty important. Second, I'm surprised this is the question you're asking when I can obviously read your mind which is a little scary. And third, that's not the only news. Laura at Cedar Fort just did a lovely write up of the author workshop I attended. You should all check it out. And if you look closely you'll see that she mentions me and a very savvy and intelligent comment I made... OK maybe my comment wasn't all that savvy and intelligent... more like flustered and awkward. But it still got a mention which makes me feel a bit famous. So follow the link below and check it out!

Other than that I have no news... and no pictures... I'm starting to realize this blog has a severe lack of pictures. I promise to rectify the situation once I start going to book signings and such where I can actually take pictures.

Until then friends!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brainy Specs, Marketing, and Fandom.

Well I realize that every time I post I say something to the effect of "Wow it's been a long time since I last posted. I promise to be better about that in the future!" But you know me (... sort of), and I know me. And we both know how scattered I can be some times. So we'll just skip that part of the post... if you can call what I just did "skipping it".

As far as "The Break Up Artist" goes, not much new to report on that front. I should be hearing from my editor soon though the poor, unsuspecting editor will then be bombarded with questions from me, namely, when I can see my book cover. Because let's face it, who doesn't judge a book by it's cover. I, of course, don't judge the metaphorical book by its cover (so never fear friends) but book books... I definitely do. In fact, I'll admit to the great sin of purchasing the "Luxe" series based solely on the fact that the girls on the covers wore pretty dresses but you know what? My spidey sense did not disappoint. Those books are fantastic. Hence, why I'm so anxious to see my cover. So keep your fingers crossed that it's made of awesome and rest assured that when I finally do see it I'll be texting every last one of you at two in the morning to send you a picture and find out what you think. Be prepared.

In other news, on Friday I went to a workshop about online marketing at Cedar Fort. I must say, I was geeking out. A lot. Meeting all of those authors made me feel so... well... author-y for lack of a better (or real) word. I got to chat with them about book signings and the publishing process and marketing. I felt like I should put on my brainy specs and bath robe right then and there just to solidify the fact that I am, in fact, an author. Because what is an author if not a person who wears brainy specs and a bath robe? But the workshop was absolutely fabulous! It was taught (mostly) by Nate Moller of Nate Moller Marketing. He was funny, informative, and very easy to talk to. Probably all good things for someone in the marketing industry. From this workshop I learned how to use Twitter and Facebook for all sorts of fun things, including making a Facebook fan page which you should all join (since I am now taking part in shameless self-promotion). The link to like the Facebook fan page is in the contact section of this web site. Also, I'll probably make a fan page for "The Break Up Artist" the second I get the cover art for it so look out for that!

As always, keep checking back for updates that will (hopefully) become more frequent as the release date nears. And if you own a bookstore or know someone who does, or if you live near a library, or read, or... well... pretty much anyone reading this blog, request to have me do a signing with your local bookstore or library! Heaven knows I'll be requesting it!

Signing off!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Writer's Block...

... is a myth... Or so they say. And by they I mean N.M. Kelby who wrote "The Constant Art of Being a Writer". And she may be right. I've had such great ideas all week for all of these great scenes I wanted to write in the book I'm working on right now... but between work, wife-dom, and March Madness I just haven't had time. So now this weekend, when I have bucket loads of time to write... I just can't. Doesn't it just figure? I suppose that is a bit misleading... because I am writing and I'm not doing too badly. I think writer's block isn't' so much that you can't write anything... I think it just means everything you want to write comes out a bit jumbled and just doesn't flow like your normal writing does. Take this choppy blog post as evidence of my lack of flow.

But I should still count myself lucky. I've got a book being published. I've got another book already written just begging me to finish editing it. And I've got handfuls of half-written books vying for my time. So really... this little bout of writer's block is OK because June and Joseph are still getting their scenes... they're just scenes I'll have to heavily edit once I've got my flow back... and when I say "I'll" have to edit it... I mean my mom will probably give me some fresh perspective on it.

So while Josh is out taking his test and I'm working on my book before the dreaded exercise monster comes to get me I thought I'd put my two cents out there on writer's block... although my two cents is sounding a bit more like 1 cent now that I'm reading it back. I'll give my other cent at a later date to complete the transaction.

PS: This is what the writing process looks like... for me anyways.

My calendar of events in the book. My official book file made very professional with a crayon drawing on the front. And my pages of what my characters wear... Needless to say the file for "The Break-Up Artist" has a book sized fashion section in it.

Until Next Time!


Friday, March 11, 2011

And the release date is.....

In the spirit of keeping everyone up-to-date on what's happening with my book I shall disclose something very exciting to you... the release date for my book! Well... at least the release month. I'm not quite sure on the actual date yet. But the month is......

Drum roll please


I know it's a good 7 months away so that's why I have an assignment for everyone. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be just as excited to buy the book and learn all about Amelia in October as you are right now. Think you can do it? For those of you wanting extra credit never fear, I have that too: be even more excited in October than you are right now! I must admit at first I was thinking October was an odd choice but it is my birth month so it's like the perfect birthday present! Happy birthday Shannen... oh and by the way your book is out in stores! I like that. I'll definitely accept that birthday present. What are the chances I could get them to release it on October 7th do you think?

Alright so now for another big announcement. Cedar Fort has decided to change the title of my book. At first I was a little sad because I do make an effort to put great thought into my book titles to make them witty and fun (hence why the book I'm working on right now has no title... just can't think of something perfect). I must say, however, that I can understand why they changed it. If you didn't know anything about my book and saw the title "It's Not You, It's Me" in a list you might think it was a self-help book... or some sort of instruction on how to get over a break-up. Understandable right? But Cedar Fort is going to use "It's not you, it's me" on the cover as a sort of tag line so I'm happy. But now for the new title to be revealed.... I would ask for another drum roll but two in one blog post seems like overkill. So without further ado, and without further drum roll, the new title of my book is "The Break-Up Artist". Straight forward. Simple. And very informative to anyone checking out the book for the first time. Now I did google "The Break-Up Artist" to see what would come up and I found a movie from 2009 which made me a little frantic for a moment... until I realized, that movie came out in 2009. My copyright is from 2008. My idea. Boom roasted. Not that anyone would think I'd stolen it anyways but I wanted to avoid a "Secret Window" scenario. That didn't seem to end well for anyone involved.

So there you have it! New name and a shiny new release date.

Remember your homework!

I'll post more updates soon!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Long Live

Well it's official. I am now a published author! Well... that may sound confusing... allow me to rephrase. I am now an author with a contract to be published and will have a book released soon. Better? Cedar Fort will be publishing my book "It's Not You, It's Me" in what I'll call a few short months but may be anywhere from 3-12 months. Trust me, as soon as I have an official release date I'll be splashing it all over every web site, car windshield, and person who stands still long enough. So never fear, my shameless self promotion will keep you all in the loop.

So, for those of you who haven't read the book yet.... which is probably most of you (minus a handful of friends and relatives) let me tell you what to expect from this book. Expect a quirky break-up artist who dyes her hair a different color every other day and changes styles completely to be a social chameleon of those girls who've hired her. Expect awkward break-ups that Amelia expertly diffuses and some she not-so-expertly deals with. Expect romance! Expect confusion... which usually goes hand in hand with romance. Expect A LOT of painting. Expect a gorgeous green-eyed boy. Expect tears. Expect joy. Expect Amelia to be your new best friend. Mostly, just expect to get lost in the world of the best break-up artist in the business.

And if that's not enough of an incentive to buy the book... Expect me to be completely and utterly devoted to anyone who buys it. Sound fair?

Alright perfect! Moving on.

At the moment I'm working on my first LDS fiction novel... though I may just go back to finishing edits on "Robin's Flight". Why, you may ask, is it so hard for me to pick one book to work on and just truck along until it's through. Well allow me to invite you into my thought process for just a moment. It goes a little something like this:

"I think I'll work on "Pwn'd"... I have been playing a lot of video games lately. It's the perfect opportunity to 'research' for the book! Oh wait... what's this? I've never written or read an LDS fiction book... that seems a little odd. Maybe I'll write one! Perfect... Let me just write out the whole plot, develop the characters, do some research, write about 10 pages and... Oooo.... what's that? "Pirates!" By Celia Rees? I haven't read that book in a while. I remember how awesome it was. Maybe I should read it again. Maybe I'll also start watching lots of "Indiana Jones" and "National Treasure". Wait... now I'm in the mood to work on my fantasy adventure book "Robin's Flight". Blast. I'll never get anything done at this rate."

And that's pretty much how my mind works. I suppose the book that I'll give the most attention to next will have to be the one I think has the best shot out there in the literary world right now... So that's what I'll do! I'll make a firm decision on which one I'll work on and I'll stick to it. Unless I watch another adventure movie... then I just may break that promise to myself. Readers. I need your help! Or maybe I'll just get my husband to take every National Treasure-esq movie out of our house.

Until next time!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Wonderful World of Writing

I've noticed, much to my horror, that I've completely abandon my blog for... well... let's not count how long it's been. The point is that I have returned and will now update often on the status of my books! So in a very brief game of catch-up, here's what's going on with my various books.

"It's Not You, It's Me": I've finished the millions of edits, rewrites, and alterations that have gone into this manuscript since I wrote it almost three years ago. I've been sending it out to literary agents and publishing houses alike. Hopefully it'll get picked up by a publishing house soon and will be available for purchase. Keep checking back for news on that!

"Robin's Flight": This book has been a bit trickier for me than INYIM. Because it's needed some major tweaking it's been taking me longer to finish the final revision. Lately I've been focusing all of my efforts on getting "It's Not You, It's Me" up to par for agents and publishing houses and so "Robin's Flight" has taken a bit of a back seat. I'm about half way through a major edit of the book and once that's done it should be pretty close to being ready for the great and terrible day of sending it out to every literary agent and publishing house in New York.

"Pwnd": I've been spending quite a bit of time doing research for this book... I know that sounds like code for "I've been playing video games to get me in the mood to write this book" but I have been doing legitimate, good research... although most of that involves interviewing people who spend most of their time playing video games so maybe there isn't really that big of a difference. I've plotted out the entire book and have written about half of it. After I get "Robin's Flight" ready to send out I'll finish writing this book and start on the ever wonderful process of editing.

"Delayed": Of all of my manuscripts, I'd have to say "Delayed" is my least finished. Though I've written more of this book than I have "Pwnd", one of my characters in "Delayed" just seems to be giving me trouble and I can't seem to keep him under control. As a result I've been working on my other projects and leaving this one for last, hoping that a step back and some fresh perspective will help me to get this character to act the way I want him to. I'll be working on finishing this manuscript as soon as "Pwnd" goes through its major editing process.

I've got two other untitled manuscripts that I'm working on, but as those have only been plotted out and not actually written I'll leave them a mystery for now.

Are you intrigued?

Keep checking back for updates and I'll try not to let years pass without post from now on!