* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.
Saturday, 18 August 2012
Author interview no.231: Shannon Muir (revisited)
Back in December 2011, I interviewed author Shannon Muir for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to the two hundred and thirty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with author Shannon Muir. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. You can also read Shannon’s author spotlight here.
Morgen: Welcome back, Shannon. Please tell us something about you and your writing.
Shannon: I made some interesting self-discovery on that recently. I've always written a lot about women. When I first started writing I classified myself more as "women's fiction", though the more research I've done it appears that term is falling out of favour or considered too vague, so it's not beneficial to use as a search category. Additionally, I never really read romances growing up – I was raised to casually read and appreciate science fiction and fantasy, trained in classical literature and poetry, and also enjoyed and learned how to write for television in a broad variety of styles (though my eventual first sale in that was to a quirky animation series). The one factor I never really considered until very recently would be the strong interest I've always had since a young age in the now fading breed of the American daytime drama, or soap opera as it also is known – though I know it still goes strong over there in the form of shows such as EastEnders. My writing feels like reading a soap opera on paper, but the bodice ripper aspects of traditional romance in what I've done so far are more subdued. Yet, it still matches most of the romance material in plot and theme (or at least in subplots and secondary theme) I found out as I networked with other authors, most of whom write romances. It'll be interesting to see how my realizations about the market bear out in anything I do in the future. So at this point, I would say – much to my surprise – that I write books that can be characterized somewhat as romances.
Morgen: Romance is so popular, just look at Mills & Boon / Harlequin. It’s funny how you were “raised” for a completely different genre… there must be a rebel in you. :) How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Shannon: I've had a blog and a personal website for many years now, though the blog changed its home a few times. I've been freelance writing in some form or other, which started with monthly columns geared for non-artists (people who don't draw) in the animation field in late 2000. As part of a final project for a project management class, I retooled both the website and blog as more of a marketing tool and created a Facebook page as part of my realistic application of a class project. Still, because of my job at the time, I had to stay pretty low key on promotion. When I published TOUCH THE STARS originally, my first self-published fiction, in print in February 2011 I only used these venues to promote because I was still employed in a situation where a lot of self-promotion wasn't allowed me. Due to changing market conditions, in the United States, I found myself out of work in July 2011 and it freed me to be able to do more marketing again. I learned how to make ebooks and released TOUCH THE STARS in that format later, along with other titles. I also learned how to use and manage Twitter more effectively, and returned to regular posting on my blog instead of occasional posts.
Morgen: I think that makes such a difference. I had a (Blogger) blog but did nothing with it and had 370 visitors in a couple of years. Since launching this end March 2011 and starting the morning interviews mid-June (then evening content a short while after) I’ve had over 27,000 – just a slight difference. :) Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Shannon: I have had some recognized success, but not in prose writing. I have a script that I am in the process of trying to convert to a novel, ETERNAL ENCORE, which got me honourable mention in a local competition when I was in grad school. I hope for an early 2012 release, but I am finding that converting from film to prose is harder than it looks! Someone who knew the movie read through the book version first draft and said many things just didn't hold together in prose. Another film script I wrote years earlier made second round judging in the Austin Heart of Film Festival Screenwriting Competition in the mid-1990s which I also want to make into a book, but it is an intricate fantasy piece and a story very close to my heart that I really want to get right. Maybe someday I'll be telling you more about it. The other short film scripts I got honourable mention for in my undergraduate college years I probably won't be making into books, because I don't think I can expand them enough and keep the story intact; I tried it with one of them expanding to a full length screenplay with mixed results.
Morgen: I wrote 102 pages of script for Script Frenzy in April 2010 and didn’t particularly enjoy scriptwriting but liked the story so converted into the beginning of a novel – you’re right, it’s not simply a case of changing the stage direction to description and dialogue tag positions. Because script relies on the actors moving and speaking it’s a different animal to the reader doing some of the visualisation. Do you write under a pseudonym? Do you think they make a difference to an author’s profile?
Shannon: I use my own name, mainly because I never saw myself doing anything else but also because I have established credits in television using my own birth name. It's one of those things that when I finally manage to get married, I will still use my birth name professionally. "Shannon Muir", that specific name, has become part of my brand.
Morgen: That’s the thing, it’s really just about getting people to know your name. You’ve done so many thing, do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Shannon: I do not have an agent at this time. At one point, when I was more active in television, I did have an entertainment attorney. It's nice to have an extra set of eyes to look over contracts and the like, but in the United States attorneys and managers (unlike agents) are not allowed to solicit work. I still found my own work. From people I've talked to that do have agents, they can take up looking for some of the work for you but you really can't expect to sit back and have them do it all. You really need to find the leads and form the relationships and have the agent or lawyer, or whomever, be the follow-up person. I'm not sure completely how this compares to literary agents, but I would think to a degree you still need to be your own networker, especially in this new social age.
Morgen: Absolutely. There have been few interviewees who’ve said they’ve done no marketing. Speaking of a new age, you said earlier that you “learned how to make ebooks”, what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Shannon: Most of my self-published (or indie, as some prefer to say) titles are available in both print and ebook. My two lower-priced short story and poetry anthologies – which are closer to novella length – are only available in ebook as they don't have sufficient page count to merit a print format. I've worked with a number of computer programs and learned a number of technical things in recent years – for example, I even tried, and struggled hard, to learn how to program in the programming language PHP a couple years ago. In that respect, I'm always eager to learn new things. Once I understood the specific settings that Calibre, Sigil, and Mobipocket required for the specific software to do the needed job, most of it became pretty easy for me. Then all I had to do became to focus on where the small things went wrong and improve the issue. Ebooks are still relatively unfriendly to poetry and you have to get pretty creative with that in terms of layout, using hard returns versus soft returns, and other means to get it right on the page. I'm doing well enough that people are starting to hire me to format their books to get them indie self-published; I appreciate their trust in me with their work.
Morgen: It sounds like your Calibre (etc) experience was similar to getting my eBooks on Smashwords. I went with them first because of their 70+ page style guide and it was so user-friendly that it didn’t seem that long. I now have a template in which to slot the text so it’s easy ongoing. Who designed your book’s/s’ cover/s – if you did it/them yourself how did you choose what to go with?
Shannon: I had no control over the shared world anthology or the textbooks that I appeared in prior to doing indie self-published books. Of my indie self-published titles, one of my titles, FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK, had the cover created by my collaborator on the webcomic and fiancé in a barter situation because we work together on the webcomic. For my other titles, currently I design my own covers in Photoshop, with some occasional advice from my fiancé who is both an artist and a writer. I firmly believe one should hire a good cover artist if one can; my sad reality is that my income at this time does not allow it, and the idea of asking someone to do a cover for free doesn't work because this is part of an actual business for me (I have a home occupation business license as a writer) and not just a hobby so I can only justify it with barter. I have a similar problem with hiring an editor, and must try to do the work myself along with the help of anyone kind enough to betaread. I try to think of a color scheme that fits the book's theme, as well as what shapes or designs I can use for matching patterns. I'm leery of using photographs because of all the rights issues involved, and I'm a huge stickler for that. Even if you take the photographs yourself you must still have the signed rights of the subjects. Doing all the design work on my own removes those concerns as well as hiring a lawyer to write the legal clearances. Having said that, I do realize that my cover choices probably have an impact on my sales due to a lack of photographs and graphics; my choices were to accept that or say that I couldn't self-publish at all because I couldn't afford it. I don't like taking no for an answer, I suppose. I've also had to go on the defensive for this choice, which is a frustrating waste of my time. I've accepted it.
Morgen: I did my own (people-less) covers and had great fun. They went through a few drafts with help from fellow authors and my editor, Rachel, but I loved having control and the final say… the joy of self-publishing the titles and content too. :) What are you working on at the moment / next?
Shannon: Having been out of work since July 2011 at this writing, I am looking for full-time work but it can't fill every minute of every day. That said, I am in edit stages with ETERNAL ENCORE, which I mentioned earlier has made a first draft conversion from screenplay to novel but right now I have someone looking at it with a fine tooth comb because some things do not convert well from one format to the other – a lot needs to be added and adjusted and it's a matter of figuring out where. I'm also working on another piece about romance in a library setting, probably more closely resembling a traditional "romance" than the other pieces I've done to date. I'm letting myself have a little more fun with the genre and escaping my classical training in some ways. I would like to get that done in early 2012. Plus there are five years of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) manuscripts I haven't released yet, most of which are related, that I need to decide what to do with. The only ones released to date are TOUCH THE STARS (from 2005) and HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE (from 2011).
Morgen: I have four NaNoWriMos under my belt and those are next on the hit list. I have short stories (four free plus an anthology) and a writers’ block workbook available but that doesn’t help those who like novels so have two novellas (c. 40,000 words) almost ready to go to Rachel so hope to get those out first quarter 2012. Having been so prolific, especially with NaNoWriMo, do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Shannon: I don't manage to write every day, but I do most days, especially at the moment while unemployed. This became very clear while participating in National Novel Writing Month 2011. Since I've been unemployed (as of this interview) I had more time in a day to write than ever before. Usually I don't count my words, but for NaNoWriMo, you do have to count them. I don't remember the most for any specific day, but at times I regularly crossed over the 2,500 words per day mark and I'm not accustomed to that. Usually to hit NaNoWriMo's average of 1,667 can be a stretch for me.
Morgen: Each time I did NaNoWriMo I kept a nerdy Excel spreadsheet so a constant reminder of how many days I did nothing and therefore how many days I slogged. :) What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Shannon: I may be "blocked" on a specific thing I'm writing, and if all the things I'm writing are ultimately for self-publishing I just switch projects for a while; if, however, I'm writing for a deadline that doesn't work as well. For me the best way to become "unblocked" is to totally not think about something for a while and then I usually can think of what will fix the issue.
Morgen: Variety, that does seem to be a key. A question some authors dread: where do you get your inspiration from?
Shannon: Things around me in life that make me ask "why" followed by "what if" most often are it. I'll see a situation and think "why is that happening" followed by "what if it was happening for this reason". Then off I go. Let me deconstruct TOUCH THE STARS. "Why would someone else raised all her life in a small town stay in Hollywood?" was the base question (the "else" is because this also applies to me). "What if her hometown no longer felt like home?" was the follow-up question. Sometimes I plot it out first, or just run with the idea, depending on the situations surrounding how the questions are set up. Though in doing self-publishing projects (or NaNoWriMo works) I have been known to end up off-outline. More often than not I end up running with ideas.
Morgen: We’ve not really touched on characters yet, do you have a method for creating yours, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Shannon: My character creation comes out of the scenario I want to explore. This at times runs the risk of them being less than three dimensional or not believable, though I try to find subplots past the theme to help flesh out the characters and bring more to explore. THE HEART'S DUTY was a case of that – the "why" for that book began as "is it truly possible to completely run away from your past" but without spoiling anything, based on what feedback I did receive on it, one particular subplot seems to be rising above the original "why"; stories do that sometimes, and it effected how the characters evolved. As to the naming part of the question, pretty much I just go with what feels right. If a character's name needs to have a certain meaning for thematic reasons, like Firinne (Truth) Solas Knox in HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE then some name research is involved. I try not to have two people in the same work with names that start with the same letter, or names of people I actually know – but with the more people I get to meet this does become harder to do!
Morgen: It’s a good idea to avoid same initials and shouldn’t be difficult given 26 letters to choose from. The only story I struggled with was ‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’ (my second NaNo novel) because I had 40-something character (43 I think) so had to have an E1, E2 etc., writing them all down so I didn’t end up with a dozen of one letter. They’re all very different characters so hopefully stand out but even though they only appear for one chapter each (with a dozen at a speed dating event mid-month) I don’t want them to be confused. It was great fun, and easy, to write (117,540 words in the month) but is probably going to end up as selected short stories (featuring the best characters as the protagonists rather than the original main character, Issy, leading them but have her as the first / last story protagonist)… if that makes sense. Do you write any non-fiction? If so, how do you decide what to write about?
Shannon: The only non-fiction I've done was my two textbooks on the animation industry. My motivation there was to spend time in an industry I've worked in quite a bit and love, and a desire to pay it forward and teach the next generation. Unless someone actually approached me to write about my own life (you never know), I have no strong desire to go into this field again.
Morgen: Text books are fun – I enjoyed writing a writer’s block workbook so much that I ended up caling it volume 1 and am already planning a volume 2. You write poetry, please tell us more about that.
Shannon: I write a lot less than I used to, and mainly free verse though I tend to focus on doing my syllables in patterns. In poetry, you need the skill to say a lot in a little space and it really captures the imagination. Both my ebook only anthologies – SEARCH FOR A WOMAN and AT THE END OF INNOCENCE'S ROAD – contain a bunch of poetry I've done over the years. Sadly, I also think a lot of people don't appreciate what goes into making a stellar poem, because there are less words involved, I wonder if it is perceived as easier. Also some people see poetry as nothing more than greeting card material. It's often more than that, though greeting card sentiments have their place too.
Morgen: You mentioned earlier that you’ve written some short stories, apart from the word count, what do you see as the differences between them and novels and why do you think they’re so difficult to get published?
Shannon: I only recently got back into this, which is why my ebook only anthologies I mentioned in the poetry question are also the only place you'll find these works. You have to be able to set up characters, situations, and come up with something that has a quality payoff in a very short space. That's extremely hard to do. That's why I don't charge much for my short story and poetry anthologies. I think what I've done people may enjoy, but I know it's not strong enough to compete in those limited slots for paid published material. It takes a real craft for this that must be honed.
Morgen: Many of the interviewees who write novels and short stories have said how much harder shorts are to write. I find the threading of novels much harder but it could be because short stories are my first love. Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Shannon: My fiancé is offered first read at everything. As he tends to be a slow and meticulous reader, sometimes this hasn't worked well if I've had a deadline (usually imposed by an external force like needing to be ready for a sale). He is, however, the first one I trust with anything. If I'm going to get a kick in the emotional gut for getting something wrong, he's the one I want it from. I do the same for his stuff. I'm glad he can make the time as he not only does artwork for FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, plus has a part time job, but is an indie self-published writer in his own right. He's Kevin Paul Shaw Broden, author of THE CLOCKWORK GENIE.
Morgen: Would he like to be interviewed? :) Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Shannon: With the National Novel Writing Month stuff, editing is inevitable because you are going for speed and word count initially to make a time frame. HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE, for example, I didn't actually completely remove material, but I made a conscious effort to change some choices on descriptions where I felt I might have gone into too much detail in some areas where the story did not require it.
Morgen: That’s the thing about NaNoWriMo, it’s very tempting to write anything regardless of whether you think it’ll end up in the final version or not because you just have to get it down on paper (screen) but I do it anyway (but score it out) because I think it’s easier to remove it later than not include it and then wonder whether I would have kept it anyway.
Shannon: THE HEART'S DUTY, as well as several short stories in the anthologies, required trying to make sure that past release excerpts synced up with the rest of the product. Usually I am a very detail oriented person, which is why I tend to get asked to edit or proofread people's material, and sometimes I surprise them with what I come back with. I've done this professionally too, not just in my job description but just wanting to understand what I'm doing – I can think of two occasions on an early animated series I worked in production on, that they needed to change dialogue in a script because I caught something that got missed. However, if I'm enjoying what I'm doing, I'm finding I can easily miss stuff in my own work! I'm really good at taking feedback when couched to me nicely; condescending and judgemental feedback is bad for anyone. I think that's true of any of us and at least a second set of eyes is always a good thing.
Morgen: It is. We know the meaning behind something so even having a reader (rather than another writer) read something is vital because they don’t know the thought processes and it’s amazing how much my writing group can pick up on (certainly in my early years) that I’d not thought of. How much research do you have to do for your writing? Have you ever received feedback from your readers?
Shannon: The two self-published novels out to date were both set in Hollywood where I've worked for 15 years so research on those was minimal, but I am not afraid to research when required, as I needed to for my NaNoWriMo attempt this year since I don't normally interact with tarot readers or spiritual mediums, for example. I haven't received any feedback – reviews or personal emails – from any of my fiction readers and would love to, as of the time of this interview. I have received compliments and praise for my textbooks and how they have encouraged or influenced people regarding the animation field, and that praise feels good. I've also received feedback from a couple trusted friends and betareaders too. I don't even mind constructive criticism because that helps me grow, but the silence of no comments is awkward, I must admit.
Morgen: I get that sometimes with my critique group but often leave myself 'til last so wonder if they can find no alterations or are just tired and want to go home. :) Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Shannon: I've primarily used a computer, and more recently my Smartphone or tablet, for years. My longhand was always bad, and got worse when I crushed my right index finger in a door in junior high. Handwritten notes truly look like the stereotype of "doctor's handwriting" for me and at best work as triggers to try and reassemble the jigsaw puzzle later. I have no idea how they appear to anyone else.
Morgen: I’ve had a few interviewees say that too – mine’s quite legible but very slow compared with my typing speed. Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc. Do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Shannon: Usually I need music and sometimes have had the TV on as white noise. Part of this may be that I live alone and just can't stand the silence all day every day. If I lived in a household with other people, perhaps my approach might be different. Because I use the Smartphone, I also write on the bus, at some restaurants, all over the place; people by nature are noisy. That's my big source of those "why" and "what if" opportunities I talked about.
Morgen: I love people-watching and one of the great things about being a writer is that we get to call it research / character-building / idea gathering. :) What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Shannon: Because I majored in English for my undergraduate years (studied both British and American literature), I have tried all person perspectives. I default to writing in third person perspective. I like the challenges and the limits of first person, but when I try it and just start writing without thinking I end up with a first draft all in third person I have to go fix.
Morgen: Third person is more flexible, and popular. Do you use prologues / epilogues? What do you think of the use of them?
Shannon: As much as I try not to use them, they've shown up in everything I've self-published. Because my primary focus in my writing to focus the evolution of people, I feel I need this snapshot of seeing where they've been instead of forcing flashbacks in later or a few lines of passing dialogue. Therefore the prologue becomes necessary. I'm also a strong believer of matching bookends, in that if there is a prologue there must be an epilogue or it seems unbalanced. So I end up with both.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Shannon: I love that I can build any world, any time, any place, and figure out how anyone might live. My least favourite is that while I do make some money, I haven't been able to make enough to help me live on yet in lean times – when my writing business happened on the side while I had full time work this mattered a little less. For the record, I'm not talking solely about the self-published books; I'm also mentioning scriptwriting and the textbooks. I do still continue to pitch for animated series when the opportunities arise. I have a couple of premises for an animated series that I pitched and I'm waiting to hear back on as of this interview. I guess that makes another thing I love being able to work in so many media.
Morgen: Fingers crossed for those. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Shannon: Do not give up. People may not like what you write topically, but keep working and honing your vision and your voice; however, if the issues are spelling, grammar, or tools of the trade work on improving those. Get a good sense of what matters to you in that vision when it comes to your own material. However, if you intend to be writing for others such as going into scriptwriting, learn the tools of the trade and be prepared to compromise some – you bring your unique voice to the script you pitch but it is a team effort and other people are needed to finance and make it happen so pick your battles. Be prepared to take constructive criticism in any case. All writers continue to grow and improve, and experience is the ultimate teacher.
Morgen: It is. I’ve been studying and writing for six years and it’s taken a while for me to feel confident about it all now… and we’re all still learning. You mentioned that you’re based in the U.S., do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Shannon: Since English (and this seems true whether we mean American or the British English) is readily accessible in most of the world as a language of commerce, I think it helps. Many people can read my website, blog, Tweets, and other information and locate what I write and also be able to read my work.
Morgen: We are fortunate that English is so widely-used. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Shannon: My personal website at www.shannon-muir.com is the best place for an overview. However, I also post to my blog at http://shannonmuir.wordpress.com, usually twice a week. Currently it tends to be writing excerpts on Sundays, and regular blog postings on Mondays to match certain Twitter hashtag trends. However, interestingly enough, I recently got more response to a blog I posted on a Thursday because of an issue I needed to address than going with the trends.
Morgen: Twitter hashtag trends are something I need to use more and look into the ‘trending’ aspect. I’m pleased with my following (over 2,100) but I am conscious that I don't make full use of Twitter especially looking at what others are saying and retweeting if of use. If you could have your life over again, is there anything you’d have done differently (writing-related or otherwise)?
Shannon: I would start by telling you what I would not do over and that's the path that led me into writing and all the incredible opportunities that have come my way. Going back to my initial fandom of the animation medium, and the courage it gave me to reach out to production companies as a teenager; my interest goes back twenty five years in that area; if you count the poetry and stories in elementary school, my writing interest goes even longer. So basically, writing is the undercurrent of my entire life and I regret none of that. However, concentrating so much on wanting to be a writer, I made more than a few life mistakes, some financially and some with relationships with people. I've lost – and not in the physical sense – some people I really cared about due to decisions I've made, and time only serves to make that clearer and remind me I miss them. Now that said, there are also people that I wish I never dealt with. Of course, remove any one of these factors and a writer is not the person he or she is today. So, though one might want to do them over, it could be ill-advised because who knows what other good stuff might change? Not to mention, the journey a person has been on forms what he or she becomes as a writer and the unique perspective each person can bring.
Morgen: Absolutely. I thought I was late coming to writing in my late 30s but really I think it’s a good thing because I have all those years’ experience (now mid-40s) that I can write about, plus I think I have a better imagination, although I’m pretty sure that writing about the weird and wonderful has enhanced this. This has been a really interesting chat, thank you Shannon. :)
Shannon Muir knew she wanted to write since the age of ten, inspired by teachers who considered her elementary school work worthy of being displayed among the school’s best at local mall exhibitions. She learned to perfect her craft at both scriptwriting and prose, earning a double BA in Radio-TV and English from Eastern Washington University. She moved to Los Angeles in 1996, where she worked on various animated properties. From those experiences, Shannon wrote the books ‘Gardner’s Guide to Writing and Producing Animation’ and ‘Gardner’s Guide to Pitching and Selling Animation’.
In 2005, Shannon Muir received her MA in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, where her thesis explored the effectiveness of animated characters as spokespeople, and its TV-Film Society gave honorable mention to her live action screenplay ‘Eternal Encore’ – now to be adapted as a novel. For a decade she’s been the co-writer of the webcomic ‘Flying Glory and the Hounds of Glory’; lyrics and history of the webcomic are covered in the book ‘Flying glory flashback’.
Shannon is a member of the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America West, and worked as one of two non-Japanese writers on the series ‘Midnight Horror School’. Her production positions on animated series include ‘Jumanji’, ‘Extreme Ghostbusters’, ‘Invader Zim’, and the ‘Say it with Noddy’ interstitials for the PBS version of ‘Make way for Noddy’.
Update September 2012: Since the initial interview, Shannon Muir has come out with the book based in a library setting, called THE PHOENIX RISES. She's also started a new series about a small town full of secrets called THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA - the first two books, EVERYTHING CHANGES and DOWN TO THE ROOTS, are out now.
Based on reader feedback, THE HEART'S DUTY received a new edition with an added epilogue in 2012.
Shannon plans to release the second book in the TRUTH REVEALED series (ON THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH) and the third book in THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA (FILL THE INNER CIRCLE) by the end of 2012.
Due to the complexities of converting script to book, ETERNAL ENCORE is still a work in progress. Shannon still plans to give NaNoWriMo another go in 2012 and "win" for eight years straight.
Morgen: Eight years, wow. This'll be my fifth (four 'wins' to-date).
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know. :) You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.
Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.