Tag: paranormal

Watcher #1 on Amazon

It finally happened. Unbelievable. Holy wow, Batman.

Watcher is #1 in Urban Fantasy, #1 in Paranormal Suspense, #36 in Kindle books


Aaaand it’s charting across the categories:

  • Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense #6
  • Suspense #2
  • Paranormal Suspense #1
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy #10
  • Fantasy #5
  • Metaphysical & Visionary Fantasy #2
  • New Adult & College Fantasy #2

Betrayer – 1st draft down


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Today was the day. I finished the first draft of Betrayer. All 90,391 words of it. Trust me, it won’t stay at the number for long once Bev and Amanda get a hold of it, but it feels good. Really good. I was sweating it out on this one, tremendously worried that it would be as brutal as it’d been writing Protector, but oddly enough, it was way quicker and less painful, which came as a surprise. A good surprise.

So I’ve been asking myself the essential question, “What was different this time around?”

Honestly, writing each book in this series has been a distinct and diverse experience. Not once in writing all three books have I come away thinking, “Huh. That was just like last time.” Some of that is because the content is different as the plot moves forward, some is because my style is evolving as the series progresses, hell, it could be that I’m often influenced by whatever I happen to be doing during that time period. It’s hard to say one way or another, and in all likelihood, it’s an amalgamation of all of that and more.

But there are some distinctions that I’d like to outline here:

Watcher cover1) Watcher was like getting on a roller coaster that you’ve never ridden before, and enjoying the hell out of the crank of the chain as you crest the hill and then screaming your head off when you go over the edge.

2) Having said said, Watcher, even having been re-written twice, could be re-written again, but at some point, you have to say enough is enough.

3) Writing your first book means that the only pressure is self-inflicted. It’s never like that again, especially if people like your books. There is ALWAYS someone waiting for the next one.

protector_kindle_fb4) Protector was a right ol’ bastard because I was 60% of the way through the first draft when I submitted Watcher to my now permanent editing team and then realized quite quickly that a big re-write of Watcher was in order. That meant Protector was dead, a complete redo – it just about kicked my ass, and had a profound effect on my psychological state. I came very close to chucking the towel in. It was total hell. Terry, my CP, and Amanda, my copy editor, were the only two forces that kept me going. I’m still grateful for their encouragement in keeping to the path. P.S. – never again.

5) Betrayer was a book that I was looking forward to writing since inception. It’s likely to be the darkest of the four books, and I’m not kidding when I say there are going to be some pissed readers. I’m no George RR Martin, but sometimes, bad things happen, and as an author, you let them. When you get close to the end of a series, the doors shut, the bridges get burnt. It’s scary, and with this book, there are no second takes. Once it releases, there’s no going back. So. If you are one of the readers who wants to send me hate mail – I get it. And it’s okay. Some days, I wanna hate me, too.

6) Destroyer scares me the most. It’s the end of a series that has come to mean so much to me. While the pragmatic, exhausted part of me can’t wait to finish the ride that I started with Watcher, I love Poesy, Adam, Birdie, Haylee, the whole gang at Paddy’s so much that saying good bye to them is hard and emotional. There will be a lingering uneasiness for me as to whether or not I made the right decision. If I gave them the endings they all deserved. But after Destroyer, it will be time to open myself up to a new set of characters who are screaming for my attention. I look forward to meeting them and I hope when the time comes, you’ll look forward to meeting them, too.

Anyhow, a couple of days off before the real work begins. Editing.

Tired but happy,


xo shawnee

Gothic Revival

I just finished the big re-write on Protector. Thank god. It’ll be winging its way over to Bev for a final read through before tumbling its way over to Amanda for the start of copy editing. So close now. I can almost taste it.

Meanwhile, my brain is incapable of stringing together sentences having just finished going through 280 some odd pages of angst, mayhem, and horror. So today’s blog is going to be rather chaotic and probably slightly all over the place. Bear with me.

First things first.

I’m obsessed with gothic horror right now. Not necessarily unusual. I did my degree in 18th century English literature with a focus on the gothic novel. Add being a former goth on top of that, and it all slots nicely into place. So no surprise there.

I’d sort of lost touch with my previous fascination with that genre, focusing more on fantasy and urban paranormal stuff in the last couple of years. That was my mindset when I’d started writing The Shining Ones series way back in 2010. I wasn’t so much caught up in the sublime or my novel’s setting being a character in itself or mad monks and falling down castles. I was more interested in mythos. More interested in building my own angel mythology from scratch based on two points of interest: Neil’s take on Lucifer Morningstar in the Sandman series and one of my favorite songs of all time, “For Her Light” by a band that still has a very special place in my heart, The Fields of the Nephilim.

But more recently, there has been a resurgence in gothic horror that is taking me back to that genre. Have a look at Del Toro’s trailer for Crimson Peak.

Yeah exactly. I got shivers watching it the first time. Tom Hiddleston and creepy haunted houses. I’m in. PJ Harvey doing Nick Cave? Could it get any better? I was already heading in that direction, but Del Toro’s ability to make beautiful, ethereal things just pushed my mind into creative overdrive.

And if that wasn’t enough, I also just got done reading this, Jack Thorn by Katherine Harbour.

jack thorn

I don’t normally get book envy – it takes a lot for me  to go there – but I was absolutely impressed with her book to the point where I was like, “No seventeen year old should know that much about celtic mythology and be able to weave it into an enticing story that doesn’t read like a history lesson.” It even caused me to stalk her on Twitter. If you haven’t read it, do so. I could probably write a whole blog post on her setting descriptions alone. Very nice stuff. You can also be like me and follow her on Twitter if you’re so inclined. Just go here.

So here’s my second bit to this blog post that I want to bring to the party:

I predict that 2015-16 will see a huge uptick in gothic/steampunk literature, movies, etc.

It’ll be a bit like what Twilight was to vampires and paranormal romance or The Hunger Games and the slew of dystopian novels that followed. It’s coming our way. (ed note – Gothic is different from Steampunk for those who want to be pedantic about it; there is a nuance between the two, but for argument’s sake, I’m going to lump them together.)

If you don’t believe me, take a look at Madonna’s new video that came out two days ago and try not to dry heave. I couldn’t. In fact, I got really really mad to the point that my husband laughed at me. If I could’ve reached through my monitor and bitch-slapped Madonna for yet again more shitty music AND ripping off yet another subculture’s much-loved and respected identity for her own piece of tripe I would’ve. Does she have no shame?

Seriously. Enough already, Madge. Go retire into that good night and leave the rest of us alone. If the Steampunkers wanted to light you on fire, I’d gladly hand them the matches.

Sorry. Did I just say that out loud?

I could list several more examples of why I think this trend is going to continue, but I just realized that I’ve just done a smack down on Madonna so I’ll stop while I’m ahead. I’m pretty tired.

If you can think of any other examples to share, let me know, and I’ll put them up here.


Kill Your Darlings


So I am in the midst of getting back on that horse. After a month away from my desk, I’m finally taking the plunge and here I sit. Back. In. The. Chair.

It feels good, mostly. I have missed my Herman Miller chair. I’d like to think it missed me, too, in its own way.

But the thing is that while I missed sitting here, I don’t miss the anxiety when it comes time to edit. By far the hardest part of the whole shindig, edits kick me in the gut every time. And on this book, it is no better than the last one.

Which is kinda surprising, I can’t lie. “Why?” you ask.

I will be truthful with you. Watcher was a rambling hot mess. Even after multiple edits and tear downs, it still was painfully awkward, hence, why I pulled it. I have to live with the nightmare that Neil Gaiman still has an original copy. If I am lucky, he will tease me one day about it, if not, well, that would almost be a bigger relief. That aside, it took a year of sitting on it, to stomach going back to it and ripping it apart some more. And in that painful process, I killed off 30K+ words and two major characters.

Which is the thrust of what I have to say next.

I learned big, painful lessons from that first book. The only thing that kept me going was the passion I had for those characters. And naivety and probably a hint of arrogance, too. But don’t get me wrong, those lessons, I kid you not, were like a million tiny papercuts all over my body and then being dropped into one of those dunk tanks filled with gallons of rubbing alcohol. Get the visual, right?

So when it came to Protector, I tried my best to learn from those mistakes. Cut down on over wordy descriptions, watch for narrative repetitions, keep that pacing tight, and whatever you do, stay away from new secondary characters. No really. Don’t do it. Remember Lamar Jackson? Or Amanda’s baby daddy reveal? Yeah, seriously, don’t even think about it.

The thing is I love characters like I like breathing. I like to inhale them, give them life, exhale them out nice and slow so that they come to life in a slow, glimmer. In my head, Tybee Island teems with all sorts of pedestrians from all walks of life. Each one has a story screaming to be let out. With all the noise in my head, some days, I’m surprised I get anything done.

But I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Sigh. You know what’s coming don’t you?

I have inserted a secondary character, just the one mind you, that was going to play some serious havoc in Betrayer, the next book. I wasn’t sure that I really liked him, but he was creepy, and he had some odd physical attributes that would’ve stuck with my readers. And I’d just got done watching The Killing and was in love with Holder so that didn’t help either. I heard the warning bells, but I ignored them. It would be different this time. I would write him in from the beginning, slide him in insidiously into Paddy-life, make him stick, give him purpose. I swear that was the intention right up until I got to the first hot and heavy scene with Adam and Poesy and then it flew out the window.

I found that I’d written seven chapters and he’d disappeared off the face of the earth and like a complete idiot, instead of accepting that he was a goner, I went back and hacked him into a bunch of other scenes, punching that circle into that damn square like that made any sense.

Oh yeah, I made him work, but not work enough.

So here I sit almost eight weeks behind in my edit schedule , which I thought was going to be a breeze and now I have to rip him out and patch up the holes he’s left in the lives of my other characters. I’m not sure anyone will miss him except Haylee Jane, but the work is enough that I want to punch myself in the face.

I still sit here in my Herman Miller chair. But the work is just beginning.