Tag: protector

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

Author Photos


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Author photos are a bit like dating sites profiles: you look too good to be true. No, you don’t run half marathons just for fun, and you definitely didn’t open up that village school for girls in Africa. The closest thing you’ve gotten to philanthropy was giving the homeless guy three bucks in quarters that one time you were stopped at a red light. Exercise is the equivalent of walking to the fridge for left-over pizza because you just can’t seem to get through this one scene in your new draft without a little pick-me-up. That’s the reality. You’re still in your pajamas at 11AM on a weekday wondering what sort of TV you can binge watch as a reward for hitting your 3,500 words for the day.

So when you see us all gussied up and pretty, and this is important, THIN, it’s because someone, somewhere is a photography god, and can make us look 25 instead of 45. They use their magic mumbo jumbo, this thing called a camera, and they make you look absolutely amazeballs. Those people, every single one of them, deserve a god damn award because we’ll be using that photo for the next freakin’ decade. Any author who says differently is a liar. Trust me – go flip open the dusk jacket of any book you have on your shelf. Stephen King hasn’t aged one god damn day since the ’80s. Either he’s done a deal with the devil (which wouldn’t surprise me) or his publicist is pulling that crap out of the archives every time he’s got a new book coming out. It happens.

I’m not pointing fingers because I’m no different. Confession time: my very first head shot was a sideways snapshot of me talking to my mother-in-law in a dark country pub somewhere in the county of Kent in Ye Olde England, on a holiday, to visit family. In 2011.


So we all do it, myself included, which is why I needed new photos, no matter how much I loathe the whole process.

Enter my sister-in-law, Jodi Hanagan of jodihanaganphotography.com

I’m a big believer that the people who know you best are also the people most likely to capture the true you. That’s not to say that they don’t adjust the lighting or soften the edges, but they do seem to have an uncanny ability to capture the essence of who you are without pulling out all the props and wind machines, and frankly, funky angles that people are willing to contort into to look 5 pounds lighter.

SSAP-JH.jpg-50That’s just not me.

So if I have to have photos done, then I want someone who understands me. That’s why I feel super lucky to have my sister-in-law, Jodi, who is my own photography god (*see above). I’m not good posing in front of a camera. It’s not natural, it’s totally awkward, and I have a tendency to grit my teeth like someone has rammed a pole up my butt. But having my sister take my photo is more like a girls’ slumber party. If I have to listen to someone boss me around and tell me to put on my prettiest smile, it’s much more natural to have someone say it who happens to be related to me. Call it the big sister thing. It works for me.

At the same time, Jodi is a professional photographer and knows exactly what sSSAP-JH.jpg-88he’s doing so there is that. And she’s good at what she does, too. So perhaps I have a bit of an unfair advantage there. I’ll take what I can get.

If you ever have to have photos taken, I’d suggest going down the family tree if you can. Someone somewhere has to be good with a camera. Take them up on their offer to help you, especially if you’re just starting out, or you’re like me and hate photo shoots. They’ll get the job done at a reasonable price, and they’re likely to capture you for who you really are.

Just watch the funny angles and the wind machines.





I’m currently drowning in the color purple. And while that may seem nice if you’re a unicorn or a pack of Skittles, my eyes are like “Screw this, we’re going to the Bahamas. Where’s the spare suitcase?”

Purple dust jacket. Purple header. Purple namey thingy. Purple books all over the freakin’ blog.

God, so much purple.

That aside. Guess what? We’re almost there. Little tiny yay. In a whispery voice. Because I don’t want to jinx myself, and I don’t want a stampede on my Amazon page. Hahahaha. No, really. So close. Soooooo almost there that I can feel it.

As usual, ibooks is a pain in my ass, Amazon is doing a great job, my formatter, Guido, is on top of things, my copy editor, Amanda, is helping with the final back cover copy, and we’re just about ready to order proofs of the paperbacks.

Holy cow. It’s really happening.

Right now, you can pre-order Protector (ebook format) from Amazon here. Release date is Valentine’s Day. Yep, cheese-o-rama.

Watcher is back up as well, although it’s currently listed at 99 cents. It will be FREE as soon as I can get ibooks to sort itself out. It will also be available on iTunes if you really have to use Apple.

Paperbacks of both books will be available sometime around February 21st for everyone who goes old-school.

As a side note: ibooks really is horrible and Apple’s lack of support for indie authors is really irritating, therefore, Protector will only be available on Amazon for now.

Almost there.

protector_comingEverything is go, go, go in Watcherland today. Well, actually, it’s been all week. I’ve been bogged down in mobi and epub files, updating Amazon and goodreads like a madwoman, tweaking out of date stuff on the blog . . . just about everything that you forget about until it’s time to launch a book.

The good news is that we’re likely to be soft launching next week. The ebooks are pretty much done, paperbacks are still a work in progress, but it’s all coming together.

I have Guido Henkel to thank for all of this, really. Besides being an old mate of the husband’s and a videogame veteran, Guido has been involved in the indie publishing world for quite some time and is a master then it comes to putting things together nicely. In this case, he’s my Oz behind the curtain. He’s pulling and twisting knobs and levers all over the place to get Watcher and Protector formatted across all the major platforms. The days of me doing it myself are long over. Guido is the man. Oh, and he’s also another indie author, too.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep up a decent word count on Betrayer while starting to panic about book promotion, guest blogs, reviews, all those incredibly useful things that every author is loathe to do. If all we had to do was write then we’d all be best selling authors, right?

Anyhow, this blog will be transitioning over the next week or so and may have some confusing content as we ramp up to launch. It’s not official until an announcement goes out so disregard all the gribblies between now and then.

And thanks again to everyone who’s been so patient. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.