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Why I love my critique partner

The Bookfiend shop on

The Bookfiend shop on

Another night. Another bout of insomnia. It’s not something I’m used to given the fact that I exist in order to sleep. I don’t know if it’s because I’m still on San Francisco time or if somehow my body thinks that something miraculous is going to happen after 10pm at night, but nothing short of drugs will conk me out right now.

So in the spirit of late night inane twitterings, I’ve decided to make a list of reasons why I love my critique partner, Terry, and why she is so utterly awesome to me.

But before I do, please give her your sympathy. Somewhere on the West Coast she is in a dentist office getting her wisdom teeth yanked out without general anesthesia. No lie.

Which brings me to my first point . . .

  1. She is strong. Terry has amazing fortitude. This whole wisdom teeth thing = cake walk
  2. She is funny as all get out. Seriously. I look forward to getting her feedback just for the witty comments. Pure gold, I tell you. She should be doing stand up.
  3. She is writing a great series. Honestly. I almost wept after the first 3 chapters because no one should be that good first time around.
  4. She humors me. Even when she probably shouldn’t.
  5. We are a lot alike. Hence Point no. 4.
  6. She writes under a pseudonym. I love me some mystery.
  7. Her characters are the best. Really. I have laughed out loud, groaned, you name it, as they’ve progressed through their story.
  8. She’s my agony aunt in the writing world. Every author needs one. I’m lucky to have a good one.

Thank you, Terry. I *heart* you, darling. I hope you feel better soon. Take the drugs. It’s worth it.

xo shawnee

Sometimes Disease Gets in the Way



Today, I need a moment of reflection.

It’s beautiful outside. The fragrance of blossoms is everywhere. The air is slightly balmy here in Virginia, the trees are in full bloom, some already with leaves formed and unfurled. Others, like the azaleas, are rampant in their color, the brightest salmon pinks to the most virginal whites. The birds are busy building nests and families, my bees are doing what they always do this time of year . . . swarming. It’s spring as nature intended it to be: a time of re-birth and healing.

And yet, awful things still happen. Even in the midst of all of this beauty, people get sick.

I have been very lucky in my life that disease has stayed far away from those whom I love. Not 100%, of course, but enough of a distance to be a bearable discomfort that one simply bears. Tolerable. Not earth shattering. Stay plucky. Move on.

Well, it was only a matter of time before that changed and now I find myself in a position that seemed improbable even just months ago. I’ve dealt with the “C” word one other time in my life – it was enough that go around. But here it is again and I have to watch another person I love go through it. And the apprehension over what they will have to endure and how utterly useless I feel on the sidelines has me overwhelmed. And scared. And really mad. Like seriously-utterly-without-a-doubt-furious.

And so where does all the anger go and why am I even writing about it here? I think you just got your answer.

The way through is writing. Write about it. Get it all out on paper and let the demons do their worst. The tragic irony is that this could end up being the most prolific time of my rather short writing career. A few days from now will be telling.

But right now, I’m packing my bags and getting my head in the game. Things like underwear and suitcase size take a precedent over writing. My next couple of days are about lists and more lists and making sure my better half doesn’t starve in my absence. And the dogs. And the plants. And the bees, too. Everyone needs to be settled so I can be ready for what comes next.

That’s all I can say right now, but my final words to you are this: take a moment to hug those you love and appreciate them. Cuddle them. Kiss them. Do something nice for them even if it’s the most trivial trifle. You’ll be glad that you did.

Critique partners are like dating . . .


Hello World. Nice to see you again. Yes, it really is me – I am alive and I’m breathing and I’m writing. Well, mostly writing. And editing, of course. The final final version of Watcher will be back up on shortly and it will be free. Yes. I used the “F” word. Make sure you tell all your friends.

Meanwhile, in my quest to be distracted today, I inadvertently stumbled over a FB post from Maggie Steifvater. Maggie is a published YA author and while our styles are pretty different, she’s another VA gal who lives not to far from me and I like her quirky personality. I mean you’ve gotta love someone who keeps fainting goats as pets . . . Anyhow, she’s putting out her annual Critique Partner Love Connection and so I thought, “Why not? I mean I’m cuddly and lovable most days, right?”

What I didn’t really account for was that most people who follow Maggie are also going to be enthusiastic, perky YA people – not something my old-gothic-jaded-self really thought about. I feel about as awkward as that overweight nerd at Comic-Con cosplaying in a home-made Princess Leia slave suit (If you get this then you are one of my people and I love you.) And as the subject line applies, it’s kinda like speed dating, too. Except really really awful in that way where you really like the hot hunky “normal” guy, but you know he’s going to be put off by your purple hair extensions and nose ring. Oh and he’s probably a Christian to boot.

So I’m writing this in case anyone is intrigued and comes to check me out. I don’t bite, I generally shower every couple of days, and I try really really hard to be the best writer I can be. I may not be YA, but I enjoy good fiction regardless of genre.

If you like what you see then contact me via this blog. If not, no hard feelings and good luck finding your CP. Now back to writing.