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Change as Inspiration March 17, 2014

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Well, here I am, roughly two years after the last time I was unemployed. My contract unexpectedly ended at the start of March instead of May, bringing to a grinding halt a “day job” that I really loved doing.

I’ve been using the last couple weeks to really reflect on where I want to go next with my writing. Coincidentally, right around the same time the contract ended, I finally released my 2010 NaNoWriMo story FOR THE LOVE OF AIRAGOS (originally entitled THE PAPER TRAIL) as an ebook – available on Amazon, B&NApple and Smashwords so far.  The prior month saw the release of another long-awaited part of THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA,  a prequel called BY THE WILLOW BROOK (at Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Smashwords).

The real question for me now is where to go next. There are definitely more installments of THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA. Readers have waited for another installment for the TRUTH REVEALED series for some time now. Or do I try my hand at something new?

Of course, any paid gig will go above these. But if I’m not finding work and just at home while not job searching, which one will fuel my inspiration and creativity most? I guess it’s time to take advantage of the change and find out! Sometimes the unexpected can get the creative juices flowing by shaking up the routine and make one think in new directions and ways.


Much New Writing on the Horizon for 2014 February 3, 2014

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One nice thing about doing LIVES REFLECTED is that it helped get me reinvigorated for producing material for 2014.

Expect items from THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA, THE HEART’S DUTY, and TRUTH REVEALED in 2014. One of the new stories for LIVES REFLECTED, combined with my exposure to researching time periods for my New Pulp debut last year with Pro Se Productions for NEWSHOUNDS, looks like it may result in an all-new title under the SPONTANEOUS CHOICES banner.

I’m also hoping more opportunities appear on the New Pulp and Genre Fiction front, as I look forward to honing the action writing that is already a must for animation into the world of prose. It’s also a fun mix of characters and situations to play with. Growth in this area, however, is currently dependent on works being accepted by outside publishers. If anything happens here, I’ll let you know as I can.

Hopefully the new year has brought writing renewal to other authors as well.

Find out about all my works at my website. Still trying to find background art I like, but the most up to date content is there.

Be patient and enjoy the writing ride for 2014. I’m looking forward to going on the adventure together!

New Year Means Lives Reflected January 25, 2014

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At the end of the year, I spent some time gathering together a variety of short pieces written in my various stories universes and fleshed them out. Along with pieces of poetry I’d written throughout the year, I brought together a third 99 cent (USD) anthology that serves as a great sampler to my various works. Included are short stories set in the  WILLOWBROOK SAGA, TRUTH REVEALED, and PHOENIX COLLECTION universes along with two new stories.

Many of the stories began as small teases on the Willowbrook Novels site because my original intent had been to do a book of stort stories entitled GLIMPSES OF WILLOWBROOK, but in the end opted for a wider ranging project since the short story and poetry anthologies seem to work better for me. Those brief bits have finally been fleshed out into their own stories about the recent past of Willowbrook right before the Saga opens.  A couple stories, such as the TOUCH THE STARS prequel “Star Gazing” (connected to the Willowbrook Novels) and “In The Phoenix’s Shadow” (a story between the two books that comprise THE PHOENIX COLLECTION) have appeared in their entirety on the web on the WILLOWBROOK NOVELS and SPONTANEOUS CHOICES websites, respectively.

“A Somewhat Magic Man” (from the TRUTH REVEALED universe) is completely new to this collection and elaborates on back story discussed in ON THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH. More is still underway in the THE HEART’S DUTY universe to come later in 2014; “Arrow to the Heart” (part of THE HEART’S DUTY universe) fills out a key span of time between the last chapter and Epilogue of THE HEART’S DUTY that ties into other works in progress.

Additional all new offerings are the stories “Inspired by the Silver Screen” and “Showers,” both of which came to me while I worked on compiling the collection. The book also features twelve new poems centering around choices made in life and the passage of time.

Check out LIVES REFLECTED today – exclusively on Amazon as part of KDP Select – and see what other characters and stories might interest you.

Breaking News… A New Voice in New Pulp! December 19, 2013

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About this time last year, I heard about an anthology idea being floated about by a company called Pro Se Productions. This company specializes in what has come to be known as “New Pulp” – either new stories on classic Pulp characters, or new characters told in the style and vein of the classic Pulp feel. I’d submitted to them in the past with ideas, and at this particular time I was drawn to a premise where the bible was created in house and writers were invited to pitch stories. The name of the anthology: NEWSHOUNDS. It featured a newspaper in the 1950s looking to expose injustice and taking heavy risks to do so. Given my background in English and mass media, I thought I’d at least take a stab at it, though I knew I’d need to do a lot of period research.

They liked my pitch but it turned out the story would be a struggle to get through. I went into it knowing I would have research challenges, which I’d planned. What I hadn’t planned was the passing of my father’s mother and how it would rock my concentration for months. I sincerely thank the staff of Pro Se Productions for their patience as I know I was slow turning in that first draft.

The wait was definitely worth it. NEWSHOUNDS is now available for sale at Amazon in print, as well as on Amazon for Kindle and on Smashwords. My story is one of three, along with writer J. Walt Layne, and the third by my collaborator on FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, Kevin Paul Shaw Broden (who also did the anthology cover).

So I’m excited to get to be part of the world of New Pulp at last, after seeing Kevin write works such as his piece in the anthology BLACK FEDORA and his independently published REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST. I loved writing these characters and I hope Pro Se Productions gives me the opportunity to revisit them again sometime. It was a lot of fun.

Nine for NaNo October 31, 2013

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This year, alliteration is my motivator as I go for “Nine for NaNo”. NaNoWriMo, run by nanowrimo.org, motivates writers to complete a 50,000 word first draft in the 30 days of November.

I’ve done it for eight prior years, and I have hit the mark eight times.

This year, with my prequel to THE HEART’S DUTY entitled DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY, watch me go “Nine for NaNo!”

Here is the list of all my manuscripts:

2005 – TOUCH THE STARS (Womens Fiction/Romance, now available indie self published published in ebook and print)
2006 – FILL THE INNER CIRCLE (Womens Fiction/Coming of Age, indie self published published forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga, available as ebook)
2007 – THE FIRST THE LAST THE ALWAYS (Womens Fiction/Coming of Age, indie self publishedpublished forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga)
2008 – ALL THAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND (Womens Fiction/Romance – indie self published forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga)
2009 – AN UNEXPECTED TURN (Womens Fiction/Romance – indie self published forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga)
2010 – THE PAPER TRAIL (Contemporary Fantasy, status pending)
2011 – HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE (Paranormal and Supernatural/Romance/Mystery, first book in the Truth Revealed series, available as ebook)
2012 – THE PHOENIX BURNS (Romance/Contemporary Women/Womens Fiction – indie self published ebook)
2013 – DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY (Womens Fiction/Contemporary Women – prequel to indie self published book THE HEART’S DUTY – writing begins November 1st!)


As in past years, I will be offering the “first draft free” through Smashwords as part of their offering to NaNoWriMo contestants. So download DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY as it becomes available and continue to come back throughout the month for free updates to watch the story unfold! Realize anything you read may ultimately be subject to change, but it lets you be part of the process too.

To celebrate going “Nine for NaNo,” this year I am upping the ante by providing coupons good at Smashwords.com for the prior year “winning” titles. Use the below coupons now until December 1st and get these titles FREE when entering coupon code at checkout:

FILL THE INNER CIRCLE (2006 NaNoWriMo winner) –  NA36A
HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE (2011 NaNoWriMo winner) – JY66N
THE PHOENIX BURNS (2012 NaNoWriMo winner) – CX76C
TOUCH THE STARS (2005 NaNoWriMo winner) – XD27G

Thanks for your support! See you at 50K!

Prep for NaNoWriMo 2013 October 23, 2013

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I’m prepping to go into another NaNoWriMo, where if I complete this one will be in my ninth consecutive November “win”. This caveat came about because I attempted Camp NaNoWriMo this summer with the same 50K limit, but fell a bit short – a bit over 10K of words. I found it really didn’t go with my writing style, and being with a whole “cabin” of unmotivated people – some of which even dropped their word count to “win” – did not motivate me. I think the self-focused route works for me.

So what to write? Well, to be honest, it was going to be the 6th book in the Willowbrook Saga as of my plans in the early year. Then that became the manuscript I tried at Camp NaNoWriMo. So what to do?

In one of my earlier books and one of the few not to start as a NaNoWriMo project, THE HEART’S DUTY (of which a portion of it began serialized on Goodreads), the main character’s mother evolved into a character that left a lot of interesting questions. Given the kind of man her second husband turns out to be – spoilers! – why does she end up married to him in the first place? We have hints of why her first husband left her, but is that the whole story?

So what I have ready to go is DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY, from the viewpoint of Kristine (McHenry) David’s mother in the aftermath of her divorce and the choices she makes to become the woman we know later in THE HEART’S DUTY. I have a feeling I’m going to discover levels of complexity to her character that were not apparent to me doing the other book. I have a month and 50K of words to find out!


Posted by shannonmuir in Books, Writing.
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After much thought, I have decided to permanently drop the price on THE HEART’S DUTY (SECOND EDITION) for the ebook to 99 cents. This change has already been submitted to Smashwords and Amazon and should hit other vendors soon. This has been done for the following reasons:

– Some people already purchased the first edition, any many more received it for free during giveaways around its release
– Just slightly under half was available in first draft form on Goodreads
– The added Epilogue is also available online

Due to associated costs, the price of the print book will not change.

That said, there are plans underway to do more with this stable of characters. THE HEART’S DUTY doesn’t end here!

Get the Ebook here for 99 cents:

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Duty-Second-ebook/dp/B005YW0T78/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1382105346&sr=8-7&keywords=SHANNON+MUIR
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/165922

A Familiar Theme… August 31, 2013

Posted by shannonmuir in theme, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, wisps of writing wisdom, Writing.
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Those of you who are familiar with my written work probably notice I focus on a recurring theme, some in more sensationalist manner than others. Women and motherhood, and how they come to that point, shows up quite  a bit. Yet all of this is written by someone over 40 who doesn’t have children of her own. I’m sure some people who see my material wonder what gives.

I wanted to be a mother since I was fairly young. Not the dating and social type, I watched from the sidelines as teen pregnancy unfolded in our relatively small town. Back then I felt compelled enough about my feelings to write a Young Adult novel that I tried to sell to an agent unsuccessfully. Frankly, I had a long way to go on my skills though the determination was definitely there. That book became the seed of what evolved into The Willowbrook Saga, though the book actually dealing with that part of the timeline – radically revised – has not yet been released.

In the beginning , it hadn’t been my intent to build up a twisted town with an underground way of dealing with these issues, of which I personally don’t find acceptable. However the concept of one of the teachers secretly having been born through a teacher/student affair decades earlier came in fairly early in development, and exploring that became the real core to all that followed.

Just to be clear – I don’t believe that a lot of what the young women go through in my books are right. The idea I’m exploring is what do you do if you don’t know any different, and even if you do, what effort does it take to get away from something so entrenched in a culture – both personally and on a larger scale?

My respect for real life mothers is very strong and very real, even if I’m not in that club, and my hat is off to you. I just am exploring the making of choices in some rather strong environments.

For more on the series, see http://www.willowbrooknovels.com

Have been blogging just not here… August 31, 2013

Posted by shannonmuir in wisps of writing wisdom.
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The past month has meant considerable time and effort for both INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS at http://www.house-of-books.com and DISCOVERWORDS at http://www.discoverwords.com. Also, I was traveling a lot this month. All promised Comic-Con commentaries are now available at INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS.

Be sure to check both sites regularly to get information on books, often including interview questions I have supplied, as well as commentaries from me about the publishing business or the joy of “discovering words”.

PLACES TO ENJOY A BOOK August 23, 2013

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HONOR HARRINGTON book at Laundry

HONOR HARRINGTON book at Laundry


Recently I managed to complete a book it took me several years to finish. It took being at a laundromat where all I could do was focus on the book. I wonder what places people prefer to read.



The picture attached was an experiment in two ways. One, it was the first picture I took with Instagram – I know it’s a bit stretched out but I’m not sure how to compensate against the blog design. Also, in its original form, this one was the first post I attempted by mobile phone. It’s just too small an interface to do much effectively in. Going forward I need to make sure I take a larger mobile device when traveling.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on Discover Words and has been backdated accordingly.