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The end of this blog as Animated Insights August 23, 2014

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In recent months, I’ve still been blogging but none of it here. I’ve followed the tastes of my audience, and fragmented out to multiple blogs to reach people more selectively.

If you want to continue following my writing commentary and comments similar to what I’ve done here in the past, consider coming over to Muirwords by Shannon Muir at http://www.muirwords.com. It’s the same tone and style as this blog is, but I began to find the free version of WordPress limiting for my needs and that I could do this same style with more freedom over at my own setup. So please, those of you subscribed to a feed, hopefully you can easily do the same there. A selection of posts from here may ultimately be re-blogged there, I’m still deciding. This will also be where I talk about stories I put out with publishers such as Pro Se Productions or Emby Press.

If animation has been the appeal for you, I’m not really dealing with that exclusively at this point. Your best bet is probably the new home of Shannon Muir’s Animated Insights on Tumblr at http://www.animatedinsights.com. While it aggregates all my blogs there, I also do commentary on re-blogged animation or just share animation I find compelling or nostalgic and talk about it. I may also add in the occasional new text post as necessary, but a lot more is available online now than it was when I entered the arena years ago by people who are more on the cutting edge. I thank them for stepping up and doing so.

There are also other blogs and sites I run that might interest you:

http://www.house-of-books.com: Infinite House of Books primarily consists of author interviews based on questions provided by me to book blog tours and individual authors. They’re not the same stock questions being handed out to 50 sites at once, though authors always answer the same questions.
http://www.discoverwords.com: Discoverwords.com brings excerpts and cover reveals from various authors mainly in YA, New Adult, and various genre fiction areas
http://www.willowbrooknovels.com: The latest news and information on my Willowbrook Saga independently released e-books.
http://www.spontaneouschoices.com: The latest news and information on my e-books led by women fueled by passion (though not always the best decision makers as passion sometimes blinds their logic).
http://www.flying-glory.com: FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY is the long running web comic I’ve partnered up to co-write with Kevin Paul Shaw Broden that has been on the web since 2001.

Lastly, http://www.shannon-muir.com shows all the books and stories I’ve put out with links on how to buy each, as well as links out to all the above listed sites.

See you around the Internet, and thanks for your continued support!

All the best,
Shannon Muir


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.

Deciding A Story Arc – What Stays and What Goes? April 22, 2013

Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, NaNoWriMo, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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If you’ve followed the author’s notes at the start of the books of the WILLOWBROOK SAGA, there are mentions that I don’t exactly know how many books it is made up of. That is true, though I do know how it ends. I definitely know how the first five come together in the first arc, and what the three tentpoles are for what on my mind is the second arc.

The biggest question I have to ask myself in the moment is how much of my previously written first drafts will I end up throwing out, and with what I do, will I need to rewrite to replace it or does it all need to be excised?

Some major changes that happened as the earlier books evolved in the course of natural revision have invalidated some of the items in these first drafts so I have to change or remove those items. In one case I did a suplot that became a main plot in another non-Willowbrook movie later on (my one attempt at the now defunct Script Frenzy) and I think that the script story better handles the theme; as a result, I need to remove it from the Willowbrook texts.

The thing definitely is, with NaNoWriMo 2013 closing in within six months, I need to figure some of these elements out as the first book of the above mentioned tentpoles will be the book for the year. It’s the only one not written in any form – the other two first started out as a movie, and the other is a past NaNoWriMo manuscript – and needs to have the seeds planted in it to figure out the other two.

It’s hard to say farewell to bits of text you may have slaved a long time over, or just have written down off the top of your head. I always make sure to keep copies of the older drafts around though. You never know when you might be able to take from them later! I certainly did turn out to be able to do that with Willowbrook.

Almost at the Finish Line… October 22, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in Books, NaNoWriMo, the phoenix burns, the phoenix rises, truth revealed, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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Sounds like a phrase I should be using for NaNoWriMo, but that is next month. No, this is actually where things stand on ON THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH, the follow up to HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE.
I am getting close to done but the situation is similar to when I was working on DOWN TO THE ROOTS (I am still at the same job but I am done at the end of October). I’ve ended up doing more work at my day job then I thought. So while the manuscript may be done it might be in need of a slight polish.

What I did for DOWN TO THE ROOTS worked all right as far as the free first draft promotion went; however due to timing doing that as a promotion will overlap my NaNoWriMo free work in progress promotion of THE PHOENIX BURNS. I will probably do a ON THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH appearing at Smashwords only for at 99 cents  with coupon event while THE PHOENIX BURNS will be the one for free, and also plan a similar sale coupon for THE PHOENIX RISES.  This way people who want to continue the TRUTH REVEALED story can but not have to pay full price while I work on the edits.
One thing I have learned this year is that it is really hard to promise release dates in advance when you self-publish and work full time when you work in an industry that isn’t of the 9 to 5 variety. I think if you have a steady “day job” it’s a bit more doable. I really need to figure out how to approach this for 2013. It might just be that I devote myself to making the next 4 Willowbrook titles (which mainly are in need of edits as the material largely comes from past NaNoWriMos) and the next book in TRUTH REVEALED all that is on my plate for 2013.

We shall see.

DOWN TO THE ROOTS Final Version Out Now September 5, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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The final version of DOWN TO THE ROOTS has been released to Amazon and Smashwords, and pending Smashwords’ release to other outlets.

DOWN TO THE ROOTS available as “First Draft Free” August 27, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in fiction, novels, Smashwords, truth revealed, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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DOWN TO THE ROOTS, the second book in THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA, is now available with its first draft free via Smashwords. I’ve edited pretty well but it still needs some tightening. As I say in my piece about it over on The Willowbrook Novels blog, it’s best thought of more like being able to get an ARC. With all the delays involved and how busy I know I’ll be this week, keeping my promise of making it available in August was very important to me. It might be Labor Day weekend before I release the final version to all markets at the regular price of $2.99 USD.

Next up for me is the continuation of the TRUTH REVEALED SERIES, which hasn’t been worked on in nearly a year but is my most downloaded in terms of samples and when it is available free. Because of the sliding WILLOWBROOK SAGA deadline, the deadline for Book 2 of TRUTH REVEALED (called ON THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH) has moved to the end of October 2012. That’s about a year since I began the first book. You can follow the latest on the TRUTH REVEALED SERIES site.

Book 3 of THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA, called FILL THE INNER CIRCLE, I plan to finish before the end of 2012 but not committing on an exact date yet.

Starting to Present Previews of Next Book August 6, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in excerpt, new release, series, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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Over on willowbrooknovels.com, I released the first preview from DOWN TO THE ROOTS since the excerpt in the back of EVERYTHING CHANGES. This story has a lot of moving parts in it, and I’m really looking forward to finally getting it out. However, I know that this particular excerpt (other than perhaps some minor changes in spelling, dialogue, etc) is pretty well locked. That’s why I feel confident in sharing it… and showing everyone I really am working on something worth waiting for.

Back to work, both in day job and writing!

On Moving Release Dates Yet Again July 23, 2012

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Last night I announced on willowbrooknovels.com that DOWN TO THE ROOTS is moving to August. A lot of stuff happened this month that I know is going to prevent me getting a quality finished polished draft done by July 31st. I do have quite a bit done though.

In the meantime I have been proofing for print versions of THE HEART’S DUTY (2ND EDITION) and THE PHOENIX RISES, and as those come out on Amazon, I’ll make announcements at spontaneouschoices.com.

I just think if I rushed it would be a disservice to the readers. And readers always come first.

DOWN TO THE ROOTS to now be released July 2012 May 16, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in fiction, Kindle, news, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, work in progress, Writing.
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After a lot of hard thought, I decided yesterday to move the release of DOWN TO THE ROOTS,  the next book of The Willowbrook Saga, to July 2012. Many interviews I did said that the second book would be out this month and the third one in July (the release date for Book 3 is now to be determined, as I also want to release Book 2 of the TRUTH REVEALED series this summer if possible).
It was a tough decision, but in the end I didn’t want to compromise the quality of the book. When I designed my original production calendar for all my works – not only my series such as THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA and TRUTH REVEALED, but standalones like THE PHOENIX RISES which I released in February – I’d been without full time work for a while and so my structure was built upon that. I didn’t have a good gauge to sense how to balance full time work with book releases. Fortunately, in the last month or so, I’ve been able to work again but it did make an impact on my writing time. I’ve decided I’d rather move a date target and give a good quality product than rush to meet a previously promised date and not  do my best. My readers deserve more.

I’ve also decided not to release DOWN TO THE ROOTS through Amazon’s KDP Select program the way EVERYTHING CHANGES was. I think KDP Select can be effective, just like any tool, when used the right way. I definitely think it got more eyeballs to see the first book than it otherwise would have. However, I also think it unfair that readers who get to know me on other platforms now that EVERYTHING CHANGES released through Smashwords earlier this month have to wait three months more just because I delay a release date. The readers are first to me, always.

I definitely keep writing, but at a slower pace, yet I promise to finish the race.


The Guest Blogging Experience January 23, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, Books, ebooks, fiction, guest blog, indie, indie publishing, marketing, novels, promotion, publishing, self-publishing, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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Yesterday I did my first guest blog post ever. The site, Your Need to Read, aims to bring writers and readers together. The parameters given to me were pretty wide – anything I felt I thought might interest readers. Since the Author Spotlight I’d done for them only mentioned my latest book (being able to do this guest post came as part of the Author Spotlight opportunity), the most natural course seemed to be to plug all my titles in around 500 words. This was exactly why I dismissed it, because that seemed to be what people would expect.

I saw offered to me a chance to introduce myself to a whole new audience, and tell them something about myself as an author. It seemed to me that if they better understood my approach to writing in general, it would encourage interest in finding out about all my titles – after all, I figured the readers would be smart enough to go look up my name at various stores and take action, and my Author Spotlight also provided some contact information. The only marketing related hint I provided was a link to a site about information for my upcoming next release to try and build some buzz, but it was not the primary focus of the piece.

Personally, I really like the way it turned out and think that guest blogging is a great opportunity. I haven’t seen any dramatic effects just one day later, but since guest blogging’s main thrust is word of mouth – people see something there they may not have known about an author, and then tell their friends either in social media or in person what they learned – my thought is that this venue could take several days at least to show any results back to an author. At the very least, it allows an author a voice to a potential audience that otherwise might not know about them and perhaps get them engaged in what the author has to offer.