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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

Change as Inspiration March 17, 2014

Posted by shannonmuir in Advice.
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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.

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.

Ending 2012 the Write Way… December 31, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, Books, indie publishing, self-publishing, the phoenix burns, the phoenix rises, truth revealed, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga.
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In many ways I’m glad to see 2012 go. It wasn’t easy. But it brought a lot of good things as well.

Most of all, I finally expanded my work in indie self publishing and began introducing the world to the town of Willowbrook, something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started writing about it in NaNoWriMo in 2006 but many barriers got in my way to doing more with it. This year I released not one but three books in the fictional town, discovering both the location and characters from new points of view.

I also managed to fit in a visit back to Truth Knox, a new character who took me by surprise as I experimented with the paranormal in the form of psychic powers for NaNoWriMo 2011. Ironically, my work for NaNoWriMo 2012 would be what prevented me from releasing that when I planned.

As for my work, THE PHOENIX BURNS, written for NaNoWriMo 2012 – I am actually looking into some opportunities for this next generation follow up to THE PHOENIX RISES.  Once I get a better sense of my options in 2013, I’ll let you know.

I look forward to revising both Willowbrook and the world of Truth in2013, plus other new adventures along the way. Thanks so much for your support.

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 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.