COVER REVEAL and Book News!

Today is the big COVER REVEAL day for my new novella coming this fall!! I started writing Falling For You after Bake My Day was published, but then decided to put it aside to work on the next novel instead. Book 3, which I’m hoping to release this winter, I wrote during NaNoWriMo last November, pushing Falling For You to the side. Fast forward to this summer…I decided to dust it off and finish it! It’s set in the same town of Maple Falls and will follow Ali’s story which will continue into book 3 as a secondary story. It’s fun and a little adventure along the way, finding out who really loves her and how lucky she is to have those special people in her life.

I’m planning on an early to mid October release, depending on the timeline of a few more steps I have to take to get it finished. Once the kids are back in school, I can devote a little more time to it. For the next two weeks while they are still home for the summer, they will take priority 🙂

And now….the cover!!! I hope you love it as much as I do!

fallingforyou-graupman-ebookweb

It matches perfect with the theme of Bake My Day to continue on with the series!! I love the work Christa does at Paper and Sage! I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a custom book cover.

Once I have a better idea of a release date, I’ll let you all know and I’ll have it available for preorder soon!! To keep up on my current book info, you can sign up for my NEWSLETTER HERE.

Have a great day!

Shannon

When your pants won’t cooperate!

Plotter vs. pantser……I never really knew which one I was. I suppose it depends on the book. While writing Bake my Day, I was a complete pantser, but with the two I’m currently working on, I can’t seem to follow that same format.

In the past, before writing Bake my Day, I thought in order to have a solid story and for all of the storylines and such to flow correctly, I needed to have every scene spelled out ahead of time and follow along with my notes. But I never finished a story I started.

Then comes NaNoWriMo! I decided to participate in too short of time to plan, to sit down and write an entire novel in 30 days with no outline and no planning. As soon as my fingers hit the keyboard, I knew I had a story in me that was dying to get out. I began typing and the words came with little to no blocks along the way. While there are many people out there that cannot do that, I was pleasantly surprised that I could. I felt as though I had more freedom to be creative without a “plan” already in place that I felt I had to follow.

Now that I am trying to write more stories, I feel like I don’t have the same flow as I did on the first. I’m not sure if I’m thinking too hard, or if I’m taking too long in between writing sessions where I can’t remember where I left off in order to pick it back up again.

As frustrated as I am with it, I will not give up on the process. My plan for this evening is to read through my novella that is currently in the works and take notes on what I have written so far. I’m hoping that will help me to pick it back up again and get this first draft finished. My goal is to have this one out before the next novel planned for late 2017.

As a planner in every other aspect of my life, I truly enjoyed the process of “pantsing” my last novel. I think it is important to look at both methods along your writing journey, or any other journey you may be on, and figure out what works best to get you to the goal you have set for yourself.

Be sure to check back later this week for a great interview I have coming up with author Courtney Walsh, getting to know her and all about her wonderful new novel Just Look Up, releasing on July 4th!

Shannon

Back online

We are finally settled into our new house!! As much work as it was to hammer out everything right away, unpacking the hundreds of boxes, I’m so glad we did. I think we have 5-6 boxes left that may or may not be labeled as “misc junk” that I plan to deal with later, but for the most part, every room is set up and its starting to feel like home. The kids are so happy here and they have so much more space to run around in, including their own rooms.

We’ve been in our new place about 2 1/2 months now and we just figured out how to get wifi from our phones. Yes, I know, many people do this and how did I not know about it. Well, I didn’t. But, I really enjoyed the break and felt very unplugged. We have had dvd’s and local channels only on our tv. It was really nice to have minimal tv access as we found we spent more time doing activities instead of sitting around watching shows. My kids tablets sat with drained batteries for months and they played more with their toys and each other. I now allow them very limited wifi access every couple of days, but not even close to what they had before. I have enjoyed having access to my laptop again, probably the only thing I really missed. With summer coming, we will continue to keep a low profile in the electronics area.

I’ve finally started falling into more of a routine, one of them being my writing. I have been plugging away at book 2 for a few weeks now and it’s going well. I had a novella planned in between, but tucked it away once we put our house up for sale. I wasn’t sure I could give it the time it needed with the busyness of life and with another full length novel in progress that I was hoping to release Fall of 2017.

Well, I pulled the novella out last week and started reading through it again. After reading through my notes, I remember tucking it away when I got to a tough spot and got stuck. Funny thing about writer’s block; it eventually goes away all by itself. I picked up right where I left off and was able to finish my outline and the major parts to move the story along. Though novellas are much shorter, I’m still worried about the time it will take to finish and the timeline I would like to release it if I am able to finish.

I’m still going to use the time that I can to plug away at them both, hoping to keep them moving along at a steady pace. The novella is in it’s first draft, while the novel is in it’s second. Working on two projects at the same time seems a bit intimidating, but the one perk is when I get stuck on one, I can place it to the side and pick up on the other. They are both set in Maple Falls as the first one was, so I am having a lot of fun writing the same characters as well as introducing a bunch of new ones.

Hoping to update again soon!

Shannon

 

New Year, New Book, New House

Happy New Year! I hope the first month of the year has been good to you all. It has been a very busy start for my family so far. We put our house up for sale just before the holidays and will be moving soon. Between packing boxes, I’ve tried to squeeze in a little work on book 2.

I participated in NaNoWriMo again back in November and luckily was able to power through my first draft. A couple days ago, I reached the end of chapter 2 on my second draft. While I wish I could find a little more time than I am giving it right now, I know soon I will be able to. I have quickly found out that moving a family of 6 takes a LONG time and a LOT of boxes! My new house will have an office overlooking the front yard and I can already picture myself writing there…

A little bit about book 2! It will be taking place in Maple Falls again, surrounded by some familiar characters, as well as a few new ones. The main character in this book will be Mary Bradford. If you read book one, you will remember her from the coffee shop. She is Linda’s (the owner of the coffee shop) daughter. She was briefly introduced in the craft night scene and again later at the coffee shop. It will be set around Christmas time may or may not be wedding bells 🙂  More to come about book 2 soon!

Back to packing more boxes and praying for warmer weather closer to the move. Moving in winter in MN is anything but ideal, but I did happen to see a few 40’s peek in to the forecast coming up.

Have a wonderful week and I’ll update again soon!

Shannon

The edits are in!

Today was the deadline for my editor to have my manuscript completed and returned to me. I just received it and cannot wait to get to work on them and finally have a FINAL draft of my book!! She said that she really enjoyed editing it and that she was a big fan of my story and the message I put out there. She also told me that I did a great job with my first novel and that it is definitely ready to publish!!

It was such a huge relief to hear that, especially from someone else who doesn’t know me. I have let only a couple of people read a chapter or two, and my best friend read the entire thing. She is the only one other than my editor to read it through completely. I have loved the feedback from both and the support and encouragement they have given me that I can do this.

Having support and encouragement along the way has been huge!! Writing is a pretty solitary task and let me tell you, self doubt is a real pain. It creeps in WAY more times in a day than I would like and is not a friend of mine. Having those people close to you reassure you that you are doing a good job, that your writing doesn’t suck as much as you may think it does, and to give you that push to finish and see it through to the end is priceless!!

Like I have said before, I wrote my first story in 4th grade and I have dreamed of reaching this point for SO many years!! I am giddy and nervous and other things I cannot even describe to be this close and having my dream soon be a reality. To be able to see my story in a physical book that I can hold in my hand will be such an amazing moment! If all goes well and according to plan, that should be happening in the next 2 months!!!

If you are out there with a dream that you want more than anything…GO FOR IT! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, that you aren’t good enough, that no one needs what you can put out there. Truth is, someone does need it and they are out there waiting for it as you read this. Don’t deny the world your talents. Make simple goals along the way, and little by little, you will get there. I have waited 23 years to get to this point and I am so close! I set little goals along the way and they have all been reached.

I am a mother of 4 young children ranging from 9 years old down to 2 years old. I don’t have a lot of extra time in a day to write, but I make sure to do something. If it is only 50 words, 100 words, it still counts towards my finished project. Consistency is the key to success. Keep plugging away at your goals and before you know it, you will reach them.

The world needs your work.

You can do it!

Shannon

The Waiting Game

Over the past two weeks or so while I have been waiting for my book to come back from my editor, I have been using that time to begin the next book in the series. I sat down the other night and mapped out each of the scenes, chose the characters who will appear in each of them, and where they will take place. I know that once I get book 1 back, it will take me away from book 2 so I am trying to get a good solid layout on it while I have the extra time. Book 2 is going to be a novella so I am hoping the process will go quickly and smoothly for the most part.

Once I get my edits back, I will once again go through it and read all of her notes, making changes along the way when needed. Once I am happy with the final draft, I will then send it off to my formatter. I still have to finalize all of that as I do not know how long the edits will take me to complete. I received a message from my editor saying that she is really enjoying my book and that there are notes along the way but nothing major as far as story structure and plot go which was a relief!

I have hired my book cover designer and purchased my stock photo!!! I love the photo just as it is so I can’t wait to see it with my title and name on it! I know I will love it even more. I am on their schedule for the week of Oct 3-7. How it will work is I will give her all of my information ahead of time; stock photo, back cover blurb, author bio & photo, links, etc. and on the morning of Oct 3rd, I will be sent my first proof of the cover. She will have designed it beforehand and then we will work together over the next 5 days to make it perfect. I will have 2 proofs to look at in the end. I have been following her covers for months now and love her work so I have no doubt that she will do an amazing job.

Along with the cover design, I have chosen to add a custom title page and chapter headers to match the font that will be on the front cover. I could have just used plain text but as a personal preference, I love the look of matching text throughout and feel like it will just add that extra touch to my book.

The ebook cover will be complete within the week, but I may not get the print cover right away. My title page and chapter headers won’t be available until that week also so I will have to send them off to my formatter to add and complete first. The cover designer will need a final page count for the spine to be just right so it may take an additional week or so.

Once those two things are complete, it really just comes down to uploading the files correctly and lining up everything on Createspace. As a first time author, it may take me a little longer to figure it all out but I won’t give up until it is finished!!

I have been counting down the days until the editing is complete to move forward in the final steps of the process. I have never gotten this far in my writing and I get more and more excited about it each day as the date gets closer to seeing it again.

As of right now, I plan to reveal my cover around the second week of October and my hope is to release the book in November. I know this process is A LOT of work so I am going to accept that it may be December if need be. 2016 is the year I told myself that I would finally have a book in print out in this world and I will work night and day to see that it happens!

I can’t wait to share more of my book with you in the upcoming weeks and finally be able to introduce you to my characters!!

Shannon

 

 

 

I have an editor!

Last week I decided it was finally time to move forward. I had been over and over my book a lot and I knew I just had to rip the band aid off and do it. I knew everything wasn’t perfect and I could have probably gone over it twenty more times but I decided not to.

I placed an ad for an editor on Upwork.com one night after the kids were in bed and in the first hour, I received 5 applicants. I thought that was a lot and was so excited to read their profiles. Within the next day or two, I had 32 applicants who wanted to edit my novel. Feeling completely overwhelmed on which one was the right one for me, I started with the pricing.

When you post an ad, you can post the amount of money you would like to pay for the services needed. I removed a few whose initial bids were well out of my price range. Not that their services weren’t worth the money, but it was not a price I could pay right now. Most of the applicants were bidding the exact cost of my request which made it hard to choose.

I then moved on to read their proposal written to me about why they wanted to work for me and some included samples of previous things they had edited. Most were written to me but some were just a generic post that they must copy and paste on everything they apply for. Those didn’t seem very personal to me and I really liked the ones who took the three minutes it probably took to address me as a specific client.

Next I was able to view their previous jobs, feedback from other people who had hired them, and scores of spelling and grammar tests they took through the website. After looking at all of these parts, I definitely learned A LOT!!

Here are a few things that turned me off from hiring the ones I chose to pass on. Hopefully this will help you if you ever post a job and will help you by pointing out several things to look for.

  • A professional photo: Some photos were a really disturbing selfie that I found to be very unprofessional. Judging a book by its cover, I know, but for what I am paying, I would like to work with a person who at least appears to be taking this job seriously.
  • Good grammar in their writing: I read one applicants bio and he used no spaces after commas and his grammar was terrible. If it is not written correctly on their end, I have a hard time trusting that they will edit my work well.
  • Good test scores: A few of the applicants scored very low on their spelling tests or English grammar tests. Both I feel are very important skills at least in this job I was asking for. Most were in the top 10% or so but several scored below average.
  • Read their entire query: One lady looked like a good fit at the beginning but as I read further, she told me that she was by no means an editor but loved to read books. Though I’m sure she could offer great feedback, I was looking for someone with editing experience.
  • Ask for a sample of their work: I looked at many samples and they varied greatly! One had added one comma near the top of the page and removed a comma near the bottom. Another had a full word by word edit, rearranging words, punctuations, spelling, through the entire article. Depending on what you are looking for, be sure to look into this. The one I hired had extremely thorough editing.

These are just a couple of the things that really helped me decide on who was right for me. I ended up narrowing it down to two people in the end. One was $100 over my bid, one was $50 under. Feeling both prices were still in my comfort zone, it came down to their experience and editing samples. I felt like one was more of what I was looking for and she had a very reasonable turnaround time so I wrote up the contract and she approved!!

She is scheduled to have the project completed in 3 weeks so I am eagerly sitting back waiting for what comes back. This is a huge part of the writing process and to have it started is very exciting for me!! Once this step is complete, the rest isn’t as stressful and I’m looking forward to seeing it through to the end!

For the next 3 weeks, my plan is to move forward on my outline for book 2. So far I have the characters and a couple ideas. Looking forward to getting some words on the page and see the next installment come to life!

Shannon