Magical World

I write this post sitting in my living room using only the light of the windows since the power is out due to a snowstorm, and I can’t help but think: we live in a pretty magical world. And I don’t mean magic like witches and wizards and the paranormal (though those are definitely cool too!), but just this world. Nor do I mean to say we live in a perfect world. But even still, I think we can still take moments to remember that there is magic around us in so many amazing forms.

I’m inside my house, and though the heat is out and it’s just below freezing outside, I’m safe and warm. I mean, technically if the power’s out for any longer, I can light a fire like our ancestors used to have to, but it’s still an option here. Although I live in the country, I can still easily and quickly travel into nearby cities for whatever I need in relative speed and comfort. A tiny device like my phone or tablet can hold entire libraries worth of books and resources, at my fingertips. Although my phoneline is technically down, I can still contact the outside world using my cell.

Heck, thanks to this modern world, we’re being introduced to new ways to publish, share, and make our mark on the world. I no longer have to slave over handwriting versions of a very limited book, nor do I have to seek out a printer, nor a publisher. You don’t have to know me to buy my book, to find out about it. It exists in a nebulous realm of the electronic world where you can push a button, it will be printed, and someone will get it to you, not even at great expense. Think of all those options we have, how much easier our lives have been made with these conveniences and modern marvels, because while we might barely give them any thought, they really are marvels.

I’m using the last of the juice left on my tablet (already used up my laptop’s very sad battery), and I’m writing something that could be seen by someone miles away, in different countries, just minutes after I post it. Before the invention of the telegraph, the fact that you had to physically get something in front of someone for them to see / hear about it was just the way life was. Now, think how much the world has changed even since the prevalance of smart phone has changed our lives and society forever? News can be shared the moment it happens. People I’ve never actually met can hear about me, my little book, my little life so easily via things like social networking, and then there’s the entire world of possibilities that the internet opens up. 

Indeed, yes, there is a darkside to the speed and connectedness our modern society has and the world we live in. But just right now, I want you to imagine the magic. I want you to look for it. Yes, there are terrible things happening in our world all the time, and sadly, there probably always will be. And we need to try to alleviate suffering and do our best to make that world better. But I also believe that means we need to sometimes step back and look for the magic, look for the joy this world has to offer. Because it’s there too, if you remember to look for it. 

So I’m asking you now: what magic can you see in the world around you right now? I love comments. 🙂 

Thanks for reading. And hey, want more magic? I’m starting a newsletter where each month I’ll share 5 magical things I see in my world, and I invite you to share those too. Come visit me at shellychalmers.com to chat, sign up for the blog or my newsletter, or just share some of the magic of the world.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember: there’s always magic in the world if you look hard enough. 

A Dream of a Dream

I can’t really remember how long I’ve dreamed of becoming a published author. At least since junior high when I wrote my first novel which was…well, let’s just say “awhile” ago so I don’t look too old. 😉

But as I prepare to actually launch my first book into the world in…hmm, just under a month today, actually, I’ve thought a lot about what it means achieve that dream. Or if all I’d ever really had was a dream of a dream.

I’ve never been short on imagination, which is probably part of what led me to writing in the first place. So I think I must have had a vision or dream of what it meant to be published. Lots of it was probably deluded, which fortunately isn’t uncommon among new writers. 😉 But as I came to better understand the industry–and that those dreams of huge advance checks, accolades, early success, etc were all fairly unlikely, I started to develop a different vision.

I pictured working with an editor, how I’d always turn in my book on schedule, be easy to work with while still knowing when it was worth disagreeing. I probably wouldn’t be a top author, especially not early on, but I’d slowly keep building my readership and moving up at one publishing house, and then hopefully branch out to others, like self-publishing and becoming a hybrid-author, aided by the business-savvy guidance of my agent.

Confession: I think I felt I needed someone else’s approval before I was able to make my dream a reality. The same kind of approval you get in school, when you get good grades and your parent-teacher nights are mostly them saying nice things about you. And I think I kind of expected / wanted that. That approval would become a kind of validation that yes, my writing was good, someone wanted it–and someone other than friends or people who were otherwise personally associated with me. 😉

Yet, that’s not what happened. I’ve had different marks of validation: I was fortunate enough to final in RWA’s the Golden Heart® Contest. I’d had interest and enthusiasm from agents and editors. But in the end, no sales.  I found I’d reached a point of frustration where it didn’t seem to matter what I did, it was out of my hands. But worse, I was letting outside forces determine the worth of my writing…and my worth.

Fortunately, traditional publishing isn’t the only way to get published these days. And many other authors–excellent writers and braver than me–have turned to independent publishing years before I did, which allowed me to ask them for advice and guidance before diving in myself. All of which allowed me to create a different version of my dream.

Must Love Plague: Sisters of the Apocalypse, Book 1 Available today at all retailers. Amazon Apple  Barnes & Noble  Kobo   Google  Chapters

I still worked with an editor, but it was someone I selected and hired. I still turned in my book on time, but I was mostly turning it in to myself, since I now determined the entire schedule. I didn’t have to wait to see what the art department came up with for my cover, since I decided which artist to hire and we worked together to create a cover I adore.  I formatted my books and put them up for sale. And as of last week, I formatted the print version, and for the first time got excited about my book being in readers’ hands. And holding my printed and bound book in MY hands.

I still want to pursue a traditional publishing path as well, since I still want to be a hybrid author (and not just because it sounds like something cool–half-traditional, half-indy – almost a werewolf!) 😉 I’ve just realized that maybe what I had before was a dream of a dream, with all the naive and indefinite fuzziness that requires. But now I’m moving toward something much more tangible. I’m walking that path instead of just picturing it. And you know what? The sky is clear, the fog is clearing, and I’m feeling pretty good.

Have you ever had that? A dream of a dream that turned out so much differently in reality? I love to read comments. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by to read. And remember: if we look hard enough, there’s always magic in the world.

Paranormal Creature: Fomorian

Today I thought I’d introduce you to one of the creatures from my new series. Unfortunately (and possibly since they’re mythical beasts), I don’t have a great picture or etching for you, so you’ll have to use your imagination, okay?

The beast I want to introduce you to is the Fomorian. I tend to always like adding an extra “r” for some random reason (foRmorian), so you remember not to, okay?

These creatures were originally related to the myth of the Irish Tuatha, what some also associate with the fey / fairies. The Fomorians, though, were far from pretty. They were known as sea-based raiders / warriors, enemies of the Tuatha who had the head of a goat…and sometimes only one leg (nope, I have no idea how fierce they’d be with only one leg either…maybe they hopped really fast?) They could sometimes have wings, and they were not the kind of creature you messed with.

The other theory, and the one I’ve gone with, is the idea that they were some kind of latent / partial demon. Again, probably not the friendliest sort. 😉

Honestly, I’m not quite sure where I first heard about them, (though you can go find them on Wikipedia, and by doing a random Google search – you start to pop up some information, including their use in modern RPGs). But they became the inspiration for the hero and his twin in the first book of my Sisters of the Apocalypse series. Personally, I find the creatures who aren’t very popular, who could potentially be dangerous, but also misunderstood, these are the kinds of roots I want for my characters.

Plus, even better is how little information you find about them, which makes the Fomorians even more intriguing to me. The Tuatha are fairly well-known–and might I add perhaps a bit popular because of their renown beauty?–so what about these warriors they feared? Indeed, they did occasionally intermarry, suggesting too that other than their formidable fighting skill, the Fomorians themselves may have possessed some level of magic.

So, what do you think – are you as intrigued by the Fomorians as I was? Any theories on how they could get around with only one leg? Pop your answer in the comments below.

Otherwise, thanks for stopping by the read. And remember: if you look hard enough, there’s always magic in the world.

Must Love Plague: Cover Reveal and Pre-order up Today!

I have news…as of today, you can officially pre-order my first book, Must Love Plague. Even better, it’ll cost you less if you pre-order before the official release date, October 11, 2017. Cue wild Kermit the frog flailing. See? That whole count-down thing on my website wasn’t just there to look pretty (or to stress me out…though it’s been doing plenty of that, too.) 😉

Because I love you best, you also get the first look at the beautiful cover, designed by Christa Holland of Paper and Sage Designs. I’m both so excited and terribly nervous about releasing this particular baby out into the world – and I’m hard at work on book two, Must Love Famine.

So come and take a chance: visit the town of Beckwell, where myth holds a grain of truth, magic is real…and the four horsewomen of the apocalypse are back in town.

Must Love Plague: Sisters of the Apocalypse, Book 1

Blurb:

Spreading disease isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Piper Bane wants nothing to do with her pesky Pestilence bloodline and would give anything to be a Normal. In fact, she put Beckwell–land of the paranormal and home of the weird–in her rear-view ten years ago, and hasn’t been back since. Until an invitation to her best friend’s wedding coaxes her back home and reminds her what it means to continue the legacy of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. She receives a typical Beckwell welcome the second she reaches the city limits where she’s stalked by a toad and wraps her car around a tree. And is rescued by the one person she most wants to avoid: Daniel Quilan. Town doctor, genuine nice guy, and her ex-fiancé.

Ten years hasn’t been long enough for Daniel Quilan to forget the only woman he’s ever loved. His responsibilities as Beckwell’s only doctor keeps his mind off the hole Piper Bane left in his chest when she broke his heart and skipped town all those years ago. His not-so-ordinary patients and his trouble-making twin brother keep Daniel occupied twenty-four-seven, not to mention magic going haywire throughout town. But his plan to stay busy as the town’s golden boy is shattered when his latest patient turns out to be Piper. How good she looks isn’t his concern. How she still makes fire shoot through his veins isn’t his focus. But the fact that someone wants to end the world and will use Piper to do so……that makes her impossible to ignore.

Available through:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Apple  Google   Kobo   Chapters Indigo

Thanks so much for sharing my news with me, and if you’d like to share, I’d be ever so grateful. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by, and remember: if you look hard enough, there’s always magic in the world.

The Stressed Writer

You know the feeling: you’ve got deadline sneaking up on you, a billion things to get done, none of them done (or it sure doesn’t feel that way), or, and usually, anything you do either takes ten times longer than necessary, or you mess it up the first time around…and it still takes ten times longer. And then you’re asked to be creative, get words down on that latest project.

*Cue crazed-writer laughter here.*

How are those words going to go? If you’re like me – and many other writers I know – not well. Yes, I’m certain there are people who thrive on those last-minute, to-the-wall deadlines. I am not one of them. I can handle stress, but I don’t like it. My mind is going a million directions, but curiously, none of those directions seems to be remotely pointed at my latest WIP. 

Clearly, this is a problem. What to do about it? Since this, ahem, *might* be an issue I’m dealing with right now, let’s look at some potential solutions as well, shall we? 

  1. Can you reduce your stress-load? Are you carrying some stress that’s unnecessary? Worrying about the what-ifs and would-haves that really, you can’t do anything about anyway? Drop ’em. Are you stressing more about what you’re not accomplishing? That’s *probably* not helping. 😉 
  2. Have some fun. Oh, don’t worry, I hear your shouts and screams – “I have a million things to do, I’m already behind, I don’t have time for the luxury of fun!” And here’s where I say: sounds like you need to have some fun! As adults, often we underestimate the value and importance of fun, but when it comes to our creativity, it’s not just an option – it’s a necessity. We need to take care of that inner child who’s also often pretty important when it comes to our creativity. So have some fun. By all means, don’t take too much time, but make sure you have some. 
  3. Drop some of the expectations. There are expectations all around us – and the hardest of them are often those we have for ourselves. You’re not too old, not too slow, not too anything. Maybe you haven’t accomplished everything you wanted to in the amount of time you wanted to. Maybe your to-do list keeps getting longer, while the to-do list looks pretty short and sad in comparison. That’s okay. Celebrate those successes, and then do what you can, do your best, and just keep moving forward. All the rest is not helping you, so let it go. 
  4. Rid yourself of the guilt. Didn’t get the words written you were supposed to this weekend? Behind on your schedule? Word count looking low? Okay. So either accept it and move forward, or just leave it alone. Letting it stress you out is likely to only push you further behind schedule. So let it go. 
  5. Leave room for the story. All of this other noise? That’s what can drown out the story. So listen to your characters. Take them out to play, maybe in a scene or short-story that might never see the light of day. The point is to start hearing the seductive whisper of your story again. Then let that whisper drown out everything else. 
  6. Sit down, write, do your best – and revise in the morning. You can’t edit the blank page. So put some words down. Who knows – some of them might be better than you think. 
So, those are my ideas to move forward tomorrow. Yes, I’m stressed about my book coming out in less than 50 days (who knew installing that count-down clock would be such a terrible idea?? Note: perhaps add “don’t give your source-of-stress a visible count-down clock.”) But, I also have a scene in the next book that’s been waiting a while now: a wedding night scene where all I know is what does NOT happen. 😉 
 
I love to hear from you. So tell me, what techniques and tips do you have to write through your stress? Or reduce your stress so you can write? Or, are you one of those people who’s stress doesn’t affect their writing? Share in the comments. 🙂 
 
Thanks for reading, and wishing you a terrific week ahead. And remember: there’s always magic in the world if you look hard enough. 🙂 

A Pinterest-ingly Strange Post

One of my paintings from an idea on Pinterest

Yes, very well – I confess I *might* be playing around with my new website and taking it back out for a test-drive, as it were. And the title? Couldn’t resist, I suppose. 

BUT, there is actually a point, promise. I wanted to share one of my other obsessions… which rather conveniently also allows me to indulge in other obsessions, simultaneously. I’m speaking, of course, of Pinterest. If you’re curious, here’s a link to come find my page and boards (I’ll have to see if I can create links for that on my website.)

https://www.pinterest.com/shellychalmers5/

Here you’ll find some of my various interests (and also where I’ve spent far too many hours.) I guess it gives you a bit of insight into the kind of person I am and some of my interests. There are quite a few boards dedicated to writing. If you’re curious, these might offer visuals that I used to inspire me, especially in the early stages of the book, and when I was thinking about how to choose cover and branding images.

Writing related: 

  • Sisters of the Apocalypse Series (this board is dedicated to my Sisters of the Apocalypse series and images that inspired me.)
  • Potential Hero Inspiration board (as of writing this there are 144 pins of eye-candy here – ahem, I’m a bit surprised by that.)
  • Writing (This board is a bit of a mishmash of writing prompts I liked, inspiration, tips, etc.)
  • Potential Heroine Inspiration Board (it only seemed right since the heroes have one…though only 14 pins here.)
  • Setting Inspiration (images and ideas that inspire and spark the imagination – perhaps for stories in the future.)
  • Frozen Star Series (this one is dedicated to my Regency-Firefly space opera)
  • DLS Series (This board is a further-curated version of the Regency Paranormal Series board.)
  • Regency Paranormal Series (Another big series of mine, and lots of images here)
  • Sanctuary (My first official board for writing, actually, related to another paranormal series about the town of Sanctuary.)
  • Inspirational Quotes (I love some great quotes, many of these about perseverance and staying strong.)
After that we enter the monster-area of crafting and DIY, both of which I also adore. If you’re more curious about some of the projects I HAVE completed, feel free to drop by my other blog, Craft Room Chronicles, where I have pictures and tutorials of everything from my miniatures to paintings and other projects.
 
Crafting 
  • DIY Crafts (a HUGE board that I probably should have sub-divided, these are all sorts of projects I want to try.)
  • DIY Your Own Miniatures (perhaps the biggest board.)
  • Fantasy Dollhouse (Another biggy, I’m working on creating a Fantasy Dollhouse right now, and these are inspiration.)
  • Kids Crafts (Crafts to do with my kids, and for them.)
  • Pirate Miniatures (Another miniature project, my pirate tavern which is forever-under-construction.)
  • Quarter 1/4 Scale Miniatures (a smaller scale of miniatures, more tutorials and inspiration)
  • Miniatures (not to be confused with all the other mini-boards, this one is mostly inspiration and pretty pictures.)
  • Airbrush (a board to supposedly help me start to use my airbrush and compressor…which currently terrify me.) 😉 
  • Painting Ideas (my inspiration and attempt to get better at acrylic painting.)
  • Ceramic Painting Ideas (different patterns and ideas to paint on teapots.)
  • Polymer Clay Projects and DIY (I love working with polymer clay, and these are some techniques and projects to try.)
  • Wire Wrapping and Beading Projects (more DIY projects – I have oodles of beads.)
  • Gift Ideas (since I like making things, makes since that I have to give them away. A lot.) 😉 
  • Shadow Boxes (something new I’ve been playing with, especially since they make great gifts.)
From there, we enter the “other” category, which I’m sharing just in case you’re interested. 
Other
  • Recipes to Try (these looked yummy and easy, two of my main requirements for recipes.) 
  • Basement / decor (these are home-based DIY projects of the small-scale variety – my house can’t handle the larger ones.) 😉 
  • Outdoors (these are both DIY projects for the garden, to decking and other lovely outdoor spaces I dream of.)
  • Antique and Vintage Stoves (another obsession, I actually have a cookstove from c.1920…but still love to look at others.)
  • Kids birthday ideas (Ideas for my two beautiful girls, some of which I’ve actually used.)
  • Teapots (My husband will assure you I don’t need any more…I have at least 20 in real life, but I still like to look.) 🙂 
  • Funny (many of these are geek-type humor, and a lot of fun. Check these out for a laugh.)
  • Seth Thomas Clock (my great-uncle gave me a clock very similar to the first one shown, and I’d love to know more about it.)
So, what do you think? Yes, I have a whole lot of boards, and hopefully you found something interesting in there. What about you – do you play around on Pinterest? Do you ever make / use any of the ideas you find there? Please tell me I’m not the only one. 🙂 
 
Thanks for reading, and wishing you a great week ahead. And remember: there’s always magic in the world if we look hard enough. 

 

New Website Almost Ready!

I’ve been working hard (Read: tearing my hair out and cursing a bit), but the new website is almost ready to go!If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably seeing the new digs. What do you think?

You might have noticed that there’s also a new domain name. That’s okay. The old one will be coming back as well (because two is definitely better than one!)

What’s up next around here?

  • I’m working on formatting Must Love Plague, and once that’s all ready to go, I’ll be getting it ready for sale and you’ll get your first peek at the cover (I’ve given you a hint of the cover, but it’s so much better in person.) 🙂
  • I’m at work both on stories to go in the Shades of Beckwell series, plus working on Must Love Famine – because what could be better than a marriage of convenience in modern times…and a very dirty-minded grasshopper companion?

Thanks for sticking around, and I hope you enjoy the new place. I’m settling in, and hope to make it an even better experience for you all the time. So poke around, let me know what you think, what might be missing.

And remember, the world always holds some magic if we look hard enough.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Still here, Change on the Horizon!

Hey out there!

I know, I know…it’s been FOREVER since I last wrote a post, hasn’t it?

Well, in my world a fair bit has been happening. Some good, some definitely not-so-good. We’ll start with the dark and finish up on the light side, shall we?

Dark header v2
This is one of the headers I was considering…but I think I like my current version best now. What do you think??

Last year became a bit of a challenge as, frankly, I became quite frustrated with my career trajectory and perseverance became, well, even harder. I’m so very happy for the success of my wonderful and extremely talented friends, but I’m also human. It can be challenging to see every one else seem to race forward while I linger in the dust. So, I made the decision that this year, I would take charge of my own career and, more importantly, how I determine the worth of my writing and stories. Which means I intend to enter Indy-publishing, which both excites and terrifies me to an almost equal degree.

Having decided all this, events started to move forward…and then my grandfather became very ill. No, he wasn’t a young man (94 to be exact), and honestly, we’ve feared losing him for going on a decade now with various health concerns. But ever the optimist–and stubborn as heck (something I proudly carry on)–he continued to bounce back. Until this June. His prognosis wasn’t good…and it rapidly declined. Now, I see my grandparents at least once a week, and I’m so happy they’ve gotten to know my two daughters as well. Of course, this also made it so much harder to see him decline. And then, in early July, to pass. Needless to say: not exactly the happy part. So, yeah…that’s been a challenge too.

BUT (I promised good news, remember??), drumroll please…My first book, Must Love Plague, will be released this year, October 11, 2017. Which is pretty darned exciting, and definitely some positive news. Stay tuned for a cover reveal and pre-order links which I’m getting close to producing. I’m just finalizing the formatting now, and then progress will move onto the uploading-for-sale phase.

I’ve also been working on a connected series, Shades of Beckwell, which is set in the same magical town, and offers up romances for some of the other paranormal residents. The Shades themselves are a semi-secret group based on a group of older gentlemen I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year…and who *might* have a tendency to meddle and play matchmaker. This series, and in particular the hero of this group, is dedicated to my grandfather, and which I told him about in June.

You’ll also notice some changes around here. I’ve been working on fixing up my branding and tidying up the website (which, ahem, like the blog may have been a *tad* neglected.) But there are good things ahead here, and I hope the same can be said for you out there.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, and remember: there’s always magic in the world if we look hard enough.

Trailer Reveal for RACE THE DARKNESS

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Cover2Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 4, 2016


PRE-ORDER NOW
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Cursed with a terrible gift…
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them…
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

 

 

 


IMG_2582Abbie Roads

Seven Things about Abbie Roads:
1. She loves Snicker Parfaits. Gotta start with what’s most important, right?
2. She writes dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.
3. By day she’s a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. At night she burns up the keyboard. Well… Burn might be too strong a word. She at least sits with her hands poised over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike. And when it does—the keyboard might get a little warm.
4. She can’t stand it when people drive slowly in the passing lane. Just saying. That’s major annoying. Right?
5. She loves taking pictures of things she thinks are pretty.
6. She’s represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary.
7. Her first book RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order.

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Paranormal Romance with a touch of magic, a sense of humor, and a dab of geek.