Whazzup, Writing-Wise

We interrupt my periodic reflections on walking around Germany to bring you – *drumroll* – actual authorial updates!

1) Anthologically Speaking

Guess who’s got another short story slated to appear in an anthology? *points to self* This gal! Coming to you from my word-bro Alexander Nader and his Hair Brained Press, it’s “Manifest Reality”, a horror antho of stories focusing on the twisted sh*t in our heads™.

(To my knowledge, that is not actually the book’s trademark, just how Alex once described it on Twitter.)

Word is the collection should drop around Valentine’s Day – because nothing says “crazy-commercialized day of lovers” like a psychotic tale or thirteen, amirite? Further details to come as time marches on. Stay tuned. (And if you’d like to nab an early copy for review, poke me or Alex. We probably won’t tell you “no” and run you out of town. No promises, though.)

2) Novel News

A large part of #NaNoWriMo2015 was a throwback to my first-ever NaNo, back in 2010. I spent the first half of this past November (yes, even while on a river cruise across Europe – insanity or bust) going through the last big edits on my next big publication. Ladies, gentlemen, and miscellaneous so-and-sos, I am thrilled to announce that my Outlaws of Avalon trilogy will make its debut this summer – beginning, of course, with Book One, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”!

*Not the actual cover*
*Not the actual cover*

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

This is it, you guys! Of all the series I’ve ever written (heck, maybe even among all the series I’ve ever read), this one is dearest to my heart. And now the manuscript is all but complete, the cover art is underway, and the finished product is scheduled to launch this July.

Ballad ARC Request

If YOU are a reader who’s game to give a contemporary Robin Hood fantasy a whirl, I wanna hear about it! Click the pic above to go fill out the request form I figured out how to whip up (*victory dance*), and I’ll send an eARC your way.

“Rejoice, my fangirls-‘n’-boys!” Will Scarlet says, grinning ear to ear. “The wait for my official story draws to a close! Slowly. Excruciatingly so. Rejoice and die of impatience, basically.”

3) [Ever] On the Blog

I haven’t committed to blogging on a regular schedule since I fled to Europe. And you know what? I’m enjoying the freedom more than I thought I would. (Fun Deshipley fact: I don’t tend to enjoy things that lack structure. I’m a darling stick in the mud, like that.)

So for the indefinite future, I’mma keep doing as I’ve been for the last few months: Posting if and when I’ve got something I want to share. And we’ll see how that goes.

4) On Another Book-Related Note

Heeeeeey, people in and around Lake County, IL: One of my favorite childhood hangouts – Cook Memorial Public Library – is hosting a Local Author Open House. And I’m flying all the way back to the States to be there! (And, y’know, to reunite with my family for a bit.)

zLocalAuthorsOpenHouse

This will be my first time as a part of an event like this. I am excited and nervous and pessimistic and hopeful and ready to ROCK. IT. OUT. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. If I feel like it afterwards, I’ll tell the Internet how it was. (See point 3. 😉 )

Aaaaaand that’s all she wrote for now. Anyone else got any good news to share? The comment section awaits you.

Diary of an Author in Demand

Believe it or not (go ahead and believe it), I seem to be slowly creeping my way up in the world.

Megan Ann Jacobs: Club leader, Shipley booker, and INSPIRED hyper, student, actor, and playwright…egads, what /doesn’t/ she do?!
Megan Ann Jacobs: Club leader, Shipley booker, and INSPIRED hyper, student, actor, and playwright…egads, what /doesn’t/ she do?!

The “firsts” are rolling in! First self-pubbed novella (yay!), first indie press-pubbed anthology inclusion (oh, wow!), first novel (double wow!), first in-home interview with a pair of schoolgirls (awww!)… and now I can say I’ve had (and made good on) my first invitation* to leave the house and talk to a room of people** about writing!

* Bless you for demanding me, Megan Jacobs!

** The Creative Writing Club of Wisconsin Lutheran College, no less! Bless them, as well!

Also believe it or not, I didn’t actually take the time throughout the day to chronicle the hour-by-hour happenings in a notebook, like one might think a writer would naturally do. So the following journal entries are totally forged after the fact – though I’d like to think I managed to hold onto a ring of authenticity, even so.

* * *

Monday, Apr. 28, 2014, 10-ish a.m.

Camped out on the front steps so I can keep an eye on the street. I haven’t seen Megan since we were Town Criers together at the Bristol Renaissance Faire last summer, and I’ve never seen her car, but once I spot the former, I’ll assume that the latter she drove up in is hers. Or that she’s a car thief. That could prove interesting.

Whoop, I think that’s her! Farewell, Mother! Later, comforts of home! For today, I throw comfort to the wind and talk to strangers!

* * *

After the drive (and little thanks to the GPS that tried to lose us inside a forest preserve, of all things)

Chillin’ at WLC, home of the CWC with which I’ll Q&A. (Acronyms… acronyms everywhere…) While Megan’s taking care of last-minute business for the meeting – ordering refreshments, messaging club members to remind them where we will and will not meet – I’ve been tearing through this script she wrote. “aMUSEd”, it’s called, and just guess what inspired it? INSPIRED, that’s what! Or its cover, anyway! She took one look at the portrayal of Luc and Annabelle, and a little lightbulb full of ideas winked on over her own head.

She only finished the script the night before, so I was the first to read the whole thing! Such privilege!
She only finished the script the night before, so I was the first to read the whole thing! Such privilege!

The best part of all? This play rocks! It had me whimpering in sympathy on, like, page 2, and laughing for pretty much the rest of it. I love emotion couched in comedy. Boy, I hope Megan brings “aMUSEd” to the stage, sometime in the not-too-faraway future. I want in it! Or at least in the audience of it. I’ll take either one.

Aaand now we’re going back into the rain to grab some beverages from the grocery story. Back in a bit, hypothetical diary.

* * *

Later in the Afternoon

Just finished sitting in on Megan’s theatre class. Now we’re in the meeting room with a few earlycomers (sure, we’ll say that’s a word), and I’ll do a more participatory sort of sit-in with them doing their club thing, with my official Q&A portion of our assembly to follow after that. I’ve got no idea how any of this will go down, yet, so I’ll just dive face-first into social interaction and hope it comes off as more endearing than obnoxious. (I can never tell.)

* * *

Looks like we’re all mad here. Cue my Cheshire Cat grin.
Looks like we’re all mad here. Cue my Cheshire Cat grin.

Halfway Through the Meeting

Oh my word, these people are hilarious! They were supposed to all read some prompt-based writing exercise they were assigned, but nobody actually brought in the assignment (ah, college… it’s all coming back to me, now), so President Megan* decided to wing it.

* Nobody’s called her President Megan, but she’s running this show, so whatever, she’s totally President Megan.

She divided the room of sixteen into teams of four, each team writing four stories on the fly, one sentence at a time. I mean, obviously every story is written one sentence at a time, but in this case, Teammate A only gets to put down one sentence before passing the story on to Teammate B, who does the same before giving it to Teammate C, and on it goes to D and back around to A – blather, wince, and repeat, all the while doing the same for the stories begun by Teammates B, C, and D.

If that explanation didn’t make sense, consider it a metaphor for most of the stories we read once we’d finished the game. President Megan was kept busy at the white board, stating on record that much of the stories’ subject matter was in no way a reflection of the values of the Creative Writing Club or its affiliates.

The first disclaimer.
The first disclaimer.
…But far from the last.
…But far from the last.

* * *

Stories Read and Pizza Consumed…

…Up I went to the front of the room to act all professionally authorial and stuff.

After giving the crowd my backstory, I fielded questions about my creative/publishing process, how self-pub works vs. working with a small press, how to sniff out writing opportunities… all that jazz.

The many faces of Danielle E. Shipley attempting to verbally communicate.
The many faces of Danielle E. Shipley attempting to verbally communicate.
The one face of Danielle E. Shipley reading her bio aloud, providing an example of how to speak about oneself in the third person.
The one face of Danielle E. Shipley reading her bio aloud, providing an example of how to speak about oneself in the third person.

Not gonna lie, though: My favorite part had to be toward the end when one of the club members, not nicknamed The Voice for nothing, came up to read the back cover blurb of INSPIRED in the most epic announcer way possible. I mean, having the deeply gratifying pleasure of selling and autographing a few copies of the novel to the room before Megan drove me home was super great, too. But an epic announcer voice reading your words like they’re gonna be a movie next summer* is its own level of cool.

*It is not, to my knowledge, actually going to be a movie next summer. There’s still that script for a play inspired by it, though! Like I said: Creeping my way up in the world. (:

* * *

And that, readers o’ mine, is how it all went down. Totally fills you with a desire to book me for a talk and/or signing and/or live reading, doesn’t it? ;D Call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me.

(More photos of the event available in the “Q&A with the CWC” album on my Facebook author page, for those who wish to see!)