Big Feels, Unlimited Magics

So! I recently uploaded the sequel to “Big City, Little Magics” onto Wattpad.com!

And it may actually take me a minute to remember how to talk about it, because my heart’s still living in another story – a related short, set pre-BCLM, entitled “A Thing About Sleeves”.

As I’ve confessed in blog posts past, I’m a little bit obsessed with muh boi Sleeves right now, and this 6K-ish-word story is an attempt to articulate why.

Told in Manchester first-person, it is essentially:

– A tale of friend-courtship ‘twixt a man and a dragon (sing hey all the way for a bromance!)

– A peek into Sleeves’ life prior to slash outside of the band

– A reminiscence of my visit to Hawai’i, some years ago

– A memo to self – (and to whoever else needs to hear it) – that feeling sad is allowed

Unlike BCLM 1 and 2, this story doesn’t include any original song lyrics. But if you want a song that captures the spirit, like, insanely perfectly, check out “Pacific” by Christa Wells.

I just, urrgh, now I’m mad I finished the story, because it means I don’t get to be writing it anymore. Nice going, me. Good luck digging up another happy place.

In any case, that’s now up on Wattpad, too, as a fresh addition to the shorts collection “Extra-Little Magics”.

BUT! Back to novella number two. I didn’t want to figure out a blurb for it, so I let Amygdala ‘n’ ‘em take care of it for me.

*

Amygdala: “Poll question! What’s the best part of the sequel to ‘Big City, Little Magics’?”

Couch: “Why is there a sequel?”

Sleeves: “Pretty sure the author’s just obsessed with us and wanted to see what else we’ll do.”

Manchester: “Authors do be like.”

Harkness: “My favorite part is the conversations like these, because it is fun that we ask and answer such important questions as ‘What is home to you?’ and ‘What do you think red smells like?’ and ‘What do you love about Harkness?’” *smiling sun emoji*

Travis: “I like— well, /most appreciate/ the Manchester POV chapters. Far from easy, but deeply important. I hope they reach the readers who need them.”

Amygdala: “Of which the author was one.”

Amygdala: “Best part in my opinion? Getting a chance to further explore the different social dynamics between our various friend combos within the band. I like us liking each other. :)”

Sleeves: “I like us speaking probable blasphemies while high.”

Couch: “I like the new song.”

Couch: “Not new to us, but to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet.”

Couch: “Edit: /read/ it yet. (The author needs to get around to making audio for this shit.)”

Manchester: “Best part of the sequel? Same as the best part of the original: Friend-family making the most of their magics to deepen each other’s lives.”

Sleeves: “Plus the Pride Night aesthetics.”

Manchester: “Oh, HELL YES, the Pride Night aesthetics.”

Big Feels, Unlimited Magics: More Days in the Life of Amygdala Wroth (and Friends)

*

All that, and they didn’t even mention the cursed laundromat. Ah well, no blurb can contain the whole of a story’s awesomeness.

Let me know if you read and enjoy my new fics! I accept comments, Ko-Fi tips, fanart, and good vibes sent my way in these trying times.

‘Til next we magic,

~ Danielle

Of Cabbages and Book Making

The time has come (the author said) to talk of many things:

Of novels and their sequels – books and their coverings –

And why the day ducks stay in rows is when the pigs have wings.

Of Lemons and of Lemonade

Those of you following me on Twitter may have caught this vague reference to some of my latest news, earlier this month.

JTP News 1

While those who keep up with me on Facebook will have gotten a brief, but more concrete explanation.

JTP News 2

Receiving that kind of e-mail from your publisher is probably NOT on any author’s list of to-dos, but there you are. J. Taylor Publishing has de-listed their catalogue of books from all retail channels and reverted the rights to their respective authors. What this means:

1 = “Inspired” and the “One More Day” anthology are no longer being printed and sold.

1.5 = Congratulations to any of you who’ve already bought your copies – you’re now in possession of a literary rarity. They’ll be worth big bucks once I finally attain author superstardom!

2 = I dunno about the antho, but if I want “Inspired” back up for sale, I’mma have to put it there myself. Which, I mean, I had already been planning to do, once the novel’s rights came back to me. That just ended up happening a couple years sooner than I expected.

So! Look for the re-release of “Inspired” in Spring 2018, complete with a brand new cover, probably some bonus short stories thrown in at the end, and – guess what? – a delightful sequel! I’ve been sitting on “Inspired 2”s manuscript for a little while, now, and am very much excited to get it out in the world alongside its predecessor, just as soon as I’ve finished with my scheduled plans for The Outlaws of Avalon. Which serves as a perfect segue into my next topic…

Of Trials and Traveling

To quote myself:

Hello, all! Author Danielle E. Shipley, here. And this is my tale:

I’ve recently published the first novel in the three-part story of my heart: The Outlaws of Avalon trilogy (a contemporary fantasy retelling of the Robin Hood legend, with some Arthuriana and Renaissance Faire fun thrown in). With Book 1, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”, out in the world, it’s time to ready Book 2 for its March 2017 release. But I’ve run into some unforeseen difficulties.

You see, I’ve been living with a friend in Germany for the past few months, with the intention to stay until next year. However, the situation unexpectedly changed, requiring my return to the U.S. this fall. …Meaning my travel expenses and the cost of Book 2’s cover design will land in my lap at roughly the same time.

As an author – particularly a largely unknown, self-published one – I don’t make a lot of money. Truthfully, at this stage, I’m investing far more in my career than it’s earning back. With time, effort, and luck, that may change. Until then, if I want Book 2’s cover to look every bit as beautiful as “Ballad”s, I could really use your help.

My cover designer’s fee comes to 750 euros. Convert that to U.S. dollars, add in the usual percentage owed to the site hosting this campaign (*tips hat to GoFundMe*), and a fundraising goal of $875 should see me through. The bill comes due at the cover’s completion, which I aim to attain by November’s end. I understand that not everyone can afford to support me by purchasing my books, just now. But if each of you reading this made even a small donation to this campaign – 1 to 5 dollars, 10+ if you’re a Robin Hood-level hero – it could add up to what I need to keep me fiscally afloat.

I would be enormously grateful for whatever amount you can give – so much so, that I happily pledge to thank every donor by name within the acknowledgement pages of Outlaws of Avalon 2. (Unless, of course, you indicate that you’d like to be lumped in with “Anonymous”.)

It’s the characters that make my stories come alive. It’s me that puts it all on the page for readers to experience. And this time around, it’s you that will help make the novel’s face a reality. Bless you for it.

~ Danielle

That’s right – I’ve taken a chance and started a GoFundMe campaign! I very much hope you’ll do me the grand favor of donating and/or sharing the link with others who may be in a better position to give.

GoFundMe

Callooh! Callay! Your help I pray!

(My thanks for listening. ^.^)

“Sequel 2”

From the blogger who brought you “Name”… “Read”… and the blockbusting masterpiece “Homeschool… comes a continuation of the commentary on continuation itself. “Sequel” is back – and this time… it’s a sequel.

            Clearly, the end of my last blog piece on this topic didn’t feel like The End. There was another aspect of this “story” that I felt merited discussion – namely, the experience of writing a sequel versus its original.

            As of this piece’s typing up, I am in the middle (or, well, maybe in the first third) of drafting a sequel to the novel that demands near-future publication, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”. I wrote “Ballad” as my project for my first-ever National Novel Writing Month. For someone who typically took a couple of months to craft a twenty-five- to forty-thousand word novel, cranking out 50K in thirty days or less proved an appealing and only slightly daunting challenge. “Ballad”s production was a wild ride, my untried characters and I flying along together by the seats of our pants and hosen, with naught but a lengthily drawn-up plot outline to keep us careening down a fairly straight course. It was great fun, and I immensely enjoyed collaborating with my Merry Men for what I expected would probably remain a standalone book.

            Then, in the following months, I, the Men, my writing buddy Tirzah, as well as a growing number of various other characters of hers and mine, took to chillin’ out in an immaterial Sherwood Forest together. The place turned out to be kind of a hotspot for character growth (much to my bullheaded chagrin… and Tailor and Tirzah’s delight). Allyn-a-Dale, in particular, underwent some remarkable evolution, and I had occasion to delve deeper into the psyche certain other members of the outlaw band, also. It eventually got to the point where to not write a second book and share some of this stuff with “Ballad”s future fans would be a literary sin (and that’s not authorial arrogance speaking, that’s Tirzah shouting), so here I am today, trying to make a sequel happen.

            Is writing a sequel easier than writing the original? Some aspects of it can be. Certainly, characterization may come more easily, since I’ve already got some time with most of the cast under my belt. And if I haven’t spent too much time away from the preceding work, then getting back into the rhythm and tone of it for another round will tend to be less problematic than the often rocky start of a completely new project. But on the flipside, I’ve got the additional pressure of wanting to make the sequel good. Bare minimum, on par with its predecessor; ideally, even better. The challenge set before me is to make this second installment feel both agreeably familiar and delightfully new.

            And as I embark on the creation of what I’ve codenamed “Ballad 2”, that’s exactly what it feels like.

            It feels great to hang around Avalon Faire again (and beyond?… You better believe it!). It’s a joy to listen to Allyn think and speak in graceful poetry, and to get high off of Will Scarlet’s incurable enthusiasm. It’s exciting, knowing the curveballs I’m planning to throw at the Sherwood gang, and having no idea what sort of curveballs they’ll end up winging right back at me! Hey for the writing process! (…I cheer, tossing my immaterial cap in the air.)

            Now that I’ve gotten myself good and wound up, I’m going to call this blog piece a wrap and get back to where I left a pair of my outlaws about to get into some misguided monkeyshines. Until next time, readers!

            To be continued?…

“Sequel”

It’s kind of hard to be at all aware of popular culture and not know what this noun’s second definition is: “A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative continues that of a preexisting work.”

            Hollywood thrives on sequels. (Or, some critics might argue, sequels are killing the industry.) In fact, some of my favorite movies are sequels – “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, “The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom” (okay, urgent disclaimer, that last one is a former favorite; way, way, way, former)… The reason that I was eager to watch these three movies, which all happen to be the third in their respective series, is that I had seen and enjoyed the movies that preceded them. That right there is the big draw of the sequel: Somebody liked that aforementioned preexisting work enough that they wanted more of it.

            It is a dismal truth, however, that sequels do not always live up to their predecessors. Many books and movies are milked well past the point of quality’s demise. Stories are stretched to ridiculous proportions, or shamelessly recycled, or (sometimes, it seems) barely bothered with, all for the sake of spending a little more time with these characters or in that world (or in the hopes of pulling in a few more dollars).

            As an author, I am faced at every book’s completion with a choice: Do I crank out Part Two/Three/Four…, or do I end it here?

            I could make an illustration of “The Wilderhark Tales”, but that’s been getting more than its fair share of shout-outs on this blog. I’ll use a different example: My “World of the Dream” saga. I wrote the first book without any ambitions for a follow-up. Bruno battles evil in his sleep – action, adventure, witty quips and unicorns, the end. I would have been happy to leave it at that… except that I was soon afterward inspired to do more. I saw a storyline that could be taken farther, deeper, darker, and more urgent than before. I ran with it, and it ended on a note that loudly demanded a third installment. With the trilogy concluded, I would have been willing to swear that that was that.

            That wasn’t that. For all kinds of reasons that I could go into, but then I’d have to kill you (spoilers, don’t you know), there needed to be a Book Four, which I wrote. And frankly, I would love a Book Five. But I don’t think there’s going to be one. Some sort of prequel, doubtful-but-possibly, or another related short story or novella (one has been written already). But not a Book Five. The fourth book’s final chapter felt as truly final as any ending I’ve ever typed.

            I know I said I’d leave “Wilderhark Tales” alone for this one (but it turns out I can’t, because I’m obsessed), but it was really the same way. Once I’d hit the fourth book, I was planning for seven, just because I thought the number suited the series. But by the time I was deep into Book Six, I could feel it: This was the end. Never mind the suitability of seven. Never mind that I could give my tailor seventy times seven books and still find more to say. (And I honestly can’t decide if that’s an exaggeration or not.) That narrative was over, and to try to force another book would have been pathetic overkill. An artist with a heart for quality has to know when to say, “Enough.”

            Whether or not Hollywood will ever adopt that attitude remains to be seen.