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On Writing with Mary Shotwell of Weariland

I asked author Mary Shotwell to talk about her writing process and to share some info about the sequel to Weariland.


On the writing process:

I knew what I wanted Weariland to be—a Young Adult, light fantasy/adventure continuing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I wanted short chapters with changing points of view, a la Dan Brown. With a handful of scenes in my head, I started writing in a notebook about various characters and plot points. But before I started typing out the manuscript, I read up as much as I could on writing novels. Sure, I had read plenty of novels and knew the general flow of story. I didn’t feel reading novels was enough. I studied world building (www.pcwrede.com has a great list for fantasy world building), character development, and tricks in writing third person limited omniscient (first learning that is the name of what I wanted to do, then how best to do it).

After studying books and the internet, and taking notes, I typed out my scenes. I started ‘on the fly’, writing a scene and moving wherever the scene led me. In retrospect, this was dangerous. Many times I caught myself writing into a ditch, or editing and re-editing what I had written. The process left me frustrated, and the end goal seemed far off.

Luckily, I had motivators in the form of family pushing me to finish the book. I decided to get serious. I made a notecard for each chapter, outlining the major plot advances and whose point of view I was using. I easily saw the gaps, and what needed work, and where to move the story. I made additional cards for the remaining chapters to write. By far, having an outline was the one thing I did that made the writing process incredibly smoother and more enjoyable. I was excited to pour out the story, knowing where it was going, and when I’d stop, I was excited to pick it back up the next day.

Yes, in my research, I discovered many successful authors outlined their works. At the time I had thought, But I don’t know where the story is going until I write it out. I need to see where it takes me. I tried that way, and nope. Not a positive outcome. Now I know that, for me, the outline forces me to know where the story is going. I will not start a manuscript without having the plot, characters, and setting clearly defined for each chapter.

On a sequel to Weariland:

This is tricky. I don’t want to reveal too much, else the excitement of writing it wanes. Things I am willing to tell you:

I do not have a title yet

It is deeper than Weariland. You will see further into Weariland’s landscape, but also learn more about some of the characters that were only briefly mentioned in Weariland.

It is darker. (What sequel isn’t?)

It will be the second book of…wait for it…a trilogy. In writing the first, I knew the story wasn’t completely finished. I deliberately opened story paths to take on later. In writing the second, and knowing a third will wrap it up, I not only need the outline for Book 2 but know where I am going with Book 3.

More info on Weariland:



$12.99 print, $3.99 ebook
Genre: Fantasy
For fifteen-year-old Lason Davies, it all started with a text. “HIDING PLACE.” The last words of her murdered grandmother haunt Lason as she travels to England with her sheltering mother for the funeral. The crime is a sensation, but the clamoring reporters and news photographers aren’t the only ones interested in their arrival. More info →
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Weariland Blog Tour October 16-23, 2016

Weariland Blog Tour October 16-23, 2016

Just announced, there will be a virtual blog tour with Weariland and author Mary Shotwell. Join us to discover more about this novel and the author.


10/16: Guest Blog Post on From Gutter to Gilt

10/17: A review by Meg Barrett

10/18: A guest blog on Making it Happen

10/19: A video review on Dapper Animals

10/20: Q & A on The Cosy Dragon

10/21: A review by From Gutter to Gilt

10/22: Author Spotlight on Hott Books

10/23: A video interview with the author on Merge

Visit these sites to learn more about this book and enter to win a free digital copy of Weariland.

Here is the video trailer for Weariland.

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Blog Tour for What You Don’t Know Now

What better way to celebrate the end of February than with romance, mystery and adventure? These are all the elements of the novel, What You Don’t Know Now, by Marci Diehl.

What You Don't Know Now by Marci Diehl

During Wednesday, February 24 thru Monday, February 29th bloggers will be celebrating the novel and the author by posting interviews, book excerpts, and more. There will also be a giveaway for an autographed copy, an ebook giveaway, and a CD of “Love Songs of Italy”.

To follow the blog tour visit our Facebook Event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1541149869517750/

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Cover Reveal of Slip Away

Here is the cover of the new novel from Merge Publishing.


Slip Away, by Joel Durham Jr is a coming of age novel about a boy in the Adirondacks whose family seems cursed by mental disease. This makes it difficult to live a normal life. Rory lives through friendship, his first love, and betrayal. There is also tragedy, death, and comedy is this literary tale.

Joel Durham Jr is writer in Clifton Springs, NY.
Cover designed by Leslie Taylor from Buffalo, NY.

Tell us what you think about the cover by leaving a comment. We’d love to hear from you.


Join Merge on #GetBizy

Greetings Merge fans! We will be featured live  on #GetBizy on Tuesday May 27th 2014* *8:00 am PST* (9:00 am MST, 10:00 am CST, and 11:00 am EST)


The guest will be:
Don Stevens (Find Don on Google+: http://goo.gl/Hh1jg5)
Marci Diehl (Find Marci on Google+: http://goo.gl/Izlll9)
Aaron Wood (Find Aaron on Google+: http://goo.gl/ebOm4H)

We will be discussing writing, small press publishing, marketing, and wine. If you miss the event you can always watch it here (just bookmark this page).