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Shadow in the Sea

Readers will return to Windwaithe Island once again. When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Sade's quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals' dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood's ship docks at Windwaithe. With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn't fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Forbidden Sea Contest Giveaway























The contest is now closed. The winner of the necklace will be anounced sometime Monday so check back then! Good luck to all who participated.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Things are Coming!

I have been honored, and completely floored, by the amount of positive interest that has been generated regarding the release of my book, Forbidden Sea. I am thrilled and excited for everyone to get a chance to read the book, and wish it were possible for me to give everyone who wanted one, an ARC of the book. If I were J. K. Rowing, I would demand enough ARCs to hand one out to every fantastic book reviewer who is excited to get their hands on one! Unfortunately, I am not J. K. Rowling and my publisher has given me very (and I do mean very) few ARCs. In fact, they gave me less than originally promised. (I think they like to be the ones to decide how to distribute ARCs and to whom they will go.) So for all you wonderful reviewers, bloggers, and delightful book loving people who are dying to read my book, I would suggest contacting Scholastic Press directly and see if they will let you have one. The last few remaining ARCs I do have left in my possession will be given away in drawings on this blog in the last couple months leading up to the release date of Forbidden Sea, so stay tuned. The drawings will be only for those who are official followers of this site, so make sure you are signed up. You just might be one of the lucky ones!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Inspiration--the Stuff Stories are Made Of

A lot of people have asked me where I get the ideas for my stories. When they do, they get a lot more answer then they bargained for. Inspiration for stories can come from almost anywhere. And I do mean anywhere. I once got an idea for a story by reading the title of a book. I can't tell you what the book was about because I never did read it. The title alone was enough. I've gotten more than one story from dreams. I had a vampire dream I thought about writing into a book years before Stephanie Meyer was ever seen or heard of. Sadly, the world will never get to read mine now. : )

One of the stories I am currently working on, came to me after seeing this set of porcelain dolls years ago.














They look innocent enough don't they? But story they inspired is a little on the creepy side. I love those kind of books! Don't you? I now own these dolls. How could I resist?

The red headed character featured in the picture below was inspired by a younger cousin of mine. I actually had her model for this picture. This particular character now stars in a story all her own. If it ever gets published, the book will definitely be dedicated to Liz.

















I will often draw a picture of my characters (like the one here) to help me get a sense of their personality and what they look like. The characters may evolve over time, but the drawings give me my first peek into their world.

For me, music is one of the best inspirations when I'm in the middle of writing a story. I will often create a soundtrack, picking songs that I feel will create the mood I am working for key scenes. For me, creativity just seems to flow easier when there is music to help the ideas along. If I have characters who fall in love in a book I always choose "their song", so to speak. I will play this song as I write scenes between the two of them. I usually pick a song for each of the main characters as well.

Real life is the very best place to draw inspiration from. I've become quite the people watcher over the years. As a children's librarian, if I just keep my eyes and ears peeled, ideas for characters and scenes are being enacted right in my library every day. I was once asked to make a school visit to a sixth grade class by the library. Since I was working on a humorous book about a sixth grade class at the time, I decided to take mental notes while I was there. It was a real eye opener, let me tell you. I got more material from that one visit than I ever would have imagined. Sometimes truth is more hilarious than fiction.

What about you writer's out there? Where do you get your inspiration?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Writer's Block

I've been struggling with a certain scene in one of the books I'm currently working on, for quite some time now. It got so bad I had to skip the whole chapter and move on so it wouldn't stop the flow of the rest of the book. So a few nights ago it suddenly came to me, like a light from above, exactly what I had to do to make the chapter work. With some major reworking of the scene, I was soon off and running again. There is nothing like overcoming writer's block to make your whole life seem just a little brighter. I've never been able to understand why ideas can flow so easily one week, and the next, my mind is a veritable creative drought. Thankfully, the rains always seem to come eventually if I just let the scene simmer on the back burner long enough. What makes this miraculous transformation happen? I have no clue. Is it karma? Those vitamin supplements I've been taking? Or does God finally take pity on me and give me a little push in the right direction? Possibly a combination of all of the above.

I recently read an article about writer's block. They asked a bunch of writer's to list the things they do to get over their blocks. Eating hoards of chocolate, dancing around the living room, and taking long naps were all methods listed. For me, when writer's block strikes and I start to feel myself panicking, I skip the whole scene and start writing at some other point in the book that sounds more exciting to me. Or I temporarily jump to another story completely. It is not uncommon for me to be working on two or three stories simultaneously at any given time. My manuscripts in progress often resemble streets ridden with potholes. (Or should I say--plot holes.) Whole chapters can be missing in action for months (or in extreme cases, years) on end. This is one of the reasons I won't let people read my manuscripts until they are completely finished.

So how about you writer's out there in Blogland? When writer's block strikes, what do you do? I'd love to know.

(c) 2010 Sheila A. Nielson

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The ideas and views expressed in this blog reflect only those of Sheila A. Nielson and no other persons, companies, or business entities.