The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS column on Mondays and Wednesdays is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website showcasing books from a variety of fiction genres, with an emphasis on interviews and guest posts from other authors. One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better.
Today, we look at the book, SHADOWS OF ATLANTIS.
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bloodline of Lemuria. As an emissary of nature, her betrothal would
ensure the continued function of the Crystal Grid, the life source of
the ten kingdoms of Atlantis. But as Brigitte prepares to leave from
her home in the magical Dreamvale, her people are attacked by a storm
of shadows. Now she is running for her life.
dejected musician who lives the quintessential Atlantean lifestyle of
revelry, escapism and apathy. Under the eclipse of a sacred festival,
they are swept into an attraction they cannot resist. Their union may
protect humanity from its worst enemy – the shadows of Atlantis. But
there is one problem, this man is not her betrothed.
Grid itself. Citizens have neglected to attend the rituals required
to charge the crystals with their psychic emanations. Some have
fallen prey to an epidemic called “the madness”, caused by
shadowy parasites that feed off human suffering. But as nature always
strives toward balance, the crystals have activated a genetic upgrade
among the people. The youth have begun to express supernatural
powers. Could it be that D’Vinid and Brigitte are meant to be
leaders among the awakened? And if so, why does it seem impossible
for them to be together?
enough into the modern mind to ask – will we learn the lessons of
Guest Post by the Author
Bumbling through the Mistakes of Publishing
I have been on many adventures over the years. You can say I’m a true rolling stone. I consider myself on a quest, and I rarely stay in one place for too long. This has mostly been because my mind is filled with my pursuit, I can’t spare much time to enter into the racket of surviving, so I drift, and that frees up the time I need to continue my work. One of my big strengths along the way has also turned out to be a weakness. I am a risk-taker. Because I lack fear, I often leap down paths I shouldn’t. Because of this, I have made all the mistakes. But I have gathered amazing experiences because of it. The most valuable currency for a writer is experience. So, in that way, I am wealthy.
About fifteen years ago I gave up my lifestyle as a Renaissance reenactment buff and moved to Los Angeles. That was when my current quest began. I gave up the faery princess gypsy courtesan persona of the Renaissance world and buried myself in the warehouse world of downtown LA. Here I hosted spectacular art parties and found a new circuit of renegade living. I had found the elusive modern-day pirate utopia. We were the artists living in warehouses hidden among the desolation of skid row and burning trash cans. I fell in with a group of older artists who had established the Arts District of downtown during the 70s and 80s. They had created a palace of a warehouse, modeled after Worhol’s Factory, and the art salons of Gertrude Stein.
I adopted a new persona, that of Kamander Dazzle, urban superhero on the run from zombies, and commanding everyone to dazzle. After 5 years of this commando lifestyle, I had a brush with death. The drama of it completely shifted my life, and I started spending more time with my family, who were keenly interested in my continued well-being. For the next five years I developed a seasonal pattern, moving between Colorado, los Angeles, Washington, DC, New York, Austin and San Francisco. These were the places I called home through the years. This nomadic way of life has always suited me.
About a year after my brush with death, I took one last pilgrimage to Burning Man, which had become my new alternate world. It’s hard to understand Burning Man if you have not experienced it. But to sum up, it is a city made of art that has always made me feel like a Fremen from Dune on a Star Wars planet. The entire journey is a shamanic experience. There is a special kind of magic on the playa (which is what they call that desert since it is the dried-up bottom of an ancient ocean). You feel like you’re walking on the moon most of the time, and everything you need to experience whether it be good or bad, will happen.
After someone goes for a few years, they start to imagine ways they can contribute to the city. Most people go on to create projects of their own. It was my 4th year, and I had no contribution. That was when I decided that I needed to finish the novel I had been working on in one form or another since I was 14 years old. I would never return to Burning Man after that. I guess I just evolved away from it. My contribution isn’t as concrete as adding to the city, and to be honest, I just don’t like the desert.
I cut off my hair and vowed the book would be ready by the time it grew back out. I spent the entire year writing in DC at my dad’s, then staying with my brother in New York for a few weeks to unwind. Having been a warehouse queen in Los Angeles, I easily tapped into the underground party world of New York, and wherever else I went. I discovered a worldwide network, and that has inspired the conclaves in my story. The rewrite lasted another year as I continued my seasonal rounds.
Then I finished it. At least I thought I did. I needed to move on. And I don’t have the kind of patience for writing query letters and approaching agents and publishers, so I self-published what I thought of as a sneak peek first edition of the story. I took a mini tour, which I called my victory lap around the country, and sold my limited-edition sneak peeks to my network in multiple cities. It got me through the next year. I always felt that if I privately distributed it, I might do pretty well. I was wrong. I’m pretty resourceful, and lots of people know the legend of Kamander Dazzle, but as it turns out, like all other artists, I am horrible at selling myself, and most of the people I knew weren’t really readers anyway. They would get my book, but few would actually read it. I needed to know avid readers, and I didn’t, so I had to start over again.
I went into a slump again, knowing I did not have a masterpiece. A friend of my mom’s, a fellow author (my mom is a writer too,) who was not a fan of fantasy, read my work. She sent me the most scathing review you could imagine. So many things were wrong with it, and she was right. I was ready for this kind of criticism, and I took it to heart. I spent a few seasons re-evaluating and working with my dad to create the World Book, imagining my ultimate goal, TV and movies. I see a franchise, like Star Trek, only in Atlantis. I spent the next year creating the television series by expanding the story of another character who just touches the pages of my book. But that story didn’t develop until I decided to do another rewrite of the book.
I started it in Oakland, CA for a few months, where I launched a botched fundraiser campaign to (gulp) publish with a hybrid publisher. Whenever anyone asks me if they should publish this way, I always say NO. You should never let anyone publish your work unless they are paying you. If you have to pay them, then spend the time figuring out how to publish it yourself. The time I wasted on releasing through a hybrid publisher set me back years in my process. I eventually separated from them and had to start over again.
I returned to Los Angeles. A dear friend connected me with a relative of his who had a yacht in the marina, and I stayed there for three months perfecting the novel. It was huge for me to be on the water for this process, as I feel very connected to Atlantis when I’m closer to water. The first thing I did was outline my author friend’s critique of my work. I split the first edition into three books. The story is now turned into a twisting, turning adventure with more technology and more bone chilling emotion.
The two aspects of my book are influenced by my adventures. The courtly world is modelled after the Renaissance reenactment days, and the conclaves are modeled after the innovative party people of today’s urban underbelly. I did three rounds of edits with three editors. At last my author friend and greatest critic read my new work and expressed astonished amazement at the difference.
The story continued. I got an investor interested in funding my marketing campaign for the new release. It would start with production on a book trailer, followed by a big book release party on the yacht. I quickly became aware that this project, as far as Hollywood is concerned, is too epic for its own good. Everyone who reads it sees only top of the line and state of the art everything, and refuses to cut any corners to stay within a limited budget. The book trailer quickly turned into a Jodorowsky’s Dune of a project. By the time it was over, the investor backed out, angry that it mushroomed out of hand. I didn’t blame him. But it spiraled me into a depression that lasted a while.
I spent a lot of time in Colorado during that phase, turning back to nature on my mom’s ranch. I remember during that time, scrolling through Instagram, and stumbling on an ad for a new show on Syfy called The Magicians based on the book by Lev Grossman. Sure, Lev had a lot on me. He was a writer for the New York Times. How could a wandering nobody even compare? I eagerly awaited its release and started watching it from day one. I imagined people being excited for the release of my own story as a T.V. show. Now, four years later, I write this on the day I am preparing to attend the season four premiere party in Hollywood with the cast and producers. How did I get here? By being me.
There is something magic about my life despite all the hardships. I have built a sturdy vessel and hoisted my sails, and have been sailing in the same direction for years despite shifting weather patterns sometimes throwing me off course. I do wonder if it’s all worth it sometimes. My main challenge has been enjoying the ride along the way.
After my stint in Colorado, I went to Austin, Texas to spend time with family down there. After a few months, I started getting sick from the cedar fever. Yes, that’s a thing in the Texas hill country. The cedar trees drop their pollen in the winter months, and cast a blue haze in the sky. To me it feels like poison gas. I have an awesome immune system, but eventually the cedars got to me. I had to make my escape plan. I went online and found a ticket to L.A. for $30 from Dallas. I jumped on a train to Dallas where I had friends to visit anyway. Then I was in L.A. on the couch of the apartment I would end up moving into for the next few years, perhaps forever.
One of my friends lived there with an eternally juvenile 60 something year old film editor. He was suddenly thrust into being a bachelor when his wife left, and had extra room at his apartment. My friend who lived there was moving out. So, I moved in. It was not only perfect timing, but a perfect circumstance. My new roomie had been in the film business for almost four decades, and I was suddenly thrust into a live-in crash course on the way Hollywood works. Not only that, but a year into my living there, Universal put him up for a job on the third season of a Syfy show… Would you believe it? The Magicians. So, now I go to all the parties and hang out with the cast and crew.
I went to a commercial writing conference last year to see if I could pitch my work to agents. The guy took one look at my book and tossed it aside and said it was too nice to be commercial fiction. Instead of pitching my current book, he had me make up a new story and pitch that. I even got a bite from an agent, but I turned him down because he wanted me to pay him to re-publish it. I learned from my previous mistake! After that I was pretty sure I was still not cut out for commercial writing. In fact, I don’t have what it takes to make it as a writer at all, as it turns out. Weird, but true. After a decade of focusing entirely on this one story, I sadly discovered that I should have been writing many stories. The truth of it all is, most writers don’t make it on their first books. Oops. Turns out we have to keep writing and keep trying until something sticks. Once our stories are put through the meat grinder of the publishers (or producers in the case of Hollywood), it all gets changed, anyway. It’s best not to be attached to any characters or plots or pretty much anything.
But I decided I would take something away from that conference. My book was too nice, after all, so I sat down again for ANOTHER re-write. Using what I was learning from screenwriting, and living with a film editor, I was starting to learn how to cut the fat off stories. From the conference I learned the importance of villains. I took a good hard look at what I had, plus examined some of the harsher reviews I had on Goodreads. The beauty of being self-published then came into play, and I prepared to re-release with a new, scarier, story, and a new book cover design.
I spent the rest of the year learning and absorbing. I taught myself how to write screenplays. I studied the art of the hook, outlines, formats, you name it. But again, I discovered that I don’t fit into a format. I’m too old and experienced to be groomed as a T.V. writer. That’s a job for the young. I am not that kind of writer. I am more like a Hemmingway or some kind of literary diva. I lined my wall with butcher paper, and I just write notes on it as I see fit. The two affirmations I have written in front of my computer are “the odds don’t apply to me,” and “fortune favors the bold.”
So, now the book is finally in its most ideal format. Sure, I have broken a few rules of how to make it as a writer. But I have already made the investment. So why not make it the best it can be? I have a new cover. I have launched a digital marketing campaign. My epic, and before now unwieldy book trailer has been re-cut by my roomie, which gained about 5k views in the first few weeks of its release on YouTube. And I am armed with the ability to stand by what I’m doing with the utmost confidence. People try and push me around. That just goes with the territory. I just see it as a natural side effect of being on the heroes journey. I have to come up against gate keepers and villains. But what I have is the new Star Wars. Totally unique, authentically created, and extensively researched. My roomie calls it Hollywood’s new tentpole project.
The real truth is, there are as many paths to success as there are people. A huge digital marketing campaign is as good as any huge publisher. Networking at Hollywood events is as good as submitting work to agents. It takes more patience, but the content speaks for itself. Everyone is excited about Atlantis. Everyone I meet is fascinated with the concept. Producers in this town are hungry for content, so now my job is just to keep creating, and keep moving forward into a bold, unknown future.
About the Author
task of recreating Atlantis. When she was 16 in Fort Collins,
Colorado, she began visiting the library in search of things she
couldn’t learn in school. Her goal was to re-define her religion. She
studied theology voraciously until she discovered the concept of
reincarnation though Hinduism. It was the answer to a lifelong
existential crisis that had plagued her for many sleepless nights.
The study of reincarnation led her to the channel Edgar Cayce. In his
many books, she found his past life readings of lifetimes spent in
Atlantis. This was the beginning of a lifelong quest to unravel the
secrets of this mystery. She has spent upwards of 30 years exploring
the labyrinth of ancient civilizations. Her decision to turn it all
into a high concept, visionary fantasy series stems from her study of
the esoteric depiction of Atlantis. With the other half of her
research rooted in the secular, it was the best way to illustrate
both aspects of this fascinating legend. Her work is the legacy of
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