Official Blog for the Animated Insights of Shannon Muir: Animation Writing and Production Pro and Author

An animation professional known for her desire to give forward to pros and fans alike, Shannon has expanded her reach to writing prose, and showcasing those authors as well. Read interviews and guest posts from INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS, plus Shannon's own content.

Tag: author guest post


DISCLAIMER: The following has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by the author. No compensation has been received for this content. This disclaimer provided by requirement of the Federal Trade Commission.

SANTA; Book Cover


Spanning the course of several weeks, Santa; details the physical and emotional deterioration of June, a victim of severe bullying after she survives an attack by her classmates. With no one and nothing to trust but faith, she struggles with the idea that the human spirit may not exist.

* Ten percent of the sales of this book will be donated to Project Semicolon, an organization providing love and support to those who are struggling with depression, self-injury, and suicide. Visit them online at

Book Trailer:


Many people have asked me why I decided to write a novel about bullying. It’s a fair question. Bullying is a tough subject. It’s hard to read about, and I can assure you, it was just as hard to write. I never thought I would write about such a difficult subject, until about two years ago. I was flipping through the TV channels when I landed on the Dr. Phil show. His guest was a mother talking about the suicide of her daughter. Her daughter had been bullied in school and cyber bullied online so much that she felt like her only option was to commit suicide. Ashamed and embarrassed, she blamed herself.

My heart ached for this family. How awful, I thought, before immediately going online to research the statistics on teenage bullying. And the information I found was shocking. Every year, approximately 2 million adolescents attempt suicide. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in approximately 4,600 deaths annually. There’s also a very strong link between bullying and suicide, with victims of bullying accounting for as much as half of suicide deaths.

I had absolutely no idea just how many kids were attempting suicide, or even thinking about it. I wanted to do something, and being a writer, the most powerful thing I could think of was to write a book about this epidemic in order to create awareness. Victims need to know that they are not alone. By talking about this subject, we empower each other. There’s hope for change when we refuse to allow these behaviors to continue. It’s hard enough for parents to lose children in accidents, but when children are committing suicide, it is even harder to deal with because it could have been prevented.

I think almost everyone can relate to being bullied; we have all dealt with it in some form or another. In my book, Santa;, you will get inside the head of June, a teenage girl who is assaulted and then bullied and cyber bullied to the point where she feels so isolated and alone and is convinced that she has no one on her side. It’s not an easy read, and it may make you very emotional, but considering the statistics I explained above, something needs to be done to create empathy for the victims of bullying. We are not doing enough for them, and we can certainly help much more.

Nicola 051809 365

Photo Credit: Tat Leong


Nicola Mar is an author and poet who grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where she wrote her first short story at age seven. At eighteen, Nicola moved to the U.S. to continue her education, graduating from Rollins College with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a specialty in creative writing. After spending many years in the fashion industry, Nicola chose to pursue her writing full-time. Her first novel, A Red Tale, was published in March 2014. In 2015, she published her second novel, Santa;. She currently lives in New York City with her two dogs. Learn more about Nicola at


I was severely bullied as young as four years old. I don’t have a lot of memories from those years, but I remember the bullying like it was yesterday. I decided to write this book to raise awareness to the physical and psychological damage endured by adolescents who suffer from the effects of bullying. This epidemic is real, and something needs to be done to protect victims from feeling isolated.


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DISCLAIMER: The following has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS  by Virtual Book Tour Cafe. No compensation has been received for this content. This disclaimer provided by the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission. 




Everyone is a wolf.


But putting the pack first can have different ramifications if you don’t really belong with the pack you’re hunting with in the first place.


In The Gospel of Wolves, you delve deep into the heads and hearts of four people who will take risks as they search for where they belong that will force them to make serious choices about the person they are willing to become as they cross paths with some of the cruelest sociopaths the world has to offer to ultimately find out if they are part of the pack or one of the prey.


The Power of Words

20 minutes. That’s all it took, before the itching and tautness of swollen
skin clued me in that I must have been the only supply of blood available to the mosquitos in that wretched forest.

Rivulets of sweat uncomfortably streamed down every crease of skin I owned and even the fragrance of flowers bore a taint. The rot of vegetation couldn’t be completely overpowered.

The lizard part of my brain took this all in and a brief fantasy
materialized where the human quarry I was chasing was hiding in the
refrigerated room of an ice cream shop tucked in a nice suburban strip

None of what I was experiencing was real, but the scenes painted by the
story I was reading had transported me to the other side of the equator
and dumped me in a place most people would never choose to go, unless
their life depended on it.

I shifted on the couch I was laying on while reading, but as I navigated
through the vines and mud, there was a part of me that couldn’t get
comfortable until the author allowed me to.

This is a big part of what made me fall in love with reading.

The ability to live different lives on a whim.

To travel to exotic places and not worry over baggage fees or stolen

Then there is that other thing.

The way well written characters can teach us about ourselves.

To make us feel not so alone in the world, because surely if the author
could write a character that we relate to on a deep level, then they must
know something of the personal way we have experienced the world thus far.

In that connection, sometimes I find moments where the world becomes still and silent as I pause in the book and reflect on something I could never quite wrap my mind around, but now with the author’s help, I gained a new understanding about.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m the one writing, or the one reading.

It’s a magic thing to be a part of.



Excerpt One (300-500 or so Words):


“Mommy. I don’t think daddy’s gonna make it.”

It wasn’t just what little Melanie said, it was how she said it that caused Lindsey to duck down to eye level with her daughter before reassuring her. “Don’t be silly, dear. Your father will be here any moment to get us and we’ll be on our way home.”

Melanie didn’t seem convinced. She appeared as if she was listening to someone who was telling her something she didn’t want to hear. Whomever that someone was, it wasn’t her mother. She stayed down at eye level with Melanie a little while longer, brushed some of Melanie’s bangs back under the hood of her coat, then stood upright and looked around the airport receiving area for her husband’s car. They had been waiting for half and hour, but the airport was busy, and with the rain, there were surely traffic. She resisted the urge to pull out her cell phone and call him. After what Melanie said, Lindsey was afraid of doing anything that might encourage her to think that something really was wrong.

It seemed like half of the people driving had bought the exact same make, model, color and year of the car her husband owned. With the sky’s reflection bouncing off of the windshields, the identities of the drivers remained concealed until they drove past her and Melanie. She held her frustration and impatience behind a veneer of calm that was becoming harder and harder to maintain each time she mistakenly thought she had spotted him.

If he doesn’t come in the next five minutes, I’m calling him, Lindsey thought to herself. Knowing that this might upset Melanie further, Lindsey looked down to see how Melanie was fairing to gauge if she needed to provide any additional consoling before the call, but Melanie wasn’t there. Lindsey glanced all around her immediate area, but her daughter was gone.


Looking to the parents of a family that had been standing next to them, she asked, “Did you see which way my daughter went? She’s wearing a pink overcoat with the hood up and black stockings?”

Both of the parents gave a quick glance around, then offered sympathetic shrugs.

Lindsey forgot about her luggage and began pushing through the crowd of people yelling her daughter’s name. The amount of people seemed to increase with Lindsey’s anxiety and somehow, they seemed to always manage to be where she was trying to get to and move into the cracks and seams right as Lindsey attempted to peer through to catch a glimpse of where her daughter might be. Irritated by the mass of bodies, she tried stooping down to knee level thinking that looking between legs rather than around torsos might provide more gaps to peer through, but it was a moving forest of limbs that again seemed to move directly into her line of sight as quickly as she could look in a direction.




Excerpt Two (500-800 or so Words):


He allowed her to wrap her arms around him and squeeze, before pushing her back to arm’s length. “It’s been what? Eight years? What are you doing now? Are you still painting?” he asked. He injected as much interest as he could into his voice to make up for his lousy greeting.

“I’m a senior account manager with Razor[Gun]. We’re an advertising and branding agency. Not much time for painting anymore, but every now and then I’ll wet a canvas. More importantly, why are you out here rather than in there?” She pointed at the gallery’s open doors.

Some of the pain and embarrassment Lucien was suffering showed on his face. “Senior Account Manager, huh? So you’ve risen to the high ranks.”

A trace of something flashed across her face, but disappeared before Lucien could interpret what it meant, then Lindsey replied while doing a little dance, “Your girl’s got skills, and so do you, so…again, why are we out here,” (Lindsey’s dance ended with both hands pointing at the gallery door) “and not in there?”

Lucien looked around and mentally measured the distance to the nearest group of conversationalists. He leaned in so only she could hear, “I’ve only sold one of my paintings.”

She gave him a look that wasn’t entirely sympathetic. “Toughen up,” she advised and planted a playful fist into his chest. “You have your own solo exhibit. Excuse my insistence that you not wear a skirt and sensible shoes in my presence. Now, enjoy your success and let’s see what you’ve got cookin’ in here.”

As she moved towards the gallery entrance, he stayed where he was. “I’ll be in. Go ahead and browse. Maksym and Oksana are in there. They’ll both be glad to see you.”

He watched her enter the gallery and was pleased that she made her way over to a painting and not to where the food was. Needing to know if she was just trying to be polite, he waited until she approached a second and then a third painting of his before accepting that she was there in genuine support of his work. It was in that moment that Lucien knew that their relationship was real and not just imagined in his head.

He turned away from the gallery and looked up and down the street. There were still a couple clusters of people on the sidewalk outside the gallery, but the Indian girl and her friends had disappeared. He was relieved. It was bad enough not selling many paintings, but it would’ve been worse if he had been beaten up in front of his own opening as well. Lindsey had inadvertently saved him.

He turned to see what painting she was looking at but she wasn’t in the front room anymore. She had gone deeper into the exhibit space. There were three rooms total, showing off the last six months of his work, he wished that he had learned how to enjoy these moments better.

Looking through the floor to ceiling windows separating the gallery from the sidewalk, he counted two people looking at his art. The other 14 he counted in the room were clustered in groups and conversation. He felt he might as well have not created anything at all.

He heard knocking on the window and turned to see a guy in his early 20’s wearing a striped collared shirt, vest and jeans with a pageboy hat waving a ‘come here’ to someone in the gallery. There was another guy standing next to him looking out at the passing traffic. A few seconds later, a couple of pretty girls of the same age came out of the gallery. One of the girls (a red head) asked Pageboy if he got in touch with Peter yet as she crossed the gallery’s threshold.

“Yeah,” Pageboy answered. “He texted me his address. It’s like five minutes from here, so come on.” Pageboy started to walk down the street, confident that they’d follow.

The red head ran awkwardly in her heels to catch up to Pageboy and put her arm around his waist. He leaned down and kissed her. The other guy reminded Pageboy that the car was in the other direction, but Pageboy complained that he wasn’t moving after already paying for parking. Realizing that Pageboy wasn’t going to wait up for them, the guy and his girl hurried from behind to catch up. When they caught up, the guy put his hand in the girl’s back pocket.

Lucien waited until they were two storefronts away before falling in behind them.





Chris Wesley is the award-winning author of the fiction book The Gospel of Wolves, the short fiction story Regret in Triptych and the poetry book Pack Animals. He uses his fine art photography as prompts for character sketches and settings in his fiction along with gallery shows. He has written for the music magazine Night Moves Magazine, acted in independent movies and plays; wrote, cast, directed, shot and edited an independent short movie, started bands and gone solo. He plays a few instruments and is generally considered a smart ass. He also has a thing for how we connect with each other and with ourselves.


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