Tag Archives: The Write OWL

She’s Baaaaaaack! — Djuna Shellam The Write Owl — Episode 26

She’s Baaaaaaack!

Yes, that’s right… She’s Baaaaaaack! After a long, long, hiatus, I have indeed returned to the world of video and blogging; aka, vlogging.

She's Baaaaaaack!I believe my last turn at the wheel was in the summer of 2016. Yes, that is a long time between episodes. I had just moved out of California and was hanging out in the Seattle area before moving to North Idaho.

I had transported my worldly possessions from Southern California to a storage in Spokane. Move one. From there, then went to an apartment in North Idaho. Move two. Move three came six months later when, in the middle of a snowstorm, I moved them into my new, and final, home. If you had asked me in the midst of all that moving, aside from a few well placed expletives, it’s not something I would have recommended. But in the end, I’m glad I decided to move that way. The happy ending is that it all worked out.

So that’s a bit of where I’ve been. This video is more of She’s Baaaaaaack! than anything. Sort of a primer for the videos to come, I suppose. And there are more videos to come. As I generally do, I made several episodes at one sitting. After doing that from the very beginning, I read recently that’s how you’re supposed to do it. Who knew? Apparently, I did!

What Do I Know?

As I mentioned in this video, one of the myriad reasons I haven’t been vlogging for such a long time, was that I’ve been grappling with my own insecurities. Do I really have anything of value to say about writing? Or… anything?

As I went about reinventing my life up here in North Idaho, it was an issue constantly nagging me. Despite the fact that I’m typically a very helpful person when it comes to attained knowledge, willing to share what I’ve learned along the way with anyone, I was beginning to doubt myself, wondering, do I really have anything to offer? One day, it hit me. Yes, I do. Even if just one person gains from my personal experience, then what I know has value. A lot of what I know came from other people’s experiences, and if they hadn’t taken the time to share, I wouldn’t know what I know now. So… there.

And yes, She’s Baaaaaaack!

scrivener writing process

My Scrivener Writing Process — Djuna Shellam The Write OWL — Episode 23

Scrivener Writing Process

Djuna Shellam The Write OWL Episode 23

In this 23rd Wednesday episode of Djuna Shellam The Write OWL, I talk about my “Scrivener Writing Process” which is strongly affected by my adoption of Scrivener as my primary writing tool.

As I mention in the video, I don’t remember how I stumbled onto it, but I know I was extremely frustrated by the clunkiness of Word and Pages; but more than that, I was beyond frustrated by the lack of seemless conversion to epub and mobi files using Word and/or Pages.

As a publisher who handles most of the production aspects of my writing, it is imperative that I be able to do most of the production tasks myself. Using Word and Pages was a nightmare. Time consuming and, frankly, unprofessional. Somehow, in searching for a conversion program, I found Scrivener and my writing and publishing life was forever changed.

Producing beautiful mobi or epub files is now a snap, but that’s really a super bonus feature. The real joy of my newfound Scrivener Writing Process is that the entire process of writing is so easy. Yes, there was a learning curve, but what’s so cool about Scrivener is that YouTube is awash with great tutorials from Scrivener and other enthusiasts. There is nothing you can’t find on YouTube if you need help.

Usually, I find it annoying to have to sit and go through tutorials, but with Scrivener, I’m happy to do it because the results I gain are so spectacular, it’s well worth the time.

The best part about my Scrivener Writing Process is that it works with my natural writing style. It also works the way my brain works, and that’s not easy to find.

My first two novels, The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood and Mackenna on the Edge were written with Pages, but when I ran into walls when trying to convert the documents to epub or mobi formats, I reformatted them to Scrivener. It was a laborious process, but well worth it. Prairie Fire was written beginning to end on Scrivener in a third of the time each of the others took to write. Bottom line? My Scrivener writing process rocks.


The Write OWL

Prairie Fire —DJuna Shellam The Write OWL— Episode 20

Prairie Fire

DJuna Shellam The Write OWL— Episode 20

In Episode 20, Prairie Fire, I talk about how Praire Fire, the book and the character, came to be named, and discuss a little about her role in the series, as well as her personality.

Prairie FireAs with most of my characters, Praire Fire somewhat appeared out of nowhere. In fact, she took the place of another character I thought would fill that role that I conjured many, many years ago. Sometimes, for me, I make plans for a story, but then when I start writing the story, it has other ideas. Yes, the story has its own ideas about how things should go. Sometimes I feel as if I’m more of a stenographer taking dictation from my master—I mean, my Muse—than a writer.

In the end, as ever, I’m completely happy with the appearance of Praire Fire. She has turned out to be a fun character to write and get to know. She can be extremely lovable; yet, she can also be absolutely infuriating. But isn’t that true with most people? She’s definitely not one-dimensional, and when Prairie Fire falls in love, it’s a crash landing for sure.

What’s a bit funny for me is that I always start out with the desire to write the perfect character, meaning the perfect “one” for me. Why not, right? I mean, being a writer is like ordering at Burger King—I get to have it my way. But, alas, it never quite works out that way. I seem to end up writing characters I wouldn’t date if you paid me. I wonder why that is? I suppose it would be worth a trip or two to a shrink, but you know what happens to a “trip or two,” when it comes to shrinks, don’t you? That’s right, one or two trips turn into a year or two of analysis, and before you know it, it’s been twenty years and you still don’t know anything—and your shrink now owns a yacht.

Check out The Em Suite Series at Amazon.com. Best read in order from The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood, Book One, to Mackenna on the Edge, Book Two; and finally, (at least until Book Four is finished and published) Prairie Fire, Book Three.

SPECIAL NOTE: As I am in the final throes of my big move, it is highly doubtful I’ll release an episode this Sunday or next Wednesday as I’ll be traveling. I might do something off-the-wall if I can, but once I get to where I’m going, I should be back to releasing two episodes a week.

Moving—Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 18

Moving — Part One

Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 18

In this week’s episodes, Moving—Part One, I’m breaking with protocol a bit in order to accommodate my weariness. As you will learn, in both episodes and in this blog, I am in the process of moving. It’s a move of considerable distance, so it requires careful packing (I liken it to preparing to move to the Moon), which is tedious and time-consuming.

Moving, as I’ve said on many occasions, is not my friend. I’ve moved quite a bit in my lifetime, but haven’t done so (for myself, at any rate), in nearly fifteen years. And there’s a reason for that. Moving sucks, especially when it’s just you doing it. And it’s keeping me from progressing on my writing. Yeah, yeah, I might be whining a little.

While I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to move, that I was finally able to sell my house and put a bit of change into my pocket, so-to-speak, it’s an all-encompassing endeavor that seems as if it’s never-ending. Writing my blog is really the only writing I’ve been able to do. It’s frustrating. You see, I don’t mind at all if I don’t write when I don’t have anything pressing to write. When a story isn’t pounding on the door demanding to get out. I’m not that writer that freaks out over writers’ block. Writers’ block, what’s that? No, periods of writing dormancy works just fine for me. But when I do have something to write, that I want to write, then it’s frustrating when I can’t.

So this week, instead of producing a blog and a video episode each for Sunday and Wednesday, I’ve decided to moosh the two days together into one. I’ll probably do that for the next few weeks. I need to finish up packing my belongings, then I have to transport them far away, and then… I’ll be a bit of a nomad for a while until I find just the right spot on which to land. I’m hoping to get back to a two-a-week schedule by then, which will be the last half of June. Fingers crossed, eh?

If you haven’t done so already, please check out The Em Suite Series if you are looking for something good to read. Please note, when I say “good,” that’s just my opinion. You’re the ultimate judge on that.


The Write OWL

Dot Baverstock—Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 17

Dot Baverstock

Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 17

Dot Baverstock, the much beloved character in The Em Suite Series, is the subject of discussion in the Wednesday episode of Djuna Shellam The Write OWL.

As mentioned before, Dot Baverstock was a walk on character in Book One of the series, The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood. Meaning, I didn’t plan her, and until her first words, “Airman!” I didn’t know she was even in the vicinity of my lead character, Alice. From that moment, I hate to admit, Dot Baverstock has essentially written herself. I am just along for the dictation.

I’ve often been asked, “Who would play Dot in the movie?” First I ask, “What movie!?!” But seriously, I’ve long thought Allison Janney would play Dot very nicely. One time I mentioned Janney as Dot to a reader and she was adamant, “NO!” Yikes. All I can say is, that’s who’s in my head when I’m writing Dot, rather, when I’m typing Dot’s words. Ha!

What’s interesting to me is that I have always loved Dot Baverstock, but I never expected many of my readers to feel the same way, if not more so. It was so surprising to me when Alice Hollywood first came out, when I would ask, “Who was your favorite?” I half expected Alice, Em or Mitch; but universally it was, “Dot. Love Dot!” Wow. Who knew?

I really wish I could take complete and total credit for Dot Baverstock, because she is so beloved, but I just can’t. I didn’t plan her. She forced her way into my story. Even in Mackenna on the Edge, Dot finagled her way in, and actually set up a prominent location and storyline in Prairie Fire. Dot Baverstock is a force of nature, and gets her way with me every time.

Dot is that person I think we’d all like to have in our lives when we need a loyal, strong, clear-headed, loving and fearless advocate. She’s the friend, and even the mom when there’s not one nearby, you want in your corner. I want her in mine, anyway. I love her and I hope, if you haven’t “met” her yet, that when you do, you will love her as much as I do.

You can “meet” Dot in any of the current installments of The Em Suite: Books One through Three HERE.

djuna shellam

Genre Part Deux—Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 13

Genre Part Deux

Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 13

In this Wednesday episode, Genre Part Deux, of Djuna Shellam The Write OWL, I talk about genre with some second thoughts about it. Actually, they’re more than second thoughts—I think about it all the time.

Genre Part Deux is more of an opportunity for you, the reader or fellow writer, to wade in and give me your two cents about it. I’m intrigued. As a reader, do you head for a certain genre when looking for something to read, or are you more of a hit or miss kind of chooser? I like a few different genres, but when I want to read fiction it really depends on my mood whether I want to read fantasy, mystery, romance or whatever myriad genres strikes me as interesting at the time. If I can’t decide, I often will grab a few titles at the library or the store and hope that once I begin reading I can be enticed by the author to read through to the end. It’s very rare for me not to finish a book once I’ve begun, so that either means I’m not picky, or I’m a better chooser than I’m prepared to admit.

Fellow writers, when you write, when you begin a story, do you begin with a genre in mind, or is it an afterthought, something you decide when you’re done writing? I know there are writers who specifically write for a genre—some because it’s what they enjoy. Others because that’s what’s hot—they’re more business-oriented about their writing. Me? Right now, my subject matter dictates my genre, but that’s just proof that genre is an afterthought for me in my writing.

So here we are. Genre Part Deux. What do you think? Or doesn’t it matter? So many questions… Seriously, I really want to know.

Speaking of writing…

Prairie Fire Book 3 of The Em Suite is releasing to the public on this Friday, the 13th of May. Yeah, I know. I’d like to say I’m not superstitious, but I can’t because Friday the 13th is actually a lucky day for me. Let’s hope so with this book. Please feel free to share with your friends. My books are available on Amazon.com.