READINGS AND SIGNINGS

Hi Friends,

First, a big THANK YOU to everyone who pre-ordered WALKING THROUGH FIRE. It’s not too late — here are the links for purchase:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Talos Press

The book will also be available in bookstores starting September 4th, 2018.

I’ve set up some local places where I’ll sign books and do readings. I hope you can join me!

READING AND SIGNING SCHEDULE

Friday, September 7th  FIRESTORM YOGA AND READING

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM  Anytime Fitness, 1 Newport Drive, Forest Hill, MD

Yoga Instructor and Fantasy Author Sherri Woosley will teach a special twenty-minute yoga class inspired by her novel WALKING THROUGH FIRE. The class will be followed by a reading. If you have a book, please bring to have it signed.

Friday, September 14th      SIGNING

6:30-8:00 PM  Barnes and Noble, 620 Marketplace Dr, Bel Air, MD 21014

The bookstore isn’t hosting readings at this time, but I will be present and happy to sign or discuss the book.

Tuesday, September 18th   READING AND SIGNING

12:30 – 1:30 Julie Ellyn Designs, 18 S Main St, Bel Air, MD 21014

Come listen to a reading from Walking Through Fire in a shop that features beautiful handmade jewelry as well as other unique gifts made by artisans from around the country. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday and Sunday, September 29th – 30th Signing and Panels

Saturday: Signing at the SFWA tent at 5 PM, Inner Harbor of Baltimore

Sunday: 1:00 PM       Panel: The Future of Cities, the Fantasy of Cities

4:00 PM       Panel: From Harry Potter to the Broken Earth Trilogy: Magic                                                Systems That Will Put You Under Their Spell

 

CRITTER QUIZ for Walking Through Fire

Hello Friends,

  1. My novel releases in three weeks. I’ve been waiting six years for this, so kind of a big deal. You should definitely pre-order a copy here
  2. I’m working on a list of readings and signings and will share soon.
  3. Please, if you are on Goodreads add my book to your “to-read” list.

Why should you do these things? Well, remember THIS post? But, there are other reasons too. The CRITTERS in my novel deserve their own post.

Animals are important to me. That’s why I have my foster-fail pup Gabe. That’s why my oldest daughter is in the Animal Science program at her high school and we experienced the whole Bunny Project. We still have 2 1/2 bunnies, by the way, in case anyone local to Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania is looking for a wonderful pet. The 1/2 is because…well, I digress. We also have a baby horse. She’s a beautiful four-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred filly who has a ridiculous racing record (like, ridiculously bad. That is also another story…and I’ll post about her with pictures of her doing yoga with the equine osteopath because, you know, that’s my life.)

Anyway, I say all this because OF COURSE animals are going to be a big part of my world-building. Energy follows ley lines and causes changes that… Hey! I don’t want to give too much away, though. There’s a quiz below to tell you who your perfect “pet” would be, but DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED WHEN READING.

>

>

>

>

You’re still here? Okay, here’s the quiz:

  1.          Do you want a pet that requires more or less attention?

A) Every minute with my pet

B) I have a couple hours every day.

C) I want a pet that fits into my lifestyle

D) I want my pet around when I remember it

E) I have no interest in actually interacting with my pet

                        2. How important is obedience from your pet?

A) Obedience is nice, but love is more important.

B) I need obedience so I can trust my pet.

C) Well, maybe obedience is overrated.

D) Who needs a pet who does tricks?

E) Umm. I need my pet to understand, “STOP.”

3. How important is it that your pet be housetrained?

A) Very

B) Accidents are unacceptable. We can work on manners.

C) Kind of

D) I’m willing to change my pet’s water.

E). Nope. Never coming in my house anyway.

4. How traditional do you want your pet to be?

A) Very

B) Pretty traditional

C) Somewhat

D) That’s boring

E) I want a pet that no one has never seen before

5. Do you want your pet to like you?

A) You said “like.” I think you meant “love.”

B) I want my pet to respect me.

C) I’d like my pet to recognize my voice, at least.

D) It’s okay if my pet doesn’t even know I’m home.

E) My pet and I will be actively avoiding each other.

 

Look, you guys have done magazine quizzes before. You know what to do. Whichever letter you choose the most often corresponds to your perfect “Misbegotten” pet.

A) Dido — a white female wolf who keeps Caesar “in the friend zone.” She’s elegant, maternal, and protective. With the right person, she’s not above snuggling. Dido is highly intelligent, but discerning about who she’ll love. She’s loyal to a fault and will give everything for her special one.  

B) Caesar — a solid black male wolf. He’s an alpha who will keep you safe by attacking promptly and without remorse. He is stoic, but might come across as arrogant. He’s not into being cuddled, but will consent to sit beside you when, and if, he chooses. He’s a soldier with perfect posture. It’s not his fault that he’s so damn handsome.

C) Saki — a penguin-turtle who helps Tamaki hold on to her sanity through many terrible experiences. She excels at being quiet and her fur is soft to the touch, but she’ll retreat inside her shell when she needs some alone time. She needs a lot of alone time.

By artist Amelia Grace

D) Zombie horseshoe crabs — these are kind of the equivalent of those frog kits where you send away for the tadpoles. They don’t require a lot of maintenance because they are already dead, but they do drift through the water, preferably brackish water like that found in the Chesapeake Bay, especially when in the presence of etemuu.  You can have one or a whole swarm. Warning: under the right circumstances they can be dangerous to humans.

E)Two-headed Moose — This guy is often misunderstood, probably because he is truly of two minds. Like a Gemini, this BIG fella has a good side, purely vegetarian. And then he has the other side, devilish side, literally. His second head, the one growing from his shoulder, would like to spear anyone and everyone. He’ll definitely get your friends attention. Warning: Hire a professional animal trainer for this pet.

 

So, ready to hit the pet store and buy supplies? Post in the comments which pet was right for you.

A couple of notes. The wolves and moose pictures all came from a World Wildlife Fund calendar a couple years ago — and I’m sorry I don’t have the specific photographer’s name to acknowledge him or her.

HOWEVER, I’m very happy to share the artist who created Saki for me: Amelia Grace. Her website is: http://amelia-grace-illustration.com and she has even more artwork on Instagram @Ameliagraceillustration

I’ve ordered bookmarks to give out at readings/signings and they will feature the cover art for Walking Through Fire on one side and Amelia’s design on the other side.

Let me know which pet you chose!

Sherri

 

Cover Reveal

Hello, Friends. It’s been…a chaotic couple of months, but I wanted to focus on some positive news. Would you like to see the amazing cover for my debut novel, Walking Through Fire?

I love this. We have Rachel and Adam standing in front of downtown Baltimore and a dragon in the flames overhead. Everything I wanted.

I have some other BIG news. My novel releases September 4th, 2018, BUT IT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Talos Press

I’ll have more news soon.

Love,

Sherri

Walking Through Fire

My debut novel is coming out next fall. That seems a realllllly long time away, but there are a lot of behind the scenes tasks that have to be marked off before a book is released. For example, I had to fill out this author questionaire while I was working on revisions. One of the questions was, “Who is going to read your novel?”

It sent me into a complete panic attack. Because…who IS going to read my novel? No one. And if anyone does, they will hate it for ALL the reasons or WORSE, it will be tepid and forgettable and even my friends won’t be able to make it past the first chapter and then they’ll avoid me because they don’t want me to ask how they liked the book. These brain weasels had me sitting on the kitchen floor crying. I put off tackling revisions because if I didn’t work on the story then it wasn’t my fault if someone didn’t like it, right?

I managed to bash the brain weasels and acknowledge that it’s true: NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE MY BOOK. AND THAT’S OKAY. It’s honestly okay. There will be one-star reviews (oh please, don’t let there be one-star reviews). We all have different tastes in reading and tv shows and music. My agent believed in me. My editor believed in the story. My family kept telling me they were proud of me.

So, why DID I enjoy writing the book in the first place? Here’s my Top 10 REASONS THAT I LOVE MY BOOK (remember David Letterman’s Top 10 lists?). No spoilers.

10) The park ranger is subversive. He subverts the old order in favor of survival and then he subverts the new government. He recognizes the intent behind a certain territory’s fear rhetoric from the beginning. For such an affable guy, he really does have his own set of rules.

9) My protagonist is a mom. Her son is both her weakness and her strength. She would do anything to keep her son safe…including changing the world.

8) Greek mythology is popular. Most people are familiar enough with Roman, Norse, and Egyptian myth to advance in Trivia Crack. But, I wanted to dive into the cosmology of the ancient Sumerians and the stories that came from the Tigris-Euphrates river valley.

7) The world I’ve created has zombie horseshoe crabs.

6) It also has a Jewish motorcycle gang.

5) Cancer affected our family. It was real and scary and isolating and humbling. I understand why some readers would want to escape into fantasy and keep this disease locked out, but I admire cancer warriors and I understand their families and maybe seeing Adam with his bald head and his neutrophil counts and his resilient spirit will resonate with someone who needs to be seen.

4) There’s a dragon. A real-live dragon. She’s fierce and beautiful and selfish and cruel. You’re going to love her.  Just…be careful.

3) When I taught Intro. to World Mythology at University of Maryland, one of the essay topics was to compare/contrast Inanna (Sumerian) with the later Ishtar (Babylonian). I had a blast imagining how the Mesopotamian pantheon would manifest post-Digital age.

2) Adam is eleven years old. He’s a cool kid and I got to work with my own son through different drafts as we discussed what Adam might or might not do. Ultimately I had to save some of my son’s suggestions for the sequel because, without meaning to, Adam was taking away from Rachel’s story and trying to go off in his own direction. A reflection of my son entering the teen years?

1) The number one reason that I love this novel is because it is imaginative and wild and a little unruly. Like a first born child, it is surrounded with the energy and excitement and expectations that come before a parent has really experienced that insane sleeplessness of having an infant or handling a toddler tantrum in the grocery store. I have a lot to look forward to: the cover real, the book launch, the first book signing. My goal is to keep the brain weasels muzzled and enjoy the moments.

Bonus: I think it’s funny that I can’t call Walking Through Fire by its initials.

I hope you enjoy Walking Through Fire, but you won’t have to avoid me or make excuses if you don’t. I promise not to ask for proof that you’ve pre-ordered (unless it is part of a promotion), or ask if you’ve read it,  or what you think. (But, I’ll appreciate it if you leave an Amazon or Goodreads review.)

Love,

Sherri

 

Turning into a Farm or Research?

It’s the middle of summer and I have seven children in the house, the dog in a bedroom upstairs because he keeps barking at one of the children, and two rabbits in the laundry room because it is 97 degrees outside and bunnies, as you know, don’t like temps over 85 degrees. Also, one of the bunnies might be pregnant, but that’s not why she’s mean. She was mean before. That’s why she lived in a chicken coop. But now she lives at my house.

I’ve been working on a contemporary novel about a woman who runs an animal rescue and somehow real life and writer life are overlapping. How else to explain this?

And these?

Some pigs strolled through my backyard. Seriously.

And, finally, why would I have a rooster show up in my garage?

These pictures all have stories and they may or not make it into my novel, but there are other parts of animal rescue. I had to research pit bull fighting. Here’s the book that was most affecting.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

What I read made me angry and horrified and sad and proud. Yes, PROUD. The animal control officers who were told not to accuse a sports celebrity, but did because it was the right thing to do. The men and women at rescues all over the United States who worked tirelessly to save the dogs: rehabilitating and teaching these abused animals how to be dogs again. Loving on them, training them, believing in them. Acting on Gandhi’s famous quote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

I salute those who, like my character, give their life to make this world a better place for animals. I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for Luna’s House, a rescue in Maryland, and get a glimpse into the amount of work that goes into running a rescue.

I need to hurry up and finish this draft because there’s a chapter where a zebra appears and I….I don’t think I have any more room in my house!

Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Love,

Sherri

Fear of the Week

Hey Friends,

Just wanted to give a quick update on my own private NaNoWriMo. I made the last goal so I’m at 20,000 words. The way I’ve been doing it is a hybrid method. That is, I’m not writing every day because that doesn’t work with my schedule. Instead, I’ve set aside a week where the writing is the number one priority and gotten 10K words. Then I had to stop and make up all the things I didn’t get done. Then I did another week of 10K words. I’m about to start on my third week.

One of the things that some of you might say is, “Lame. The whole point is to write every day until you get 50K. Taking breaks isn’t NaNoWriMo. You’re a cheater and I don’t care about you.”

Okay. That’s a little harsh, but fine and fair. And, this is my version. Whether or not I’m doing it wrong, I have learned that there is a specific fear associated with each week of writing.

Also, to come back to that whole “lame bit” here are some of the things I’ve done the past two weeks to make up, catch up, and try to triage to prepare for next week long sprint:

One Times: I finished my Christmas Letters. (Now are you getting how overwhelmed I am?)  My daughter Evelyn participated as a cancer survivor in the “Pantene Beautiful Lengths” experience by cutting the ponytails of students donating their hair to be made into free wigs for cancer patients. Dog had to go to vet to get nails clipped, and fresh orders of heartworm preventative and flea/tick meds. Lime disease is terrible in Maryland. Son had to go to orthodontist. He needs braces.  I went to Baltimore for critique group at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Had several stories come in from The Potomac Review that I need to read and get responses back to editor. I called my senators about the cuts to the EPA.

Regular: Post office, bank, drycleaner, grocery store, laundry for six people, I wrote my bills, went through mail I hadn’t looked at in over a week, and then the sports. This is the overlapping of winter and spring sports. My son is regular basketball, all-star basketball, lacrosse. My oldest daughter finished her volunteer hours at the horse stable and then started Track and Field (which is EVERY DAY that I have to pick her up from school). My little ones finished science club but still have gymnastics. They also have birthday parties to attend on the weekends. I wasn’t teaching as many classes this week, but I had to finish the session with all the attending paperwork to be filed and moved around.

Now that I’ve been nice and defensive, let me throw away all the little sticky notes that I write my daily to-do lists on and tell you about FEAR.

The first week fear is: DO I HAVE A NOVEL IN ME? That is, you’ve thought of a premise, you’ve got a hook and a setting and some characters, but do you have enough for 85K words? You kinda know what’s going to happen, but what if it all happens too quickly and this is only a short story?

The only way to get through this fear is to try it. Take a deep breath and keep asking “what if.” What if my character wants A, but then B happens? What if my character chooses to do something stupid when someone else has A and doesn’t appreciate it? What if my character gets A, but realizes she wanted B?

The second week fear: THIS ISN’T INTERESTING. I’ve got too many characters, too many pets, the conflict isn’t threatening enough. All my sentences are subject-verb-direct object with no variety so that EVEN MY SENTENCES ARE BORING.

That’s okay. I’ve read NaNoWriMo pep talks. The authors all say the same thing. You can’t edit something that you haven’t gotten out of your head. You must get something onto the paper and then you can change it around. Also, this writing is so fresh that you are not a reliable indicator of whether there is an engrossing story. You’ll need beta readers and TIME.

As I’m getting ready for my third week (tomorrow is an elementary half-day so kids are getting home as I’m getting home from teaching yoga and my son has three basketball games Saturday because they are in a tournament and I teach Sunday School on Sunday morning, but after that. Monday, March 6th)…

I have another fear: THIS ISN’T WORTH IT  All those things I listed above that I had to get done so that I could write something that no one is ever going to want to read. My premise is stupid, my characters forgettable. I’m stressed and irritable because I have no time and it’s all going to be forgotten, recycled, a waste of paper.

Maybe I’ll have some insight after I make it through this writing week. But, this one seems to be the hardest to fight because I KNOW I’m out of balance. My day, each day, is scheduled down to ten minute intervals and that is not how I want to live. I’m nervous when practice schedules don’t come in ahead of time because I am constantly doing logistics. I’m short with the kids when they want to play instead of sticking to the schedule. I live in the minivan and dread dinner because I didn’t have time to make anything that they’ll all eat. The situation makes me very unhappy.

My guess is this is where the author says he or she had to dig deep and have confidence that the novel will help other people, that the story will connect and resonate with others.

I don’t know. We should have an answer by March 13th.

Love,

Sherri

 

NaNoWriMo Retry

Friends,

It’s been busy and there have been a lot of distractions in our private lives as well as the political sphere. Life was so chaotic that I didn’t even send out Christmas cards this year and that makes me feel like a really bad friend/family member. But, my daughter Evie did have her fourth year anniversary of stopping chemo, my husband and I did get away to NYC to see Hamiliton to celebrate our anniversary, and we did go to France to see our friends get married. All the bad stuff I’ll leave in 2016.

In November I started the National Novel Writing Month challenge. If you haven’t tried this, it’s really well-run with social networking, graphs of progress, and emailed pep talks. Still, I failed with spectacular success. School was cancelled what seemed like every other day and then we traveled for Thanksgiving. So, I’m starting again tomorrow, February 1st. My plan is to write 1,500 words each day for a total of 42,000 new words. To help myself, I’m making a Top 10 list of PITFALLS TO AVOID if you want to win a NaNoWriMo.

  1. Don’t have four children. Well, too late for that. Solution: Honestly acknowledging that I can’t write from 3pm -10pm because I will be making snacks, checking homework, hounding about cleaning up messes, and driving to various activities. And, seriously, after 10 pm I’m too tired anyway.
  2. Don’t check Facebook or Twitter. I admit to being swirled around by the election results and the past eleven days of nominees and executive orders. I do believe in action — phone calls about issues and donating to charities that I feel are especially vulnerable — but I’ve wasted hours reading articles and cross-checking info and reading status updates and generally getting caught up in an extended panic mode. All I’ve ended up with are anxiety headaches. This doesn’t help anyone. (I will, however, continue to remain informed because I believe in the great American experiment in democracy).
  3. Don’t ignore the small successes. Writing is a hard business. I sold two stories this month: “Breakage” to Abyss & Apex and “Saving Money” to Flash Fiction Magazine’s anthology. That feeling is going to have to carry me through the rejections (six in January).
  4. Don’t have a nice lunch. I get tired of making breakfast, packing lunches, making afternoon snacks, making dinner. ALL THE TIME FOR SO MANY PEOPLE. So lunch by myself is sometimes the only time where I can eat what I want to. It’s my treat. Unfortunately, that takes time. So on school days, for February, I’m giving up my nice lunches. Instead, I’ll have a vegetable soup that I can make on Sundays to last the week. (Will this be the first “pit” I fall into? It might be).
  5.  Don’t let trainwrecks at the day job eat into your time or consume your thoughts. In November I was training a new teacher and creating the schedule for the next session and doing time sheets and a million other things. This February, fingers crossed, nothing unexpected should be occurring. I can go in each morning, teach class, and be out.
  6.   Don’t let blog posts, short stories, or other projects take priority. Ummm, guilty. Posts are good — they connect a writer to other writers, to readers, and make the author produce content. Short stories are good. They are a chance to improve craft, get feedback more quickly, and finish a project. I also have a “secret” creative project I’m working on that takes a couple hours a week. Good is good, but it’s not the best. This month I need to PRIORITIZE my novel writing. I want to be a novelist. That has to come first, even when I’m tempted to revise a short story (because revising is EASIER) rather than creating that first draft.
  7. Don’t hate yourself, yell at yourself, or try to go back and read parts of the first draft. Yes, it’s going to be crap. Yes, there are a ton of parts that need to be fleshed out and plot threads that went nowhere. That’s okay.
  8. Don’t be a martyr. Your kids won’t care. Seriously. You drive them to basketball, gymnastics, indoor soccer, after school activities. YOU EVEN DRIVE THE OLDER TWO KIDS TO THEIR VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES. You can go to the writing conference weekend in February. You can go to a critique group meeting in February. These are ways to recharge and become inspired by other writers.
  9. Don’t do any major household renovations. Obviously some things are out of our control (lightning strike anyone?), but I can’t concentrate when I have strangers walking into and out of my house. We’ve recovered from the strike, the upstairs carpet has been replaced. NO MORE PROJECTS.
  10. Don’t stop exercising. I’m lucky that I teach exercise classes — strength training and yoga. I also walk my dog. But when the plot won’t hold together, when you don’t know what happens next, I suggest taking a walk or getting on the elliptical, whatever you need and get your brain in a calm, relaxed state so that solutions can flow.

 

That’s all I got. It’s 3:02 and my daughter is rolling her eyes because I asked her to walk the dog and my son is complaining about the cereal selection for his snack.

Do you have any advice to get meet your writing goals?

Love,

Sherri