Archive for June, 2013

Here’s Your Chance!

Posted: June 27, 2013 by Hannah Stewart in Uncategorized

The Breaking Shadows Project is in full swing. Enormous amounts of coffee are going into my goal of finishing the Bold rewrites and edits by summer’s end, with the hope of publishing at that time sparkling in the near distance. There’s still much to do, and I’m pouring all I’ve got into this final draft.

However, there is something you can do to help. With publication looming, I am in need of BETA readers for the final draft and polish. Outside opinion is key to the final product, and input is highlyimportant. 

So, What Does Being a BETA Reader Mean?

It’s quite simple, really. A BETA reader gets dibs on the draft of a story, chapter by chapter, as it’s being written – or, in this case, rewritten. They get to ask all the questions they wish of the writer, and see the book as it develops. In return, they are asked to give solid critique of the book, no matter how harsh. The purpose of BETA readers is to collect a response, and improve the book so that can meet it’s full potential. A BETA reader’s other responsibilities are being patient with the writer through busy seasons where not much writing will get done, to pester them if they’re procrastinating, and to be patient through the book’s rough patches. It’s the first draft… it will be riddled with grammatical errors, bumpy chapters, and dry spells. But, if you choose to take the task on, you’ll get to watch it as it gradually gets polished, until it shines.

I will be attempting to send out an update at least once or twice a week. These updates will vary in length, and will most likely not be constant due to a fluctuating schedule. BETA readers are to delete the document from their computer after reading it, and should not share any of the work without approval.

How Do You Become a BETA Reader?

Simple! Send an email to breakingshadowsproject@gmail.com with “BETA Reader” as the subject, and drop a quick note with your name and a brief explanation of why you’d like to BETA read for me. You may sign up at any time, the sooner the better. I will send you a confirmation within 24 hours, and you will be placed into my email list for this story.

The Story

The followers of this blog have seen snippets of what’s to come, but newcomers are welcome to look over the synopsis and cover concept below. (Note: Cover is not final.)

“Rains will flood the earth,
Fires burn the hearth,
Blood be spilled like wine,
I’ll lose what once was mine,
But flowers still will grow,
Light burst through shadow,
So child rest tonight,
My child, sleep tonight.”

The country is torn. Families are broken. A corrupted government holds all the power. Fear has filled every nook and cranny, every broken-hearted citizen, and chased the hopes and dreams from the people. In the midst of it all, Jesse and her brother lead a revolution. Just two children, they will have to rebuild their parents’ rebel army if they ever hope to justify their deaths. A battle is coming, whether they’re ready or not. Their only hope is to be BOLD.

Breaking Shadows: Bold (c) 2013 Hannah Stewart

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Strange Beginnings

Posted: June 22, 2013 by Hannah Stewart in Uncategorized

One of the first questions people usually ask me when they hear I’m a writer is always “How do you get inspired to write?”

Even as often as I’ve been asked this question, I’m still left without a solid answer to respond with. For just as I’m asked this question by others, I ask this question of myself. How do I get inspired to write? There is no single, simple answer. Inspiration is a flighty thing with a mind of its own, something that comes from our mysterious Father to prod us forward. It’s not something that can be pinned down and defined, or ensnared by a single formula for success. There are certainly things one can do to increase their chances for inspiration, and every writer has their “ideal conditions,” but in the end, inspiration will either come, or it wont, and you don’t have much of a say in the whole thing. Nay, it nearly always arrives when it’s the least welcome – as was the case with Breaking Shadows: Bold.

The inspiration for Bold came on what would have been the perfect day for inspiration – ideal mist and rainy conditions outside, with a light breeze that made it cool enough to wear my light hoodie, but not so cold as to make my joints ache. However, on this particular day, I was hard at work in the kitchen of my parents’ BBQ and Ice Cream shop. I was, in fact, elbow deep in raw meat to prep and smoke, with a little paring knife in hand to clean my stack of ribs. It’s my least favorite job; not because of the raw meat, but because it’s a long process with many chances of catching oneself with the freshly sharpened blade in their hand. On this day, I had not one case of ribs to prep, but three, stacked two deep over the entire surface of our long prep table. I was grateful to be alone in the kitchen, however, as this ensured complete control over the musical selections. So, as I began this hefty task, I also started my favorite recording of Les Miserables. By the time I hit “A Little Fall of Rain,” I was about halfway done prepping the ribs. My hands and back were aching, sweat dripping down my face from the hot ovens all around, and one of my gloves had just ripped open. I stepped back from the table, letting a long, laborious sigh hiss through my teeth, then peeled off my gloves and stretched the many kinks from my back. As I did so, one of my favorite lines of the duet wafted gently from the speakers, and I caught sight of the marvelous gloom through the front windows.

“A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now. You’re here, that’s all I need to know. You will keep me safe, and you will keep me close, and rain will make the flowers grow.” 

Boom! In that moment, that split second of relaxation and beauty in the midst of depressing, hard, and bloody work, it hit me. Not the story, mind you, but a single image, blurred at the edges. A melancholy frame, that somehow conveyed to me not just a picture, but a long and tearful – though unclear – history that lead to it. Perhaps it wasn’t so much the picture, or the heavily clouded backstory, but the feel it left in my chest. I was all at once full of emotion, and entirely empty, like a hollow shell. As I always seem to find myself doing when inspiration hits, I stood a moment, stunned, then sprinted for my bag in the office, scrambling for my tiny notebook of rabbit trails. As quickly as my fingers could fly, I scratched out a few scrambled lines describing what I’d seen and felt, then returned to work.

Later that night, after getting ready for bed, I remembered that I’d written something in my Bunny Pad (the notebook kept always in my bag and by my bed at night to catch the rabbit trails sprinting through my hole-filled mined), and flipped through until I found it. After reading it a couple times through to refresh the feeling and the picture in my head, restoring it to a shadow of what I’d experienced earlier that day, I pulled out a fresh notebook, and began what I thought to be a single scene short story. What I got, however, was far more than that.

A good three months later, I was pounding out the last lines in the first draft of Breaking Shadows: Bold, completing my second full novel with new inspiration for a full series to continue with. It’s been four years now, and Bold is in it’s 5th revision; a full rewrite and edit due to be finished by summer’s end. In addition, the second novel in the series, Breaking Shadows: Fractured, is approximately 3/4 through the rough draft stage, and the final two books have their basic plot lines complete.

It really is amazing where our little rabbit trails can lead us, wouldn’t you say?

Coming Together

Posted: June 15, 2013 by Hannah Stewart in Uncategorized

Things are coming together for the upcoming release of Breaking Shadows: Bold, which will be made available by summer’s end. Lots of developments are in the works, including the final rewrites and edits of the manuscript and a very special surprise promo. I have been hard at work finishing this first book, and can’t wait to share more with you.

For those of you interested in helping with the publication process, I am currently accepting BETA readers for the final draft of Bold. If you would like to learn more about what this entails, please send me an email at breakingshadowsproject@gmail.com, subject line “Bold BETA”.

Over the next few weeks updates may be sporadic, but I will be doing my best to keep you all informed on its progress. You can look forward to some sneak peeks, character bios, and some special glimpses into the writing process behind the Breaking Shadows series as a whole. But for now, I must leave you with a lick and a promise, and this little glimpse at our top secret promo.