Wandering Soul Backstory – Winston

One of the most beloved characters in Wandering Soul is Winston. He’s in charge of Elsa’s house—ordering groceries online, hiring and overseeing cleaning and gardening crews, and taking care of the cooking and laundry. On paper, his job is listed as “butler”, but he thinks of himself as Elsa’s caretaker. She thinks of him as family.

From the very beginning, they shared a special bond. When they met, it was as if they could feel the future of their relationship, like the ripples spreading out from a pebble dropped in a still pond. Their meeting was beautiful and took them both by surprise. I’d like to share that unguarded moment with you.

Continue reading “Wandering Soul Backstory – Winston”

The Importance of Being Holly

Finding the right agent or editor is a very important piece of the publishing puzzle. I spent several months learning about various editors and agents, following their Twitter feeds to get a feel for who they were and what they might be like to work with. Many talked about receiving queries that didn’t fit them—something I wanted to avoid. There’s no point in sending a Romance to an agent who doesn’t handle them, or sending an Urban Fantasy to an editor who’s looking for Romance.

I’ve seen people so eager to send out finished pieces that they don’t always take the time needed to make sure they’re sending it to the right person (and honestly, I’ve been that person). It’s important to find someone who will understand the author’s vision and can best help bring that story into the world. A person who gets it.

After doing the work of searching for the person I thought would be the best match for my stories and personality, I decided to send Wandering Soul to Holly Atkinson (@editorHolly) with Samhain Publishing—and she loved it! Working with her (and everyone at Samhain) on The Summer Park Psychics series and Gray Card has been an amazing experience.

Holly has an uncanny talent for finding the exact areas of the story that I sensed needed help, but couldn’t quite figure out what to do with, and pointing me in the right direction to fix them. Seriously—we’re talking superpower levels of discernment here. And her feedback is always very clearly respectful of maintaining the artistic integrity of the piece and preserving my author’s voice. Plus she’s just plain fun! That’s a very important part of the author-editor dynamic for me.

The time it took to find her was so worth it. I wish all my writing friends the same good fortune in their search.

Letting Them Go

When I first started writing, I was so protective of my stories that it bordered on paranoia. I had spent my entire life developing a huge High Fantasy world to write in, but was only scratching the surface of what it meant to create stories that had beginnings, middles, and ends. Eventually, I realized that my fear was fueled by a feeling that those first stories were the only ones I would ever create—that the love and time and work poured into that world over decades could be taken from me somehow.

I rewrote the first book a ridiculous number of times, learning with each iteration, obsessing to the point that I became stuck. I spent years on it before I finally understood that if I was ever going to get anywhere, I needed to move on. I couldn’t sit at my writing desk fiddling with that one first completed story, no matter how much I loved it (and I do love it).

The second book in that setting didn’t really work. I was too close to that world and there was so much of it. I wasn’t ready to parse through it all to find just the bits that I needed for each story. The second book came out only half-formed.

I could tell that something was wrong. So could my muse—my writer’s intuition.

She started sending me incredible dreams and amazing fleeting visions. I’d walk past a tree and do a double-take. Did I just see…? No, it’s just a tree. I’d see a shadow near a storm drain and sit up straighter. Was that…? No, those aren’t real.

My imagination went into overdrive, my mind’s eye layering possibilities onto everything my physical eyes could see. I never lost touch with what was actually real—it was more like a dam in my mind burst and everything was drenched in “What Ifs?” What if you could use the hole in a bagel as a Fairy Stone? What if that big black dog standing absolutely still at the end of the street is actually the Black Shuck? (I am so going to use those ideas in a story someday…).

The second true book emerged. A contemporary urban fantasy about the Sidhe. It had a beginning, a middle, and an ending that needed so much work—but all the parts of a story were there. It felt amazing! Not only had I finished two real books, but I had used my degree that everyone said I was crazy to get (English Literature specializing in Irish Folklore). I learned that I could create an entirely new world in a relatively short amount of time. A world rich enough to support my characters and their victories and travails.

That knowledge created infinite possibilities. It set my muse free.

Half-way through writing the second true book, I had an existential writer’s crisis. I realized that the story wasn’t primarily about the external events happening to the characters. It was more about their inner journeys, including how they were falling in love (which was a very, very bad thing for the rest of that world). Shifting the focus to their love story lit a spark of fascination in me that I don’t think can ever be extinguished—and I wouldn’t want it to be! I realized that I wanted to write Romance.

With that epiphany, the books started to come more easily, my enthusiasm speeding them into creation, until I finally felt that one was ready to send off into the world (Good luck to you, Wandering Soul! May you find loving homes in the minds of many awesome readers!)

If I hadn’t let myself move on from that first book—if I hadn’t let it go—I would have been trapped in the fear that I only had one story in me, one world. Now I know that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Blasting Off on Amazon! …Already?!

What the what?! A double-post day? There’s just SO MUCH GOING ON! Look what I found available for pre-order on Amazon.com:

Gray Card Cover

I also discovered that the release date for Gray Card is earlier than I anticipated—October 6! I know a few people who will be very happy to hear that their wait is several weeks shorter 😀

I’m stunned that it’s already out there. Oh, my beloved not-so-secret, definitely super scifi erotica novella, I hope you do well in the world!

Speaking of books doing well, it’s awesome that Wandering Soul has stayed above the 1 million mark in the Amazon Best Sellers Rank since it became available for pre-order on March 24. At least, I think that means it’s doing well. I haven’t really figured out what the Amazon Best Sellers Rank means yet. Wandering Soul has been out there for over two months, so this seems like a good thing.

I hope everyone who pre-ordered Wandering Soul enjoys the book! And for those of you looking for a little lot of hot alien action, check out Gray Card!

Longest Day, Strongest Sun

The full moon in June is called the Strong Sun Moon. Presumably, this is because June holds the longest day of the year—the Summer Solstice. For my meditative focus of the month, I’m envisioning my projects, my goals, and my self at full strength. There is so much to do, and this is the time to get things done.

My mind is still full of Wandering Soul and the nearness of that book launching into the world (I can’t wait for people to read it!). There’s still room in my thoughts and heart for Gray Card and the two scifi novellas (okay, there’s a fourth one brewing now) that come after it.

When the next two in that series are done, I get to finish the third book of the Summer Park Psychics series! And it’s already time to do edits on the second book in that series, and… and… I will need some of that Strength from the Strong Sun Moon 🙂

Wishing you Strength for your projects as well!

Wandering Soul Review!

This just in…

Wandering Soul Cover

I decided to look for reviews of Wandering Soul and found one that just came out today! Hurray for serendipity!

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/wandering-soul-by-cassandra-chandler/

I’m over-the-moon that the reviewer not only liked it so well but mentioned several things that I was specifically trying to accomplish with the book!

The paranormal aspects in this book are a bit light because I wanted to really focus on the character development-and she mentions both those things as well as…so many other great sentiments.

I’m kind of stunned. A bit in awe. Definitely honored.

I hope others enjoy the book as much as this reviewer did!