It has been some time since I mentioned my newer creative space, so I thought I would share the latest stage. With so many projects on the go – freelance and personal – I have not had much time to organize my new study. However, I do have my writing desk and creative table in place now.
There is still more organizing of the storage space to do and a few shelves to put up.
You may notice I have a few interesting items on the writing desk upper shelf. These are an eclectic mix of mementos. The black and grey plushy is called Snork and was bought for me by my Mother, she’d asked what she could get for me and Snork was it. Yep, not jewellery, but a plushy. There is also a Tigger – to cut a long story short, an old school pal and I love Tigger and were nicknamed Big Tig and Little Tig. And a little sprout plushy (leaf not showing).
There is a Groot – you know I love him, various crystals and rocks for protection, inspiration and most are purple, my favourite colour. There is a little bunny floating on a leaf, a wren (favourite bird), a china bunny, which was a surprise find in an antique store. It is actually a replica of one my Mother had. Rocks from road trips, print of the Writers Museum in Edinburgh,
On the other desk is the on-going model I will get to at some point! It is a little bookstore.
What items do you have in your creative space and why?
We celebrated Copyright Day on 23rd April, but what does it actually mean?
Copyrights are an important part of securing your work against a number of things, such as plagiarism. It allows you to take legal action against anybody, who has copied or reproduced your work without consent. It is a lifetime protection, although generally, copyrights last for the life of the author, or the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and then for 70 years following the end of that calendar year.
So why copyright?
1. It’s beneficial to have your work on record when you register
Registering your book with the copyright office provides you exclusive rights.
2. It prevents others from copying your work
Copyrighting your book legally protects you if someone tries to steal ideas, characters, plot, or any likeness from your work.
3. You cannot sue for copyright infringement unless your book is registered
If someone does steal from you, you cannot do anything about it unless you registered your book.
4. You can produce derivative content related to your copyrighted book
Since you own the rights to your characters, story, and anything unique to your work, you have the freedom to produce more content related to it.
5. Your work can be performed or displayed publicly
If you apply for copyright, you have the freedom to use your book in any public way you wish since you own it. You don’t have to worry about someone else using your work in a public way without your permission.
In the definition literary works include books, anthologies, journal and newspaper articles, reports, conference papers, working papers, computer software and programs, letters, emails, novels, poetry, song lyrics, databases, tables and compilations.
So in essence all your writing is covered under copyright.
If you are unsure investigate with your publisher or the platform you are publishing with.
There is always a lot of organization and planning behind any writing conference, and this weekend’s conference is no exception. A committed voluntary Board has secured elite presenters for this Saturday’s conference in Sherwood Park, Alberta.
From initial concept to title and theme, to the booking of a venue, and finding presenters and then promotion, there is a lot of time spent creating the event.
Any writer, or author, is welcome to gain valuable information, and network.
Hardest thing about being a writer: Finding time to write around full time work, and other commitments. Easiest thing about being a writer: Letting the words flow just like a movie in my head. I follow my characters lead, enjoying the unexpected twists, turns and surprising tangents.
Things you never want to run out of: Tea – I’m English it is an essential and vital part of everyday. (Black tea with milk – no other kinds. Not flavoured stuff.)
Things you wish you’d never bought: What I can only describe as ‘fake’ cheese – rubbery and bendy blocks in Canadian stores. (Sorry) It’s not cheese as I know it!
Favorite places you’ve been: Apart from home – England, I have a longing to go back to Rome. My soul connected to the place in such a profound way, I am certain I lived there in another life. Places you never want to go to again: This is a hard question as I enjoy visiting and exploring new places. However, I would not want to revisit losing my father – it was the hardest thing I have ever endured – my heart literally broke into a thousand pieces.
Favorite books (or genre): Goodness, as I constantly read multiple genres, there is always a new favorite. However, I always buy the latest Stephen King as he is my hero. And I reread Ferney by James Long on quite a regular basis, as it is the quintessential reincarnation story. Books you wouldn’t buy: Anything about politics.
People you’d like to invite to dinner (living): Stephen King, Viggo Mortensen, Diane Keaton, Dame Judi Dench, Michele Morrone and the Princess of Wales – Kate as we are both from Bucklebury. People you’d cancel dinner on: Any and all politicians, Elon Musk, Kayne West, and any Kardashian.
Things that make you happy: Time with my grown kids, my writing friends and writing group, and my little rescue dog, Sammie. Exploring on road trips, walking in nature and holidays in England. Things that drive you crazy: The fakeness of social media, many ’I am famous for being famous’ celebrities and self-serving politicians.
The coolest person you’ve ever met: The most ‘famous’ person, I have met is Princess Anne. Such a wonderfully down to earth woman. Also, on my list is Davy Jones (The Monkees), David Essex (UK pop singer), George Young, Baron Young of Cookham, Nigel Havers (actor), and Groot! Yep, the movie launch had characters in major cities, and he was in Edmonton. I ran down Whyte Avenue to cuddle him, much to my offspring’s embarrassment.
The celebrity who didn’t look like he/she did in pictures/video: George Harrison (The Beatles) – much older than my teenage memories, but still a thrill.
The nicest thing a reader said to you: I checked out every one of your books from the library.
The craziest thing a reader said to you: Several readers contacted me asking for a sequel to my fantasy series. I wrote it as a standalone – then found myself writing a sequel to make my readers happy. I am now in the midst of a prequel. Never say never!
Things you always put in your books: Strong, independent women and unexpected and unusual viewpoints. Things you never put in your books: Child or animal abuse. Violence for the sake of it.
Favorite smell: There are several – Brut aftershave that reminds me of my Father, Obsession perfume by Calvin Klein ( I found it in my early twenties and have not worn any other perfume since), cut grass, ocean and mountain air. Something that makes you hold your nose: Inner city smells. (a country girl at heart)
Why did you choose to set this series in a Vancouver Island setting?
Vancouver Island has a little bit of everything I needed for this series. There are some little mountains, gorges with a suspension bridge, flatlands, beaches, and so much more. The big city of Victoria is a half day’s drive (or a short flight via a commuter plane), there are endless nature activities around like whale watching, and there is a romantic lighthouse dotting the edge of the coastline. Plus, it’s Canadian, so I’m more acquainted with the way things are as far as laws, health care, and that kind of thing.
Did you construct Cheshire Bay within your mind, or is it based on a real place?
Cheshire Bay is totally fictional, however, I have detailed maps of the town that I’ve created as well as hand-coloured maps of the area. I’m a map person, and love being able to refer back to it to make sure I’m getting distances and locations all correct. Everything within the town of Cheshire Bay is also made up – including all the store names which were super fun to come up with. I’ve invested a lot of time in crafting this idyllic location, and I love being immersed in it when I’m writing.
Was Cheshire Bay always going to be a series, or was it initially a standalone novel?
Originally, it was planned to be a three-book novella series of interconnected standalones, but when I was offered a spot in a holiday anthology I thought, hey wow, I could make a Christmas story and add on to the series, kind of close it off with a pretty little bow. That was all fine and good, and I think I was mostly happy to leave it at the four books when Christmas in Cheshire Bay released, but then came another opportunity for another anthology.
In a burst of creativity, Journey to Cheshire Bay was born and written, but ended up being released as its own title rather than with the anthology. It also was the first in the series to become a novel – there was just that much story to tell. As I neared the end of writing Journey, I knew in my heart I wasn’t really ready to let the series go. Inspiration hit, and I wrote and finished the next four books (all full length novels as well), and when they were all completed, wrote a novella prequel. Dreamers in Cheshire Bay gives readers a true view of the town and introduces the upcoming main characters (plus it’s a free read). It was a lot of fun and readers are truly enjoying the heartfelt story. After the prequel, I finally wrote a huge series ending epilogue, which is in the last book (Flirty in Cheshire Bay), and it was then that I knew I was finished with the series.
With ten books in the series, do you see it continuing and how?
With this series in particular, I’m pretty sure I won’t be coming back, but that all depends on the readers. If they want more, I’m sure I can find a few more heroines and heroes to write about – there are a couple of minor characters I could see a story for, but I won’t know if the readers don’t let me know they need more. Heh-heh.
Can you tell us a little about the latest book, Second Chances in Cheshire Bay?
Oh my gosh, I just loved writing this book, and I think of all the characters in this series, these two are in my top three favourites.
Chloe is the new doctor, taking over for a retired doctor in a small town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a perfect place to spread her wings, ready to leave her past (and family) behind and start fresh with her best friend. However, of all the places in all the world, she runs into her former true love – Benjamin – who has also chosen Cheshire Bay to escape his family and be who he dreams to be.
In the small town, they keep bumping into each other, and its clear, almost painfully at times, that these two are still attracted to each other, but the past hurts and the reasons for their break up are keeping them apart. Second Chances in Cheshire Bay a slow-burn, second chance romance with all the feels, all the steam, and all the sweetness my readers have come to expect. It’s coming April 18, and is available for preorder at a reduced price on all retail sites until release date.
Does writing a series appeal to you more than writing standalone books and why?
In my experience, yes, a series has more appeal, not only from a writing perspective after investing time in creating the settings, the characters, and the whole world they’re part of, but also for the readers. They get drawn into this world and they want more, and just like me, they don’t want to leave it either. One of the things about my book series, aside from one trilogy that needs to be read in order, is they are all standalones but interconnected with crossover characters. You can jump into any book in the series and be immersed in the world; it’s not essential to have read the others, but it adds to the story.
I only have two true standalones (Noel & Whistler’s Night) but they’re not even in the top ten of my most popular books, so the readers and buying habits are great at telling me what they prefer from me, and that seems to be series.
What drew you to write in the romance genre?
Love. I love everything about love. I’ve always been a firm believer that everyone needs a happy ending, and I adore hearing/reading/writing about their journey to that goal. I like that rush of emotions, the tickling of the senses when you first start falling in love, and that euphoric feeling. I’ve been reading romances since I was twelve or thirteen, and although every couple gets their happy ever after, or happy for now, it’s the road they’re on I most enjoy, because everyone’s journey is different.
What is your writing process?
It involves copious amount of coffee and a playlist with a lot of movie soundtracks in it. Typically, I’ll create the characters (backstory, personality, the works), prepare the setting, and figure out what the character wants, why they want it and what the heck is preventing them from getting it. I’ll draft out the story into brief page-long chapters, making sure I cover all the points I need and want, and then it’s writing time!
Once completed, I’ll read through it a dozen times, filling in things I’ve missed, before I send it out to a couple of beta readers who’ll read it and give me the most incredible feedback. After addressing any slow/boring spots, I give another read through before sending it off to the editor, unless there’s been major changes, then my beta readers are more than happy to give it another read to make sure the story flows. The typical timeline from story idea to ready to publish is often a year or more, but lately it’s closer to two years.
Are you working on a new project?
I am busy creating a new five-book series. If all goes well, they will be released in the spring of 2025 leading up to the next winter Olympics in Feb 2026, as the heroines are part of the Canadian Curling team vying for an Olympic medal. Curling is near and dear to my heart, so I’m excited to bring this to a new series. The first book is completed, and the next four are in draft mode.
How do readers find you?
The best place to find me is through my website (www.hmshander.com) or my newsletter; one I send out every couple of weeks with updates and occasionally a flash sale only for my subscribers. I am on social media, and they can follow me on their favourite social media channels by clicking here: https://linktr.ee/HMShander
Thanks so much for having me here!
Thirteen years apart. Two shattered hearts reunited. One shot at a second chance neither of them saw coming. In a small town, the list of good-looking, age-appropriate, and single guys is already slim. Being the only doctor for miles, those choices become even narrower. When a speed dating event surfaces, Dr. Chloe Tarkin jumps at the chance to meet several eligible bachelors but is caught completely off guard when one in particular graces her table.
The guy who once held the key to her heart. The other half of a pair of dreamers with big plans for their future. The swoony gentleman her soul never forgot. Or forgave.
BJ Sutcliff moved to the bay area years ago to escape his past, his controlling family, and to focus on being who he wants to be. Never expected he’d run into anyone familiar. And he never imagined he’d run into the woman whose heart he shattered when he slammed the door on them all those years ago.
He’s ready to make amends for the way he screwed up. This time, he’s not settling for second best, but he’d jump at a second chance – if she can find it in her heart to let bygones be bygones. Or are some mistakes just too much to forgive and forget?
USA TODAY bestselling author H.M. Shander is a stargazing, romantic at heart who once attended Space Camp and wanted to pilot the space shuttle, not just any STS – specifically Columbia. However, the only shuttle she operates in her real world is the #momtaxi; a speedy electric car that zooms her two kids to school, work, and whatever sporting events they’re playing that season. When she’s not commandeering Elektra, you can find the elementary school librarian surrounded by classes of children as she reads the best storybooks in multiple voices. After she says goodnight to her kids and trophy husband, she moonlights as a contemporary romance novelist; the writer of sassy heroines and sweet, swoon-worthy heroes who find love in the darkest of places.
For all the latest release news, subscribe to H.M. Shander’s newsletter, or you can follow her on Twitter(@HM_Shander), Facebook (hmshander), or check out her website at www.hmshander.com.