Thursday, November 20, 2014

Who's Writing About Paris? Check Out this Exciting List!

So who will be writing about Paris? Velvet Morning Press, the indie publishing house I founded with fellow author Vicki Lesage, is pleased to announce the list of writers contributing to our first anthology, "That's Paris."

A few clues... We have the author of three fashion books, the writer of a recently released book on Rwanda, an Amazon best-selling author, journalists, a personal chef and winners of various blogging awards. For details, click here for the full author list! 

"That's Paris" is set for release Feb. 2 in print and ebook formats. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time to Quit NaNoWriMo? 4 Techniques That Will Keep You Writing

You’ve written 20,000 words or maybe even more. Inspired, you were cruising along, and into your characters and plot. Everything was perfect. And then, all of a sudden, your brain plays the cruelest of tricks. It goes AWOL. Absent without leave, abandoning your burgeoning story. You don’t mind the occasional writer’s block. But this is National Novel Writing Month, and you’ve got a goal to attain.

As you sit there facing the page, though, you’re more tempted to quit than anything else. Is your only alternative to force yourself to write nonsense just to reach a word count? No. As frustrating as this experience may be, this doesn’t mean your writing month is coming to an end or that your book is doomed.

For my tips on how to keep writing, please click here to read the rest of my post on

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What Most Shocks Me About the Brittany Maynard Story?

Over the past several weeks, I've been closely following the story of Brittany Maynard, a young woman suffering from the same type of aggressive brain tumor that took my mother's life a few years ago. For obvious reasons, the story really hit home. 

When Maynard chose to end her life recently, I was outraged and shocked to see comments and articles criticizing her and her decision. The subjects of terminal brain cancer and "death with dignity" are two that are near and dear to my heart. I had to write about this. Please see my story "Brittany Maynard and My Mother Are Both Heroes" by clicking here.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on these important issues!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Join the New Release Mailing List!

See that little box at the top of the column just to the right? The one that says “Sign Up: New Releases.” If you would like to find out when my latest book is available, please type in your e-mail address! You won’t receive junk mail; you’ll just get one e-mail whenever I’ve released a new book. Thank you very much for your support!

We haven’t set the exact dates yet, but my novel “Paris, Rue des Martyrs” will be re-released in January 2015 in print and ebook form. My second novel “Close to Destiny” will follow later this winter.

More news soon… Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tips to Get the Most Out of National Novel Writing Month!

So you're sitting in front of a few lonely words on the page and have already used up your excuses to get up and move around the room... What could you be doing? Either you're imitating me as I sit down to start a new novel or you're a participant in National Novel Writing Month. You're not alone as you struggle to produce a huge word count (and hopefully good writing) in a short period of time. 

Well, I've got a few tips I would love to share with you! Please take a look at my post on the Velvet Morning Press blog. Click here to find out how to get the most out of National Novel Writing Month! 

Happy writing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Essay in Lemay's "Asking" Provides "food for thought" for Writers

Today, I'm delighted to have a "guest reviewer" on my blog. David Whitehouse is a British journalist in Paris and is the author of In Search of Rwanda's Génocidaires French Justice and the Lost Decades (Seraphim, 2014). Thanks, David, for reviewing Asking and sharing it with us!

By David Whitehouse

Shawna Lemay's Asking is a collection of poems and poem essays which demonstrates that the writing 101 stock advice about 'show don't tell' can withstand as much common sense as a skilled author is able to muster.

Many writers seek to camouflage their influences and sources, to ride on their anonymous backs. Asking is remarkable in that Lemay simply provides the reader with them and explains in graceful and poetic language how they relate to her life and work. The result is a distinctive and perhaps unique style, reflecting a self-confidence that is fully justified.

New and aspiring writers will find ample food for thought in To a Young Poet, one of the essays in the collection. "A poet should make a break for it when anyone is handing out advice. A young poet should both hear and not hear any praise they may happen to be given."

"I advise you to spend as little time possible on the internet attempting to decipher whether a person has 'liked' something wholeheartedly, ironically, or with what degree of fatigue."

I met Lemay in Canada because both our books were being launched by Seraphim Editions in Toronto. She had flown from Edmonton for the latest in her long series of publications. I had flown from France for my first, non-fiction book. Her style is much more accessible than it might at first appear. The work is transparently human to an unusual degree. A long-ago comment from a friend about her husband making money by merely selling his paintings has stayed with her. Henry James is cited on the three important things in life: be kind, be kind and be kind.

Among her subjects is the interaction between art and its viewer, experiencing beauty, and art as a form of survival in suburbia. Perhaps her best advice to young poets is that they should learn as many languages as they can, and to comb their hair before leaving the house. "Try and find a chaise long. I'm adamant about this point. If it's threadbare, throw a blanket over it."

Asking, by Shawna Lemay, Seraphim Editions 2014 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Novel “Paris, Rue des Martyrs” Has Disappeared! Here’s the Story…

The rue des Martyrs in Paris, setting of my novel

As some of you might have noticed, my novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs has disappeared from all online booksellers. So what happened? Will it ever return?

Here’s the story:

I decided to split from my literary agent. Our strategies had diverged. My agent’s imprint didn’t provide print books or marketing support—and I realized those were two things that I needed.

As I wondered whether to self-publish or look for another literary agent, the idea of Velvet Morning Press was born. Initially, fellow author and co-founder Vicki Lesage and I planned on operating VMP separately from our own books. We would self-publish our books on the side.

Then we realized that with so much changing in the publishing world, why not create our own model? VMP could publish the works of other authors and still publish our own books. On the VMP website, we list our own books separately from those of our authors.

So will Paris, Rue des Martyrs be back? Yes, in January in both ebook and print form. Watch this space for more details about my novels and all of the wonderful books VMP has in store for you!

And thanks for reading!

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-46732756-1', ''); ga('send', 'pageview');