My Writing Process: The Lowdown

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book SigningIt is by now a pretty popularly agreed-upon fact that I’m crazy. At least in my writing process (the rest I contest! ;)). So I’ve agreed to be a part of the #mywritingprocess blog tour today to give you the lowdown on how bad it is.

I was tagged by the lovely Christina Anne Hawthorne of Ontyre Passages. You can check out her blog and serialized fiction as well, while you’re at it.
Okay, you really want to know? Here goes.

#mywritingprocess

What Am I Working On?

I’m working to put out 6 books of fiction this year: my second metaphysical novel Music of Sacred Lakes (just published), my first short story collection The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen about portals between worlds (out in 3 weeks–doing publicity for that), my first contemplative fantasy novelette trio Permanence & Choice (publicity soon), a paranormal suspense novel about a possibly possessed ballerina Lone Cypress (editing that now), a psychological murder mystery Sonata & Fugue (editing soon), and a YA fantasy novel Face The Falling (also editing that soon). I have discovered in the last year that since I laid a good foundation for creative growth, through giving myself lots of time to be a beginner and learning everything I could from the process of writing and editing each book over the past 6 years, I am now working much more quickly than I could before. All these books mentioned above were written in the last year and a half. So, I am editing and publishing 6 books, I just wrote 2 more books last month, I just made the book covers for 3 books beyond that (guess I should write them then, huh?), and I have about 4 novels chomping at the bit in my head that I won’t think about yet because then I’d have to start writing them down. I’m hoping to finish editing novel #3 of the year in the next week, write 6 guest posts for other blogs, run the publicity for the two books I’m putting out this month and next, and then give myself August off (maybe) and free up the later part of the year to write 4 more books. So, yeah. It’s not one particular project so much anymore. It’s a bit of a free-for-all. But you’d be surprised how organized I am about it. Goal lists, to-do lists, spreadsheets. I was a copy editor and copy chief and professional blogger and journalist before becoming a writer, so I’ve got this whole thing color-coded. :) My right hand actually does know what my left hand is doing (clicking obsessively on the Kindle bestseller lists to check for my book, of course).

How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?

My work straddles the line between fantasy and literary fiction, so it’s different from most literary fiction in that it’s highly imaginative and spiritual. And it’s different from most fantasy in that it’s very speculative and high-concept. I’m always thinking about the ways the world is knit together, and this comes through strongly in my stories.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Because this is how I see the world. I used to think that I was crazy, but now I know that many people have predictive dreams and spiritual visions like I always have had–that this is simply a mystical way of experiencing life, and it’s more common among people who are highly sensitive. Moi. So, I can’t really help but write this stuff. Other people write about the surface experience of life, or the underbelly of life, or the human condition as it threads its way through life. I write about all the layers of life overlaid on one another. It’s the easiest way for me to write, because it’s honestly exactly the way I perceive things. When I tell you a story, it’s often exactly how it appeared in my mind, no noodling about to make it as weird as it is.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I love Robert Olen Butler’s book From Where You Dream, which taught me how to relax into a dream-like state in order to place myself in the landscape of my story and let it unfold from my subconscious. It’s what makes my best stories so well tied together and resonant. I also put story ideas on 3×5 cards and keep them in a (growing) file, and when I’m beginning to work on a story, I pull out that card and then add cards for every scene or idea I have, until the stack seems pretty complete. It’s easy from there to just work on one card at a time and rearrange them as I go so the book flows without losing any details. I can add in cards or throw them out as I go, too. This technique I also picked up from Butler, no invention of mine. But I’ve found that some books need more detailed planning, while others I hardly look at the cards and just use them as a rough guide to keep me from losing the thread. For example, I just wrote another short story collection with 25 stories about all kinds of dreams. Thirty story cards were written while I took a (long) bubble bath, chucking them out on the rug as I went. Then I piled them up and wrote my way through them, discarding the ones I didn’t really love. Done.

I also often figure out what I need to figure out next for a project, like the background of a character, and then go to sleep or go about other tasks in my day. My subconscious is a better writer than my conscious mind, for sure. Trust it, and it comes up with incredible ideas. Force it, and the whole thing crumbles in my hands. This is a very efficient way of working, too, so it may in part explain how I’m able to layer my work up and use my time I’m not working to also do writing work. I will wake up, write or edit if I have time before my daughter wakes up, get her ready for the day, set myself a task or question in my mind if necessary, and take her to the lake, whispering to myself like a madwoman. She finds this entertaining for now. I slip administrative tasks into all the cracks, and whenever I have a chunk of time to work, I try to be ready to go and really get something down. I do have to balance this all with resting a bit, though, since I do have a habit of burning myself out. Surprise surprise.

Up Next… (Posting The Week of May 19)

Erin Sweet El-Mehairi Oh For The Hook of a Book

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi has a Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has been writing essays, stories, and poetry since she was a teen and has always been an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, and other various writing and journalistic pieces, and has won awards for her essays and poetry. As a journalist and a writer, she’s written for various newspapers, magazines, online news sources, and websites. Erin owns Addison’s Compass Public Relations, with a subsidiary of Hook of a Book Media. She has over 18 years of writing, communications, public relations, marketing, editing, fund-raising, event planning, blogging, social media, and copywriting experience and offers services in all of the above mentioned areas. She is delighted to be the mother of three children, Nassem Al-Mehairi, Emma Al-Mehairi, and Addison Busbey, and lives in Ohio, where she reads, writes, cooks, bakes, and probably has a million other things going on at once.

Jason Derr

Jason Derr studied Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University and has his Masters from the Vancouver School of Theology. His short fiction has appeared in The Midnight Diner, Relief, Green Briar Review and Literary Orphans. He is the author of THE BOSTON 395 and THE LIFE AND REMEMBRANCES OF MARTHA TOOLE.

Andrea Van der Wilt

Andrea’s writing journey has been quite an unusual one. Born in the Netherlands, she went from studying biology to studying theology to becoming a teacher, until she moved to Spain to be with the love of her life. In Spain she finally started to listen to her muse and take her writing seriously. Andrea is now trying to get her first fantasy novel published while working on her second. Her native language is Dutch, but she writes in English only, although it’s her dream to become fluent in Irish Gaelic one day and write Irish poetry.

 

Free Excerpt from Music of Sacred Lakes

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost storyHey everyone! Just a note to let you know that if you haven’t gotten a copy yet and want to read an excerpt from Music of Sacred Lakes, What Is That Book About has got the first chapter up for you. Thank you, Michelle!

I’ve got The Thin Places coming out in just two weeks now. Off to edit the rest of a novel and then I’ll be back with details on that launch. But you can enter to win a signed paperback copy of The Thin Places on Goodreads right now through launch day, May 26. Good luck!

The Story Behind The Thin Places

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The Thin Places, Laura K. Cowan, fairytales, mythic fiction, book cover, supernatural fictionIn just a few weeks on May 26, my first short story collection The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen will be released, following hot on the heels of my second novel Music of Sacred Lakes, which is still rising on several Kindle bestseller lists (thank you!). There’s a story behind The Thin Places that I wanted to share with you before it goes to launch.

So, once upon a time….

The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen is a collection of stories about thin places between dimensions, portals between worlds, time juxtapositions, and the possibilities of the might-be-real, combining mythic fiction and fairytales with speculative supernatural stories. I wrote this book in just a week and a half, after it occurred to me that I already had a book’s worth of ideas swirling around in my head regarding portals between worlds. I wrote it, let it sit for a few months, and then went back to edit.

What I found was a little weird. Story after story about people trying to escape their circumstances. And people deciding to walk away. I had had just about the worst year possible in 2012-2013, with a seriously ill husband and many friends fighting cancer or passing away, and through some other upsetting circumstances I suddenly discovered that my longstanding anxiety was rooted in near-death experiences in childhood that had caused me to develop PTSD. It was actually a good thing that I finally got to the point where I was ready to walk away from anything and anyone in order to get healthy again, something I had never been able to do before. But that year made me feel like my world was melting. I was sick with something similar to strep throat and constant viruses for 15 months straight because of the stress. Nothing went right, except the writing, which was on fire.

When I came back to edit The Thin Places, I remembered I had written a story called ‘Origami,’ in which a chronically ill little girl dreams a magic paper crane into real life, which offers to carry her away over the mountains to where the children are never sick and can run and play. It seemed like one of those walking away stories. But when I read it over, and when my writers group looked through it, we agreed there was something wrong. Unlike the other stories of leaving everything behind to start fresh, this story needed a different ending. When I wrote it I wasn’t sure if I believed in going back to more suffering anymore. Everything seemed to point to walking away, since some of my suffering was caused by people and circumstances I could and should leave behind. But this story had echoes of my chronic illness of my early twenties, which I had just discovered was also in part caused by this childhood trauma. And it wasn’t a story about walking away from abuse or staying for more. It was a story about walking away from my challenges or coming back to remain engaged in my life. I just hadn’t known if I could take any more when I wrote it. So, the story of ‘Origami’ changed. And one of my friends who reviewed the book pre-release told me the other day that it was that story that surprised her the most and meant the most to her. Because she also has dealt with this kind of challenge. Where you have to decide to go back every day and keep living. It meant the world to me that I was able to get that through in the story to someone who has lived this kind of challenge.

So, you can take whatever you will from The Thin Places. I hope it is a unique and entertaining read. But if I have anything to say about what I learned while writing the book it’s this: I hope you will keep going back to your life. It may feel like it’s melting around you, but your life can still be on fire. It speaks to us all when you won’t walk away, except from the things you should leave behind.

Lest you think this is all angst and suffering, I’ll leave you with a hilarious review a new friend and reader just left on Amazon for The Thin Places. Because it is a pretty weird little book of tales. If you don’t like woowoo supernatural stories, stay far away from this one. ;)

The Thin Places, book reviewThe Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen will be available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle on May 26th.

Music of Sacred Lakes Hits the Free Kindle Bestseller Lists

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost storyI guess that wasn’t quite the final word on the Music of Sacred Lakes launch!

9,000 people downloaded Music of Sacred Lakes over the past 5 days, making it a top Kindle free bestseller, including a top 50 free download on Kindle overall. Thank you so much for your support that helped make this happen! Readers are calling the book “lyrical, compelling, and deeply moving.”

I’m hard at work editing Lone Cypress for a July release, and The Thin Places and Permanence & Choice will be out in May and June, so stay tuned for more weird books that people seem to like! :)

Kindle Free Bestseller Rankings:

#2 in Genre Fiction overall

#1 in Metaphysical Fantasy

#1 in Metaphysical Visionary Fiction

# 5 in Fantasy

#5 in Sci-fi/Fantasy overall

#25 in Fiction overall

#42 in Kindle overall

 

Thank You! + 2 Titles Coming Soon

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The Thin Places, Laura K. Cowan, fairytales, mythic fiction, book cover, supernatural fictionThank you to everyone, friends, authors and bloggers, who have made this blog tour for Music of Sacred Lakes such an awesome experience and so great for everyone who has enjoyed it. I’m so blessed to have friends like you, and can’t wait to keep this party rolling with future fantasy books, mine and yours. Thank you!

 Music of Sacred Lakes Topping Kindle Free Charts

Don’t forget to download your free Kindle copy of Music of Sacred Lakes, free for just a few days. It’s already topping the Kindle bestseller lists for free e-books (#42 overall on Kindle) fiction (#25), genre fiction overall (#2), fantasy (#5), and metaphysical fiction and metaphysical fantasy (#1), and I’m hoping we can push it to the top of the overall Kindle list as well, since this is the best way to give the book exposure. Thank you so much for your support. Would you tell a friend or share the book on your social media page?

Permanence & Choice, The Scent of Yellow Flowers, The Day The Cows Came Home, Twilight in the Firmament, fantasy, novelette, magical realism, paranormal, fiction, ya paranormal2 More Titles Coming in the Next 2 Months

I have FIVE more books coming out this year–everything from mythic fiction and fairytales to psychological thrillers with nightmares bleeding into waking reality, but I won’t be planning this level of publicity for all of them, in order to focus on getting them out to you quickly. So, sign up for email updates on this blog or like my Facebook page to keep in the loop about when these books will be coming out. Or Twitter (@laurakcowan), Goodreads, Pinterest. Google+. Instagram. Whatever. I’m online. :)

The next book out, The Thin Places, is a short story collection all about portals between the spiritual and natural worlds, everything from new fairytales to mythic fiction to ghost stories. This will be released May 26 on Amazon and Kindle.

And on June 26, Permanence & Choice, a novelette trio of one modern dimension-shifting fantasy story, one animal fable about the nature of time and one literary fantasy story about the man in the moon will be out on Amazon and Kindle as well.

I’m really excited about these books, and people’s reaction to them so far. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Music of Sacred Lakes Kindle E-book FREE For Five Days Only

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost story

UPDATE: The FREE Kindle e-bookversion of Music of Sacred Lakes just hit #2 on the Kindle Bestseller list for free Genre Fiction, #1 in free Metaphysical Fantasy, #1 in free Metaphysical Fiction, #6 in free Fantasy, #8 in free Sci-Fi/Fantasy, #27 in magical realism, laura k cowanfree Fiction and #47 in free Kindle books overall on Amazon. Over 3,000 copies have been downloaded since this morning, but the book is still free for 4 more days. Would you download a free copy and tell a friend? This kind of exposure is phenomenal, and I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks so much! I hope you love the book.

beautifulproseTo celebrate the launch of Music of Sacred Lakestoday, the Kindle e-book version will be FREE for five days. Authors depend on reader reviews and word of mouth these days to help people discover their work. If you enjoy Music of Sacred Lakes, would you please

The reviews so far for this book have been overwhelmingly positive, as of this morning at launch 1750 people have already downloaded the Kindle edition, to make it the #1 bestselling Kindle book for free metaphysical fiction #1 for Kindle free metaphysical faHook of a Book, Erin Al-Mehairi, Music of Sacred Lakes, Neil Gaiman, Erin Healy, The Ocean at The End of the Lane, Afloatntasy, and #187 overall for Kindle free titles. Thank you, everyone, who has already supported this unique story, and please help me keep this going so the book can break into the top 100 free Kindle titles and top fantasy list to gain more exposure in front of interested readers. Here are a few of the reviews that have been posted so far for this redemptive ghost story.

Download the Kindle e-bookversion of Music of Sacred Lakes for FREE.

music of sacred lakes, kindle bestselling fantasy, kindle bestselling books, kindle metaphysical, kindle fantasy

Erin Healy, Music of Sacred Lakes, House of Mercy, Stranger Things, bestselling author

 

Blog Tour: It’s LAUNCH DAY for Music of Sacred Lakes

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost storyIt’s LAUNCH DAY for Music of Sacred Lakes! Today we’ve got one final book review over at A Creative Mind with my friend Diane Riggins.

If you’re local to SE Michigan, I’ll be signing books at the Northfield Township Area Library in Whitmore Lake today from 12-2 with a reading and Mackinac Island Fudge to celebrate. Call (734)449-0066 for more info. I hope to see you there!

Goodreads Giveaway Winner

We have a winner! Congrats to Victoria Reinhardt, winner of the second and final Goodreads giveaway for a signed paperback copy of Music of Sacred Lakes. Thank you to everyone who entered and helped me spread the word. It’s so awesome to meet so many people interested in magical realism and contemporary fantasy. Victoria, I will be sending out your signed copy of the book shortly. Congratulations again!

Special Deal on Music of Sacred Lakes

I’ve been looking forward to this! The Kindle version of Music of Sacred Lakes will be FREE for 5 days only starting today. Go get a copy and tell a friend! I just woke up to the book being #17 in Metaphysical Kindle bestsellers for free titles, so it’s on its way up! This promotion was the way that my first novel The Little Seer took off last year, with several thousand people downloading this new unknown author’s first work and driving it to the top of the Kindle free charts, so please pretty please let’s do it again and even bigger and better this time. A friend of mine just published a similar novella (literary ghost story) last week and his identical promotion pushed his first book to the #1 spot in Fantasy for free titles on Kindle, amazing exposure for a new author. Would you help me do the same? It’s totally free, and I’m so proud of this book. It’s a great way to introduce your friends to my work. Thanks!

 

 

Blog Tour Guest Post: Fear & Spirit with Book Doctor Dara Rochlin

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost storyJust one more day until launch for Music of Sacred Lakes, and I can’t wait to share this book, and a very special deal with you, when it comes out this Saturday.

Today I’m guest posting over at Book Doctor Dara Rochlin’s blog on fear and spirit. Dara is a great book editor who is a friend of quite a few author friends of mine. I hope you love her blog as much as I do!

And this is your last chance to get your entries into the Goodreads giveaway (through tomorrow) for a signed paperback of Music of Sacred Lakes. Good luck!

Remaining Blog Tour Schedule

April 26, 2014: LAUNCH DAY! A Creative Mind w/ Diane Riggins | Book Review. Plus, if you’re local to SE Michigan, I’ll be signing books at the Northfield Township Area Library in Whitmore Lake from 12-2 this day with a reading and Mackinac Island Fudge to celebrate. (734)449-0066 for more info.

April 27, 2014: Winner of the Goodreads Signed Paperback Music of Sacred Lakes Giveaway TBA on LauraKCowan.com + a big thank you to everyone who supported this launch! AND a special deal for a few days only, for those of you on Kindle.

Blog Tour Stop at Malcolm’s Roundtable

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost storyIt’s T minus 2 days until launch for Music of Sacred Lakes!

Today’s blog tour stop is a guest post on connectedness, a central theme in this literary supernatural about finding healing, over at Malcolm’s Roundtable with Malcolm R. Campbell.

Last chances to get your entries into the Goodreads giveaway (through April 26) for a signed paperback of Music of Sacred Lakes. Good luck!

Remaining Blog Tour Schedule

April 25, 2014: Book Doctor Dara Rochlin | Fear & Spirit, a Guest Post

April 26, 2014: LAUNCH DAY! Winner of the Goodreads Signed Paperback Music of Sacred Lakes Giveaway TBA on LauraKCowan.com, + A Creative Mind w/ Diane Riggins | Book Review. Plus, if you’re local to SE Michigan, I’ll be signing books at the Northfield Township Area Library in Whitmore Lake from 12-2 this day with a reading and Mackinac Island Fudge to celebrate. (734)449-0066 for more info.

Blog Tour T Minus 3 Days Till Launch! Review From Reverend Linda Neas

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book Cover, free books, free, discount books, literary, supernatural, spiritual, magical realism, ghost storyIt’s T minus 3 days until launch for Music of Sacred Lakes!

Today’s blog tour stop is over at Words From The Heart w/ Reverend Linda Neas, a book review based on her interfaith spiritual perspective.

Finally, get your entries into the Goodreads giveaway (through April 26) for a signed paperback of Music of Sacred Lakes. Good luck!

Remaining Blog Tour Schedule

April 24, 2014: Malcolm’s Roundtable w/ Malcolm R. Campbell | Connectedness, a Guest Post

April 25, 2014: Book Doctor Dara Rochlin | Fear & Spirit, a Guest Post

April 26, 2014: LAUNCH DAY! Winner of the Goodreads Signed Paperback Music of Sacred Lakes Giveaway TBA on LauraKCowan.com, + A Creative Mind w/ Diane Riggins | Book Review. Plus, if you’re local to SE Michigan, I’ll be signing books at the Northfield Township Area Library in Whitmore Lake from 12-2 this day with a reading and Mackinac Island Fudge to celebrate. (734)449-0066 for more info.

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