Shadow Stalker: Awakened (Episode 20) Renee Scattergood New Release (A Writer’s Journey)
Shadow Stalker: Awakened (Episode 20)
Release Date: 21 June 2017
Appolia is once again under siege. Auren returns to find the Galvadi are using extremely inhumane tactics to demoralise the Coalition. She needs to help the Coalition before everything is lost. If Auren can use her newfound abilities to find the Galvadi’s greatest weakness, they might stand a chance in bringing the Galvadi down once and for all.
An Indie Author’s Incredible Journey
By Renee Scattergood
When I began my journey as a writer, over twenty years ago, I never imagined what it would hold. At first, I was terrified for people to read my work. I would never have even considered it as a career if my English instructor in college hadn’t told me I should consider having my work published. Still, even then, it took me several months to come around to making the decision to pursue writing as a career.
I took a novel writing course, as well as a screenplay writing course, to prepare myself. I wasn’t sure which I wanted to do at the time since both appealed to me. Of course, things don’t always go as planned. I had written an entire novel and didn’t think to make backup copies. My computer crashed, and I lost the entire thing.
I was so heartbroken, it was years before I considered going back to writing. It happened one night, about seven years ago, while I was reading The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. The character Kado just popped into my head, fully formed. I knew he wouldn’t be the main character, even then, but I also knew he’d be important to the main character. I also knew the title would be Shadow Stalker.
As this came to me while reading about the power of synchronicity, I decided to take it seriously. Still, the idea festered in my mind for the next couple of years before I wrote anything down. It took nearly two years to complete the novel. I was proud of it, but when I asked a friend (who is a published author) to give it a read, she suggested an entire rewrite.
I was horrified, at first, by the thought because it had taken so long to write that one, but her suggestions were great. I knew it would make the story ten times better. It was worth it to me to take the time and make it a better story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to get it together. I was researching the industry at the time, because I had already decided to self-publish, and the whole process seemed way too daunting.
It didn’t help that there were people out there telling me to give up on the idea of self-publishing. I was told that self-published authors aren’t taken seriously and aren’t seen as “true” authors. Of course, I didn’t believe them at the time, but stuff like that does tend to put a niggle of doubt in the back of your mind. That, on top of the journey seeming too big, threatened to halt my progress.
So, I decided to take some advice I had gotten when I was younger. When a job seems too big (and scary), break it into smaller parts. Then it won’t seem so bad. That’s what I did. Instead of writing Shadow Stalker as a novel, I began writing it as a serial. I figured publishing smaller pieces about the size of a short story would be a lot easier to deal with. It would also give me a chance to test the waters with the story.
It paid off. Three years later, here I am about to finish off my Shadow Stalker serial. I’m beginning work on my next serial, publishing short stories regularly, and even working on my first novel series. Since then, I’ve found that there are many people out there who love reading the work of indie authors. Not only because our books tend to be less expensive, but we publish more often than traditionally published authors. They love that they don’t have to wait as long for the next book in a series. They also love the fact that indies tend to build relationships with their readers on a more personal level. It’s because that’s how we find our readers in the first place.
It hasn’t all been a smooth ride though. My biggest obstacle has been my health. I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Disease. There are days when I want to write, but I can’t because the fatigue and brain fog are so bad I can hardly think. At first, it bothered me because I was trying to keep up with other indies who could write more often than I could. Then I realized, what’s the point in creating stress where there doesn’t have to be any (especially since stress makes it worse)?
Since then, I’ve focused on doing what I can when I can. On bad days, I can do the work that doesn’t require as much thinking. Some of the best advice I’d ever gotten was no matter what you choose to do in life, you should never give up. As it is with any journey, if you keep moving forward, you’ll eventually get to where you want to go. It might take you more time that it takes others, but that just means you get to have more fun along the way.
And it has been fun and amazing. I’ve met so many wonderful, helpful and caring people along the way. Many of those have become great friends. The journey would have been worth it just for that, but I’ve also had some great opportunities as well. I love being able to connect with so many people all over the world online. I’ve gotten to do interviews, been invited to write guest posts (like this one) and participate in events on Facebook and Goodreads.
So, to the writers out there who are having doubts, I have this to say. Everyone who has ever succeeded as an author, whether indie or traditional, has this one thing in common: they didn’t give up and kept writing. Success can be measured in many ways. For me, I will consider myself successful when I can support my family solely on sales from my books. While I haven’t reached that point yet, I know I’ll get there because I don’t intend on giving up. I’ll keep writing and building relationships with my readers. Define what success means to you and keep moving towards that goal every single day. Every little step will bring you closer.
Bio: Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy and paranormal thrillers.
She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.
Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6):
For those who have not read the serial: Get Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episode 1 – 6) and Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 – 12) Free:
ALL THE SHADOW STALKER SERIES (EXCERPTS BELOW OF ESPISODE 20)
EPISODE 20 Excerpt #1:
Makari stirred the contents of the pot that held our evening meal. “Now is probably not the best time for exploring.”
“No. I know. I was just thinking that maybe one of these tunnels might lead to the camp.”
“They might, but we have no idea which ones, and we’re more likely to get lost.”
I was only partially listening to them. One of the tunnels seemed to stand out more than the others. It seemed brighter even though I knew it couldn’t have been. And voices whispered in my mind as if encouraging me to go there. “I can find the way, but it will take several hours of hiking.”
“You’ve been in these mountains?” Makari asked.
“Well, Kado and I did come up here a few times, but not this mountain specifically. We went further north.” I sighed. Now was just as good a time as any to tell him. “My powers have returned. I drank the water from the Black Lake and after that something happened. I can access the shadow world again, but it’s different now. Everything feels different.”
I shook my head. “I can’t explain it.”
“You’re sure you know what you’re doing?” Jade asked, nervously.
This had been her idea and now that she realized how narrow and dark the tunnels were, she didn’t feel as confident.
“Yes. I’m absolutely sure.”
It wasn’t long before we came to the first fork. I paused to examine both tunnels. Even with the torch light, one tunnel stood out brighter than the other. The voices seemed louder now too as I headed down the left tunnel. I was on the right path. Every time we came to a fork, it was the same.
“We seem to be going down. You’re positive this is the way?” Makari asked.
“Yes.” I closed my eyes a moment and I could see the tunnel laid out before me in my mind. “It starts going up again a short distance from here, but it’s going to be a pretty steep incline.”
After another twenty minutes of walking, I paused at the bottom of the incline.
Makari seemed stunned. “How are you doing this?”
“I have no idea. It’s as though something is guiding me.”
“I hope it’s something that wants to help and not something that wants to get us lost or killed,” Jade said.
I didn’t have time to reflect on what just happened. Makari was still in danger. I moved closer to him, right on the edge of the veil. I felt the tingling of the beryllonium’s effects. Strangely, I suddenly felt stronger. I needed to get Makari back into the shadow world before that trooper came to his senses and returned. If I could wrap myself in the veil, maybe I could do the same for him.
In my mind, I imagined the veil like a blanket. I pushed it out and manipulated it so that it surrounded Makari.
He sat up, looking around. Are you doing this, Auren?
Yes, I sent back.
When he regained some of his strength he shifted and joined me in the shadow world. We returned to the cavern.
“What did you do? How did you do that?” Makari asked.
“I’m not sure. Somehow, I was able to affect the trooper’s thoughts. I convinced him that you weren’t a threat and he left. Then I wrapped you in the veil to nullify the beryllonium’s effects.”
Makari shook his head slowly then gazed at me. “Could you do that again?”