Author: shanspyker



This is just a quick, last post to say that this site is moving to where we have some exciting things planned. This site will remain up a while longer, but all new posts will be made on the new site going forward. Eventually this site url will be redirected, so update your links now!


Campaign update

Updated: Campaign is now at 84% ! Thank you all for your enthusiastic support and for making this project sing! At the moment The Way of the River is trending at #16 of 9,400+ in the children’s book category on Kickstarter!!

Book interior design has begun! I’m just beginning to test out a few layout ideas and choosing typefaces. Funding is currently at 75% with only $777 left to go to reach goal! Funds will only be released if 100% is reached so I am working hard to get the word out before the January 16th deadline.

If you know anyone who might be interested or who has a young reader in their life that would appreciate a fantasy/adventure novel (approx 350 pages), please feel free to share the project link. Your help is appreciated so very much!

Become a Backer of The Way of the River on Kickstarter!


More about that Early Backer add on

It’s almost here! In just over 24 hours the Kickstarter campaign will be launching! While the book is scheduled for release in April 2021, the Kickstarter will include a special add on reward that will make it possible to give The Way of the River as a holiday gift! The add on is unlocked for early backers when pledges (at any level) are made within the first two weeks of the campaign launch. I’m really excited to be able to announce this addition, for, in order to be able to offer an add on reward, The Way of the River project had to undergo review by Kickstarter and be accepted as a beta tester for this new feature!

Curious how it works? The early backer add on is an optional upgrade which provides backers with a gift announcement card (choice of a digital format, or a physical, printed announcement card) that can be given to recipients over the holidays letting them know of their forthcoming gift. In addition, to make the gift very special, the names of both the backer and the gift recipient will be included in a special thank you section for early backers within the book!

This add on is only available through December 12th for the printed gift acknowledgement (available to US residents only due to shipping time constraints…these will be sent via Priority Mail upon the competition of a pledge transaction with this add on), and December 18th for digital gift acknowledgements (available world wide, and will be delivered via email to the backer upon completion of a pledge transaction with this add on).

If you’re looking for something unique to gift this holiday season to the reader in your life who loves tween fantasy adventure stories, The Way of the River Early Backer Add On might be just the ticket!

The Way of the River Kickstarter launches December 4, 2020 at 12 midnight EST and runs through January 16, 2021


Kickstarter Launch on the Horizon!

Watch this space, follow via the Shan Spyker author Facebook page, and add yourself to the e-mail list to get notification of the pre-launch and launch!

HEADS UP! A special Early Backer perk will be available to anyone who pledges support between December 4 and December 12 at any level!! To unlock that option, pledge your support within that time frame and the Add On will be made available to you!

This perk is the perfect option for anyone wishing to gift a copy of The Way of the River to the young reader in your life, or for yourself! While the book will not be printed until Spring of 2021, this option will provide a gift card option you can give away for the holidays to let your gift recipient know of their gift, and the important role they are playing as an early backer! An extra special perk will also be given with this add on backer perk…check it out on the Kickstarter page when it launches!


Excerpt – Chapter One

Happy Friday! To give you another peek into the story, here is a short passage from chapter one, where fifteen-year old Elinora has been talked into exploring the centuries-old tower room on their property by her mischievous younger sister, Ottilie.

I will continue to sporadically post passages until the Kickstarter campaign is launched. To stay in the loop when that will be, be sure to click the Sign Up button up top, which will take you to the form on the home page of this site. Fill it out, and you will receive periodic updates! (Note: I will only send 1-4 updates per month, they will come directly from me, I and will never, ever sell or give out your email address to anyone!)

Now for a glimpse into that tower…


Dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s: recommended resources for writers

As I wait for my editor to finish the first pass of the second half of the manuscript, I find myself looking for other ways to occupy myself with the story. One to do is finishing changes to the first half. But as the completion of the story gets closer on the horizon, and since I have decided to proceed with self-publishing, my list of to do’s has grown considerably. This is not a bad thing, and in fact, one of the reasons I did choose to self-publish—to make this a writing and art project of epic proportions. The single most enjoyable to do, besides the writing itself, is working with my illustrator as we hash out artwork.

However, there is another very important, practical aspect that needs addressed, which is the topic of copyright and protecting work. As it happens, last summer I attended a writer’s conference and joined a very helpful session presented by legal expert on creative copyright/lawyer/writer/publishing agent, Jacqueline Lipton. Not only is she deeply knowledgeable in all of these arenas (a former professor of law at a nearby university, she is also the founder of Raven Quill Literary Agency), she is also funny, approachable and warm. During her presentation I learned of her then forthcoming book the title of which I jotted down and have been eagerly awaiting for it to be released since. You can read more about Law and Authors, A Legal Handbook for Writers here in this interview via another great resource (not to mention, inspiring) Luna Station Quarterly. Just last week I, with great excitement, finally was able to purchase a copy. It has quickly shot to the top of my “homework” sub category in my grand book-creation to-do list.

If you are a writer seeking resources and information and have stumbled upon this post, welcome! This is the first in what I plan to expand into a series of posts focusing on helpful resources for fellow writers new to the publishing realm (particularly those who are considering or have decided to self-publish). Eventually these resources will also find their way into a dedicated page—cleverly called Resources—that I am currently developing. I have found the writing world to be filled with such welcoming, helpful folks, and I hope to to contribute a little back in the way that others have so greatly helped me. So stay tuned! And sign up below if you wish to receive alerts when new posts are made so you don’t miss out!


First passage

I’m excited to finally be able to share a first glimpse into the world of The Way of the River, a passage from chapter 3, titled simply, Henry. As the weeks go by I will be adding more, including character bios, Kickstarter campaign information (coming soon!) and most exciting, illustrations! For now, we catch up with Elinora and Tillie as they explore the fabled Kellandale Wood for the first time.

Passage from The Way of the River by Shan L Spyker

What’s this? A Title Reveal!

I am excited to finally be able to share the working title of the manuscript! No monkeying around I’m going to get right to it.

Book One of the Henry & the Legend of Kellandale Wood series will be titled The Way of the River. This is a tween/upper middle grade story, a fantasy/adventure set in 1904.

More tidbits, including character profiles, excerpts and artwork will be shared in the weeks to come! If you wish to stay in the loop on the forthcoming Kickstarter project, you can sign up on the email list on the home page, and if you wish to receive blog post alerts, sign up for the wordpress updates (in the footer of this site). Or you can do both!

Henry & The Legend of Kellandale Wood


A Long Minute

It’s been a long minute since my last update, so I thought I would come out from under my little book writing rock to bring everyone up to speed finally. In the last post I was at a crossroads, debating whether to work toward finding an agent to go the traditional publishing route, or to self-publish. After a LOT of thinking, it finally occurred to me that when it came down to it, there is only one answer that feels true to myself, and that is to self-publish.

Why? Because if I seek traditional publishing, so many of the creative processes that would be required for self-publishing, would very likely be taken away–book layout, illustration being the two biggest. I am an artist first and foremost and when viewed as an art project with words, well then, I’m all in! So. At the moment the manuscript is with my editor who is halfway through in the first pass. As she works on that, I am working back into the first half making minor tweaks. I have my son, an illustrator, working on illustrations for me and I am so excited to be able to share those soon. My next step will be to post an excerpt of the manuscript with the first illustrations and a passage. From there, attention will be turned to a kickstarter campaign for a printed edition. After that, the goal will be to produce as an ebook.

In a nutshell, tween (read upper middle grade), fantasy/adventure, self published on its way.

So that is the short of it…next post will be much sooner than this one is. If you’d like to sign up for email updates I will be adding that here on this page soon, too! Thanks for listening!


Should I self-publish or should I seek traditional publishing ? (esta indecisión me molesta!)

The story is entering last licks–I am now hunting for those last stray commas, periods, and misspellings in a final (final, final!) pass.

Part of the deep revision I have been involved in required dialing in on age range (that boundary between MG and YA is thin and grey, but I have found others who feel, as I do, that the age range between them is unnecessarily glossed over by publishers—which I may circle back to in a post on that very interesting topic), as well as editing down to an appropriate word count for the target audience to be sufficiently palatable to an agent (and thus a publisher). These details have been wrangled, and as I look toward composing new query letters, I suddenly find myself rethinking my options…

When I first embarked on this project, I had planned for the book to be self-published so that I could have fun with one of my favorite crafts, which is to lay out a book. But after the book grew into a full scale novel, I became interested in the pluses that come along with working with an agent and via traditional publishing. I began my quest to learn all I could about that (wonderful, enticing) avenue, through writers’ conferences, online seminars, an international writer’s society to which I belong, as well as books on the topic, and good ol’ searches on the web. It seemed right, and I changed courses with those new goals in mind.

But as I near the finish line, ready to compose new query letters and reaching out to agents, the desire to have fun with the process of creating a book (creating the marketing materials, the social media postings to connect to an interested audience, the artwork, the book cover, the book interior and putting all those pieces together) is beginning to call again like a loud and lovely siren. I suspect deep down that I don’t want to let go of all that potential fun.

And, now that we have been under shelter in place orders for a decent amount of time, I have had ample opportunity to ponder which direction I will take, which is placing me at a new crossroad.

To allow myself more time to weigh the pros and cons of each path, I have decided the most enjoyable thing to do would be to put steps in place for both. Writing that book summary, writing those queries, and yet also drawing up a Kickstarter campaign plan, dreaming up Kickstarter perk items to go along with it (I can hear my screen printing equipment calling!), planning future posts for this website since I would be much more feee to share content here (passages from the story, plot lines, themes, characters etc). So today was spent mapping out the to do lists for both options so that when I am finished with my final pass, I can make that oh-so-critical (exciting) decision and already have a plan in place.

Take that, indecision!