Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Four years ago… October 9, 2012

The week before Thanksgiving in 2008, I was given Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga to read by one of my English students.  That Thanksgiving weekend I bought my own copies of the books, read through the series again, and then poured over Stephenie Meyer’s website, reading everything I could about the genesis of the story, the process of writing, what she’d done to find an agent, and the adventure her life had become.

I was completely, totally, thoroughly inspired.  An idea sparked.  I’d had a story floating in my head for decades.  I’d written it down in a couple of versions before, but it wasn’t right.  I had known I needed a hook, but I just couldn’t figure out what it could be.  Stephenie gave me the solution: mythology.  Just as she had used vampires and werewolves, Greek mythology could be melded into the experience I wanted to share in order to provide the depth and conflict that had been missing in previous drafts.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving (that is, this very day four years ago) I began writing Grace Awakening.  That first day, I wrote about five double spaced pages.  The second day I did the same.  Then the third.  By the end of three weeks I had 75 pages of writing.  I set the goal to keep writing 25 pages a week. I met or exceeded that goal each subsequent week.  Twenty three weeks later, the first draft was complete.  It was the week before Easter, and I had 155,000 words.

A couple of weeks after Thanksgiving in 2009, I went to the Surrey International Writers Conference.  I pitched the book to a small Vancouver publisher.  She was interested and asked to see more.

A week before Thanksgiving in 2010 I signed the contracts with Gumboot Books.

In 2011, Gumboot Books went out of business, but Grace Awakening Dreams was released anyway through Lintusen Press in July.  By Thanksgiving 2011, it had been in the list of  Top iTunes Fantasy books in Canada over a hundred times.

In 10 days, I’ll be back to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference to pitch Grace Awakening Myth, a companion novel that tells  Ben’s version of  his battle for Grace.

It’s a lot to be thankful for: four years of creativity, empowerment, challenge, excitement, growth, and adventure.  It’s been an amazing ride!

Four years ago, when I started typing, I would not have been brave enough to imagine that I’d be in this place today.  But here I am.   My friend Heather observed, “Where will you be in another 4 years? Do you not love the “wait and see”‘ of life?”   The thought of it hit me in the gut.  Where will I be? I can only dream where Grace will be, keep writing, and hope I’m holding tightly to her coat tails as she explores the world!



Rotten apple! June 3, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:45 pm
Tags: , , , ,

There are people out there who love Apple products.  They glow about how ‘intuitive’ the programs are and how little problem they have using them.

I am  not one of them.

I think I can say quite categorically that I actually despise Apple.

I was given an iPhone.  I didn’t want one. I liked my cute little flip phone with an easy to remember number.  I liked to flip it open and imagine I was in a Star Trek episode, ready to ask Scotty to beam me up.  It did one thing, and it did it well.

I have had a stack of CDs that I want to load onto the iPod app on the phone.  I dutifully load them into iTunes library (a  hellish and confusing place that does not bear any resemblance to the wonderful, soothing, physical libraries in my world). 

Time to sync the iPhone to the iTune library and load up all the updates.  Click.

Up pops a warning “You have purchased items on your iPhone that are not in your iTunes library.  You should transfer them to iTunes library before proceeding.”




So I type the keywords into the “Help” menu.  In Word that always brings me the file I want, and it one or two clicks I’ve figured out everything I need to know.  Not in iTunes apparently.  30 ‘helpful’ boxes appeared.  I clicked and scrolled, but NOT ONE of them told me how to transfer my purchased iPhone apps into my iTunes library.  NO HELP just Hell.  After an hour of raising my blood pressure, I have given up, tossing electronics across the desk and standing with enough force to propel the office chair on a Homeric Odyssey.

I have left my iPhone plugged into iTunes in the basement.  I will hurt it if I see it until my rational brain function is restored.  I have recalled that the last time I tried to sync my iPhone, and the time before when I had the iPod Touch before it was stolen, I had the same problem.  It wouldn’t let me save the files that were on the other devise.  Those times, I gave up and just synced and lost them.  I presume the apps in question are my French subway maps, verb books and dictionary. I did pay actual money for them, and it’d be nice to keep them.

It would be nice if Apple would tell me HOW to do it, instead of just telling me to do it.

It makes me very sure that I will never own an Apple computer.  If a tiny devise like this is so hard to work with, what are larger ones like?  I will stick to my nice little notebook computer (smaller than a text book). 

I’d like my Walkman back, too.


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