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Writing Processes for Indie Authors with @LynneCantwell #SelfPublishing

What is My Writing Process as an Indie Author

from multi-published novelist, Lynne Cantwell

SEASONS of the FOOL by Lynne Cantwell


Did you get your copy? Today is the day it is released! If you did not hear, she didn’t win the Kindlescout program. You will still get your copy if you nominated! This is a stand-alone from author Lynne Cantwell. When one of my best friends in the publishing world sent me this fabulous interview I could not help but send it on to Lynne. I think it is a great way to introduce those who have never read any of her fabulous books. One thing Lynne is known for is passing on her own experiences over at Make sure you check her out there too!

1Hi there – please introduce yourself and tell me a bit about what you do?

I’m Lynne Cantwell, and I write primarily urban fantasy. I have two urban fantasy series set in the same universe – the Pipe Woman Chronicles and Land, Sea, Sky. However, my most recent book, Seasons of the Fool, is set in a separate universe, and is closer to fantasy romance.

I also write a weekly post for Indies Unlimited.

2That’s really interesting – please tell me what you think writers need?

That’s a pretty broad question. I think the very first thing any writer looking to publish needs to do is get over this idea that they can’t do it themselves. Too many people believe they could never learn to publish their own books. That’s how vanity presses suck in new authors, and the authors all end up regretting it. Self-publishing is not as hard as you think it is, and it has significant benefits – not the least of which being that it’s cheap.

3What software can’t you live without and why?

Primarily, I use two Microsoft Office products: Word and OneNote. My employer at my day job has spent a lot of money over the years on training on the use of the various features in Word, so I already knew how to use many of Word’s features going in. Word has a lot more bells and whistles than most authors need. But if people would just learn how to work with Styles in Word, pretty much all of their formatting headaches would go away.

4How do you organize yourself? Are you paper and pen, or do you use tech to keep yourself organised?

I mentioned Microsoft OneNote earlier. It has become my go-to organizational tool. Usually, when I’m beginning a new project, I write a beats-style outline in Word, but all of the other stuff – from my notes on my various characters to research notes to photo credits for book covers and trailers – are all kept in OneNote.

Before you ask, a beats-style outline is one in which you simply write a paragraph or so about what your scene is about, how the characters feel about that, what you hope to accomplish, and so on. It’s a lot less formal than a typical outline – mine are sometimes more stream-of-consciousness than anything else – but it gives you a place to start writing each day, as well as an idea of where you intend to end up. It makes the writing process quicker.

5What are your favorite places to get information relevant to you?

In terms of research for my novels, I read books on the topics I plan to write about. I also make liberal use of Google.

In terms of questions about the process of writing and the business of indie publishing, my first stop is Indies Unlimited. We have articles on just about every problem an indie author might face, and a bunch you haven’t thought of yet.

6If you could only have one thing, what would it be?

Another question that could be answered about a million different ways. A million dollars and a sensitive but hunky guy would be a great start. But in terms of my writing career, what I would like most is the opportunity to write full-time. Then I could set aside a number of hours each day for writing and editing, and another period of time for social media and promotional work. As it is right now, I end up getting stuck on Facebook. Not that that couldn’t happen if I were writing full-time, but I think I’d be better about it. I think.

7What are you working on right now?

I’m kind of on hiatus for the holidays right now. But I think 2015 will be my year to tackle the final two books in my Pipe Woman Chronicles universe. I’m trying to write three books a year, so that means I’ll have to come up with another novel, too.

8What’s one challenge you’re trying to solve right now?

I’m trying to crack the same nut as everyone else: How to boost sales. There’s no magic bullet, and the thing that works today won’t necessarily work three months down the road. But that’s what keeps life interesting, right?

Writing Processes for Indie Authors with @LynneCantwell #SelfPublishingSeasons of the Fool
by Lynne Cantwell
Illustrator •Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Amazon • • Goodreads •

A Fool’s journey begins with a single step…

Julia Morton Michaud has fled Chicago for her grandparents’ summer home in Michiana. She believes the cottage near Lake Michigan will be a refuge – a quiet place for her to pursue a  writing career while her spirit heals from a string of failed relationships.

But her past keeps intruding. Her ex-husband, Lance, is under investigation for defrauding his wealthy investors, and the specter of having to testify at his trial hangs over her. She begins a new relationship with a man she hardly knows. And her neighbor and former lover, David Turner, is trapped in his own troubled marriage.

Julia discovers a labyrinth in the woods near her cottage. It belongs to Elsie and Thea, the elderly ladies who live at the end of the lane. Julia wants to use it for meditation, but she doesn’t know the risks. For the women have their own agenda, and it’s tied to the rug Elsie is endlessly weaving.

The truths Julia learns in the labyrinth have the potential to change all their lives – if only she will take them to heart.

– Goodreads | KindleScout –



About Lynne Cantwell

Seasons of the Fool by @LynneCantwell - a #KindleScout Nominee

Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was "Susie and the Talking Doll," a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks.

Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. She is also a contributing author at Indies Unlimited. She lives near Washington, DC.

Across Lake Shore Drive from the beach, behind the multi-million-dollar “cottages” atop the dunes – the ones with views all the way to Chicago – the woods begin.
Old-growth oak and maple tower over the faux log cabins that nestle into the understory – dogwood, sassafras, tulip poplar, and the occasional pine. Most of the houses look vacant. School begins earlier than it used to, and the families who spent their summer days frolicking in the waves and riding bikes along the winding lanes have gone back to their workaday lives on the other side of the lake. But here and there, windows are still open to catch the warm, early September air. The cars in the driveways of most of these homes sport Indiana or Michigan plates, but some belong to the summer people for whom summer hasn’t quite yet ended.
Here’s one on a corner just a block from Lake Michigan. There’s a gray station wagon with Illinois plates parked in the concrete driveway, and a pickup truck with local plates angled in behind it. A couple of guys in t-shirts and worn jeans are erecting a sign in the front yard – “Ames Construction Co.” – while a man with thinning ginger hair signs something on a clipboard.
We turn the corner onto Nokomis Trail and pass a few more cottages, interspersed with vacant lots where wild grapevines twist around neighboring saplings. In a manicured yard that would look at home in any suburb, an elderly man pushes a lawn mower. On the street in front of his house, a wooden mallard stands guard over his mailbox and two others, its whirligig wings spinning lazily in the breeze.
Every now and then, the man pauses to wipe his forehead with a carefully-folded red bandanna; as he pauses, he shakes his head over the cottage across the way, nearly invisible behind a riot of unkempt bushes and vines.
Next to this abandoned house is a vacant lot. Next to that, at the very end of Nokomis Trail, is a tiny cottage that looks like something out of a fairy story. Garden statuary – here a frog, there a nymph on a log – nestle amidst gangly purple mums. A gnome guards the entrance to the stepping-stone walk, and several wind chimes hang from the porch eaves.
The elderly man glances toward this cottage and crosses himself surreptitiously. Then he goes back to work.
Inside the cottage at the end of the lane, a plump, matronly woman with a cheerful face hums as she works a loom. The frame takes up most of the living room, leaving only space enough for the fieldstone fireplace, two easy chairs, and a tiny television.
The woman pauses in her work and whistles, long and low. “Well,” she says to herself. “Isn’t that interesting.”
Just then, the back door bangs shut. The woman at the loom looks toward the kitchen, where a tall, thin woman with a narrow face has just come in. Out of habit, she ducks under the herbs hanging from the rafters as she removes her gardening gloves.
“Mind your shoes, dear,” the plump woman says. “I just swept.”
“I’m going back out,” the tall one says as she gets herself a glass of water at the sink. As she waits for the glass to fill, she says, “I saw another dragonfly. That makes seven, just this morning.”
“Was this one headed up the street, too? Toward the Morton place?”
The tall woman nods, then downs half of the water in one long drink. “Looks like things are about to change around here.”
“Yes,” the plump woman says, examining her weaving. “I see that.” She turns back to the tall woman with a sunny smile. “At last!”
At the same moment, thirty-five miles across the lake as the crow flies, Julia Morton Michaud sits in her lawyer’s office. Elaine’s firm is small, so their offices in Chicago’s Loop don’t command the sweeping view of the city that a larger firm would have. But as the Haddon of O’Leary and Haddon LLP, Elaine rates an office with a glimpse of the lake.
Julia attempts to maintain a professional demeanor as Elaine goes through the checklist: life insurance, health insurance, retirement accounts. The country club membership. The burial plots. All of the knotted strands that will have to be untangled before her marriage can be dissolved.
All of the legal knots, anyway. The emotional bonds frayed away long since.
“Now, the checking accounts,” Elaine says.
“Equal split,” says Julia. “Same with the savings and money market accounts. And the stocks.” She expects a fight over the stocks, but intends to stand her ground. She needs those investments to live the life she means to live. And she refuses to let Lance get away with everything.
“And the real estate?” the lawyer goes on. “I assume he’s keeping the Gold Coast condo. But you’re going to keep the house in Evanston, right?”
“No,” Julia says. “He can have that, too.”
Elaine looks at her over the top of her reading glasses. “It’s worth several million dollars, isn’t it?” At Julia’s nod, the lawyer goes on, “Well, we have some options. We can ask him to buy you out. Or we can stipulate that the house be put on the market.”
“I don’t want the money,” Julia blurts. “I don’t want any part of that house. He can have it.”
Elaine gives her a look of barely-concealed disbelief. “As your attorney,” she says, “I would strongly advise that that would be against your best interests. But as your friend….” She shakes her head. “Julia, what are you thinking? You’re entitled to half the house, as well as half the condo. And most of your wealth is tied up in your real estate holdings, unless I miss my guess. What are you going to live on, if you give everything to him? For that matter, where are you going to live?”
Julia tilts her chin up. “The house in Michiana. I’m going to live there.”
“In that derelict cottage?” Elaine’s shock is plain.
“It’s not derelict,” Julia says, defensive. “It needs some work, that’s all. And it’s quiet. It’s the perfect place for me to get my head together and do some serious writing.”
The attorney shakes her head. “So you’re really going to lock yourself away in that moldy old place. I thought you were kidding when you mentioned it at dinner last week.”
“Nope.” Julia pulls her chin up higher. “I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. This is exactly what I want to do.”
The lawyer sighs. “Well, I’ll draw up the agreement with that in place and send you a draft by tomorrow morning at the latest. But I think you’re making a big mistake.”
Julia nods – in acknowledgement, not in agreement. She looks past Elaine’s shoulder and out the window, beyond the end of the concrete canyon, where a sliver of Lake Michigan is visible. The waves glitter in the harsh light of midday. It feels like a promise. Or like a release.
Silence draws her attention back to her friend. Elaine is regarding her with a wistful expression. “We’ll miss you,” she says.
Julia waves away the sentiment. “It’s not like I’m moving to the moon,” she says with a laugh. “I’ll only be sixty miles away.”


  1. Thanks for letting me play on your blog today, Kriss! 🙂

    BTW, there’s an updated version of the trailer that features the snazzy new cover designed by the Cabin Goddess herself. It’s here:

  2. Great interview, Lynne! I’m going to have to delve into MS Word Styles before I really start my book (right now, I just have notes in Evernote, emailed to myself, and in a notebook) so I can head off any formatting issues.

    And thank you for explaining beat-style outlining, because if Kriss hadn’t asked, I certainly would have. LOL

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