I swear I’m writing. Honest.

April, 2015. That’s when The ABC’s of Dee came out. Since then, crickets. No new teasers for upcoming works, no updates on upcoming releases, just nothing. You may be wondering if I’ve stopped writing. Hardly. I’m busier than ever. I’m currently working on four, yes, four books at the moment. Unheard of for me. I like to take my work one book at a time. However, this multitasking isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

So what AM I working on and WHEN will they be out? Well, that my friends is the million dollar question. I don’t know. One book, Enigma, is done and has been submitted to publishing houses via my agent. I’m going to try the traditional market on this one.  I can not WAIT for people to read this one. It’s unlike anything I’ve written yet. I’m also terrified of anyone reading it. If I hear anything on this, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be hearing about it here. In the meantime, she sits in wait.

Enigma coverf

Okay. Fine. What about the other projects? Well, two of those are sort of top secret at the moment, but they too, are going the traditional route. One will be finishing in January, and then shipped out to a publishing house that wants to see it and the other is still in first draft form so there are no current deadlines in place.

What about an indie book? Well, that’s the last project. I’m about 15 chapters into the first draft of that one. I can’t put a release date on it until I have finished my first draft… only then can I estimate how long it’s gonna take me to make it readable. (First drafts are not pretty, people).

I also just put Pulled and The ABC’s of Dee up for auditions for audio books and both are being shopped around for film interest so if anything comes of that, I shall let you know.

And finally, I was interviewed for the Pen Bay Pilot for a follow-up interview that they did on me last year during Nanowrimo. You can read about that here: Where is she now?

So that’s the scoop. Now it’s time I go back to the edits. The sun has risen and so must I.


Danielle Bannister, author and editing staller. 


Open letter to my kids new step-mom

My ex-husband is getting married on Saturday. What is to follow will not be an open rant about how he’s marrying a woman half his age, or that I am somehow bitter that he’s found love before me and moved on. No. Quite the opposite. This is an open letter to his bride, Leah. An official ‘welcome’ to her as we blend our families. I would have told her this at her wedding, because they invited me, but I told them I would not be attending. Not because I would be sad or upset, but rather, I wanted to make sure their day was about them. I didn’t want to take any focus of their day, and trust me, if an ex-wife is at your wedding, people would take notice. Intentionally or not, so I am giving her my wedding gift here.

Leah is my friend. Yup. She was before they got together, too. Hell, I was the officiant to her first wedding. Her daughter from her first marriage is adorable and she truly loves my ex. Something he totally deserves. I mean, LOOK. Look how stinkin’ happy they look together!

happy couple

She’s also about to become my two kiddos step-mother. Now, it would be a normal, typical reaction to have your feather’s ruffled at sharing that title with another woman, but I have never been normal. And so, it is to my children’s new step-mom that I dedicated today’s blog to.

Dear Leah;

I want to be included in the long line of well-wishers on celebrating your wedding. I want you to know how happy I am for the two of y ou. I think you know. I hope you do.

I also want you to know how blessed I feel knowing that my children have you in their lives. Sure, we have different parenting styles, and house rules, but the root of all we do, comes from a genuine love of those kiddos. My children adore you, and your daughter. They have told me how happy they are that we all get along so well, unlike so many of their friend’s families. They have adjusted to this divided family with such ease and comfort that it often boggles the mind. I think we’re doing something right. :) Even as two separate families (who occasionally take blended family trips to Fun Town/Splash Town in Saco or go Trick-or-Treating as one big awkward family) we both know instinctively, that the happiness of those kiddos is, by far, the most important thing there is. Little good has ever come from being angry and bitter. And why would I be either of those things? You have brought joy, not only into my kiddos life, but into Jason’s.  I couldn’t have asked for a better woman for that job. Seriously. I am truly happy for the fairy tale ending the two of you are having. (Don’t worry. I’ll get mine… and if not, I’ll keep writing about them. hehe)

Because you two are going to NY on your honeymoon to see Wicked (totally jealous about that by the way) I will end this letter with words from one of the best songs in the show: “Who can say if I have been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

Congrats and hugs on your joyous day! Can’t wait to see the pictures!

Danielle Bannister, Author and co-parent


Who are you?

(Anyone else saying the title like Brian in The Breakfast Club?)

“Who are you? Who. Are. You?”


I found myself asking this question recently when my agent called me to talk about one of two books I have with her that will go the traditional publishing route. (One is done and ready to be shopped around, and the other is still in progress… I can’t talk about either really…but when I can, you can bet you’ll hear all about them.)

The thing that got me pondering was after my agent asked me a very simple question: “How important is the publisher’s name on the spine of your book to you?” I knew exactly what she meant. We had chatted about this before. While the Big Five bring huge bragging rights, they don’t often pay very well or help market the book when it’s out. It’s basically sink or swim. Smaller publishing houses typically offer more royalties and in some cases, help in marketing. So, basically she wanted to confirm with me; did my ego need to be fed, or my belly?

Um, food please. No seriously. I’m hungry and the cupboards are slim.

Grilled cheese it is.

Grilled cheese it is.

We hung up after she’d given me some homework to do and I found myself still thinking about her question. Not if I’d made the right choice, more that she even asked me it to begin with. Why you ask? Because it seems preposterous to me that the Big Five should even be an option I’m ALLOWED to consider. I mean, I haven’t been writing all that long. Only about 6 years…which isn’t that long in the grand scheme of authorship. Sure, I got my Masters in Literary Education, have a few books and anthologies out, but these days, that’s pretty standard in the Indie world, in fact, the number of books I have published pale in comparison by what others in my field manage to do, so why ask me a question about the Big Five when I am barely a blip on the Indie radar. Well, I’m not really a blip, I’m more like the fruit fly on the screen that just won’t stay away.

The fact that I only sell a handful of copies of my books each month has surely got to be proof-positive that I’m not worthy of any sort of traditional book publishing deals. Right? (Oh, inner critic, how you bore your sharpened claws into my flesh at every turn.)

And so, her simple question has got me sitting here asking myself a very deep question (one she had no intention of putting into my head): Who are you? Are you an Indie Author, a Wanna-Be Traditional Author, a Hybrid Author, a (gasp) Vanity Press Author, a When I Have The Time Author, or worse: A Poor Excuse for an Author. The self-doubt I struggle with makes it hard to see straight sometimes.

How about I just leave all those qualifiers off and just say: I’m an Author. Author. Hmmm.

Yeah. I like the sound of that.

Danielle Bannister, Author and ponderer of all the things. 


Blog they said. It will be fun, they said.

p4dpxThey lied. As an author blogging is part of our homework and homework is never fun. (Okay, it kind of was for me. I was the dork who loved getting homework in college…but I’m weird). Blogging is like math homework. There. Better analogy…unless you like math….oh you get the point.

I’m not kidding when I say it’s homework. It is, and I literally gave it to myself, and worse, to other authors!  I’m part of a group of writers who help support, cheer on and problem solve issues they come up with in the writing world. Can’t figure out how to do something in word? To the group! Can’t find a good stock image? Ask the group!  Frustrated by the lack of sales… Well, we all post that. (Sales suck across the board, FYI). So where does this ‘homework fit in’? Well, a few months ago I got the bright idea to assign us all weekly homework. A list of tasks to keep us motivated, not just to write, but to do the million other things we have to do in order to put ourselves out into the world and hopefully into the hands of a reader. Once a month I assign us all to do a newsletter or a blog. We all moan when it comes time to this. Me, probably the loudest. Here’s why. I don’t know what to write about. If I have a sale or a new release or an event I’ve gone to, absolutely, the words flow. But when I’m just in editing hell …I’m left at a loss.

Now, as the assigner of the homework, I am used to there being whining about this very thing: What do we write about? I’m always the cheerleader. Write about your WIP, write a short story, tell them about your weekend, anything, just get it out there! And yet, I can’t seem to follow my own advice. The WIP is sort of under wraps because my agent and I are going the traditional publishing route. My weekend was the same old same old. Nothing blog worthy. It’s not like a Weasel got stuck in my house again or anything.



In the past I’ve been able to blog about my online dating woes. You can find those here and here. But I stopped going to those places. The guys there were a tad…scary. The only thing online dating was good for, was the blog posts.

So that leaves short story. Here’s the thing with short stories. I sense that people don’t really care for them. It feels like people always want novel length or nothing at all, and I get it. A short story is like a chip when you’re starving for Thanksgiving dinner. They tend to be unsatisfying; leaving you hungry for more.

(Just in case there are some that like them, I’ll leave a uber short one. Some may have read this before. If so, apologies)

The Best Man (A story of regret in 52 words)

The words slipped out of his mouth before he could stop them. “I do,” he said to his new wife–the one he was supposed to love.

Behind him, his best-man, Carl, squeezed his shoulder, expertly faking a smile of his own.

Relenting to the obligatory kiss, he evoked Carl’s lips instead. 

Okay. There. I blogged. I hope come next month there will be something more stimulating to blog about.

Danielle Bannister, author and blogger failure 

penned my table

Penned Con 2015 (the aftermath)

My dear friend, and author, Amy Miles, and her husband Rick Miles, put together a signing in St. Louis last year to help raise money for autism, a cause close to their heart as their son, Landon, (an awesome kid) also has autism. I went to their first signing last year, and when they decided to host another this year, of course I had to go.

Penned Con is the only signing that I will fly out to. As you can imagine, a trip like this is pricey. Air fair, hotel, food, then purchasing the swag and books …it’s not the sort of thing you plan to make money back on. It’s a trip to meet readers, network, hug authors you’ve only met on facebook, go to panels and have fun. Which is just what I did.


One of our speakers, Author Denise Grover Swank, urging us to take RISKS!Gandolf

This was the ball that happened on Saturday night. This is just a few of the authors that were at Penned that were also represented by Gandolfo Helin Literary Management.Julie and JDMy table neighbors and pals, Julie Cassar and JD NelsondanceThis is a few of the authors practicing for a secret flash mob of Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off. It was our way of surprising the readers and giving back some of the love that we feel for them! We all practiced for months in the comfort (and embarrassment-free) homes to a tape Amy Miles had put together for us. We had one block of about 30 min to practice it all together. It went off flawlessly! Everyone was surprised and had a great time!
supermanOne of the event coordinators, Rick Miles, even volunteered to dress up as Superman if we raised an additional $1,000 for Action for Autism. Well, we did that, in the first day of his challenge, so he had to up his game by adding first a Tutu, then a Tiara for $2,000. All in all, they raised just over $10,000 for the cause.  the galsThis is me with pals, JD Nelson, Julie Cassar and my roommate for the event, Casey Peeler. Much fun (and booze) was had by all.penned my tableSo will I go to Penned Con again? You betcha. I already booked my table. :D


Danielle Bannister, Author and sometimes boogie down dancer.



Enigma coverf

Let the fun begin…

Today’s post will not be about my dating woes (there goes half my readers). There is literally nothing to report there. It’s not like doctors where no news is good news. No news means simply that I’m unpacking that crazy old cat lady starter kit later today. (Now, where did I put those scissors…)

No, today I dive into day three of editing my latest book: Enigma.

Enigma coverf

Fun promo image

This is the book that I started to write some time ago. You may remember this was supposed to be the human side of the now defunct Netherworld. You can read about what happened with my co-written novel, Netherworld here. I started working on that ‘human’ version as soon as The ABC’s of Dee was released.

The plan had been to take the human I had created in Netherworld and have him not meet a Banshee but to just meet a mysterious human instead. Not paranormal, just mysterious. Fantasy isn’t selling like it once was, so I was tasked to write my own genre. Should have been easy, right? Well, I tried. I really, really tried. I got out about 50,000 words of trying. You know what I found? I didn’t like my character outside of the world I had already put him in in Netherworld. I tried re-naming him, changing his location but it just didn’t help. My character lived in Netherworld, not anywhere else. I didn’t like the character I created.

So, I started over. Filed it away as a project that taught me about what forced writing looks like.

Does that mean Netherworld can be released now to the indie market since the traditional book market didn’t bite and I didn’t re-write my half? Well, not so fast. My co-author of the book, Amy Miles, and I have put that idea on a WAY back burner. She has noticed that fantasy isn’t really moving in the indie world either, so it wouldn’t be smart to release it now, especially since we haven’t written the other two books to go with it. When we wrote the first book, our schedules were open enough to fit the other two books in fairly quickly to satisfy readers. However, time has moved on. Amy is a full time writer and is now booked solid for the next two years with contractual projects. I have none, for the record. *cough.

So, on a dusty digital shelf it will sit, where it may or may not ever see the light of day.With two years of writing, editing, tweaking, I just couldn’t bring myself to pull one of the characters out of that world. To do that, guaranteed not only his, but the book’s death. I’d rather have him remain whole, in the world he was born in, even if that world goes unread.

The only thing I retained from the first re-write was a female character. She became the real voice behind Enigma. And she has a lot to say.

I have no idea when it will release as I have promised this one to my agent to shop out in the traditional world, and one thing I’ve learned, the traditional world moves much slower than the rest of the world.

Until then, I have Penned Con to prep for and a book to edit. A book which will go to some pretty dark places that I’m still debating how much of that darkness I want to share with readers. Editing is where I get to learn what writing the book is trying to teach me. It’s the hardest part of writing for me, and also the most rewarding. Diving in. Head first.

Danielle Bannister, Author and red pen holder.


Time for Plan B

Well, I’m sure you all are hoping for another post about the joys of online dating, but sadly, there is nothing new to report there. Just the same crop of guys kissing their snakes, or licking their guitars, or sending creepy messages like this:

“Great individual,,,honestly if I get a chance to live with u rest of my life den I will never miss dat :)” 24 • Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This site is THE place to go if you want to lower your self esteem like 10 notches. I even labeled the bookmark for it: ‘Ugh’ because that’s how I feel going to check on the latest crop of ‘matches.’ Really? That’s the best that’s out there? Guitar lickers or guys that like my profile that live nowhere remotely near me?

I think I’ll stay single. Or at the very least switch dating sites. Shivers. (Not for awhile though)

As of this post, I am logging off the site I had been using, and at least for awhile, will focus my energy onto something more productive, like my writing. That always has my back. I’m never alone if I have my words to keep me company. Hell, if I want to cuddle, I’ll do it with a good book and a glass of wine.

Not to worry, folks. I’ve already ordered the crazy cat lady starter kit so I’ll have someone to talk to when I stop listening to myself; it should arrive Tuesday, along side the mega box of allergy pills cause I’m allergic to cats.


Danielle Bannister, author and feline friend (achoo!)