Catching my breath

The month of April has certainly been a whirlwind of a month. Snowstorms aside, the days have flown by. It’s been a busy spell of signings, working vacations, and catching up with old friends.

First up, in early April, R.J. Keller and I attended the Belfast Farmer’s Market. We spent five hours trying to convince the produce purchasing pedestrians that they needed a copy of our books as well. What trip to a farmer’s market is complete without some good reading material? Surprisingly, the time went by quickly as people darted in and out of the marketplace. And, oddly enough, we each managed to make some sales.

Farmer's Market Fun

The week prior to the event we made some swag up to give away and somehow managed to Tetris-style our dual set up on the small 4-foot table. In the moments we were not engaged with customers, we people watched. R.J. created an entire novel based on a few people milling around. You’re never safe in the company of authors. Fair warning.

The following week, I drove to Boston for the Talkbooks Author Event signing. I picked up Amy Miles from her flight in and we spent the day before the event in a conference room plotting out some of the second book in our Hallowed Realms Trilogy.  Friday night, Randi Cooley Wilson treated Amy and I and a few other authors to a most DELICIOUS meal at her husband’s restaurant. the Coach Grill. Properly stuffed, we were ready to set up for the signing the following day. The turn out was amazing and lots of books were sold and swag passed out. Over 700 pieces! (That means I get to make more now! Yay!!!)

Talkbooks fun

After a hopping after party, Amy and I drove home…in freezing rain…for four hours. That was a bit of a white-knuckle drive for me and my tiny car.

For the next seven days, I had Amy for a write-in. In that week, we got 56,000 exactly done on the sequel. Not a finished first draft but a pretty hefty dent!

I’m still recovering from it all, but had an epic time at each one!

Next week, I’ll be diving into the remaining chapters of our first draft as well as starting draft two of my Havenwood Falls novella.

Until then, I’ll be napping…and doing laundry.

Danielle Bannister, author and exhausted mama.

P.S.  I’ve also started a closed Facebook Reader’s Group if you want to join in. I share fun memes, and book info and such. You can join here.


To outline, or to fly by the seat of your pants? That is the question.

Ask a hundred authors how they formulate a story idea and you are going to get a hundred different answers. That’s because an author’s process is unique to them. What works for one author won’t work for another. And that’s how it should be.

I’m a firm believer that finding your own author voice is an individual journey and not something that can be found in a single How-To book. That’s not to say I don’t own several of those said books because I do. On Writing, by Stephen King, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, Making a Literary Life, by Carolyn See, and The Pocket Muse, by Monica Wood, are some of my favorites. They each have very different ideas about how writing should germinate.

Do I do everything they suggest? Of course not. Have I absorbed their thought process and figured out ways their techniques might work for me? Absolutely. From Stephen King, I have learned to be more aware of pesky adverbs and have realized that I need to read a lot more than I do. From Carolyn See, I learned about the grace of gratitude, from Anne Lamott, I learned to take it word by word, and from Monica Wood, I learned the stages of my writing process and to create a sacred (if only to me) writing space.

Some authors have a daily word count they have to meet. Some write when they have the motivation/time/energy. Some pull all-nighters, some have set writing hours. Some listen to music, some need the sound of silence. There are authors who outline every detail of a story before they even turn on their computers. Others, like me, sit down at a black document and hope for the best.


That’s not to say I don’t use an outline. Because I do…sort of. When I first started writing, I didn’t outline at all. Honestly, I didn’t really understand the purpose of an outline. How could you write a story when you already know how it would end? Where was the fun in that? Then I began working on a co-written novel (Netherworld) with my friend, Amy Miles, and we realized, we HAD to have an outline in order to make sure neither one of us went off on a tangent. We were sharing a story. We had to make sure the characters were taking the same journey. We needed a map…and full sunlight to see the way.

During that writing process, I read a few books on outlining and discovered one that worked within my needs. You see, I am a pantster normally. That is, I write my books by the seat of my pants with no endgame in mind. No clue where it’s going or how the characters will play out. As you can imagine, that makes subsequent drafts tricky. You spend a lot of time plugging plot holes or trying to weave storyline all the way through. People who outline, don’t have that problem. They’ve solved the plot issues before they even write. Their characters are fleshed out and not just vague ideas when they start.

Heavy outlining like that, while seemingly wonderful for someone who likes organization, just doesn’t seem to work for me. I like to have the freedom to let my mind wander when I write. That said, I can spend a LOT of time meandering and getting off track that way, which makes the editing process longer than it needs to be.

I’ve since learned to compromise. I make a simple outline. I figure out who my major players will be and a rough idea of what will happen. Like, Chapter 1, I write a chapter about what the normalness of that particular character’s day. Chapter 2, I introduce the inciting incident (the thing that changes the norm and starts us on our journey) and so on and so forth. This helps me figure out the ‘what’ my chapter needs to be about but allows me the freedom to fill in the details however I want. It’s an outline I do in pencil so if my inciting incident ends up taking three chapters, then so be it. If my character needs to change jobs/age/eye color, so be it. Erase the journal entry and move on.

In this way, the writing remains fluid but contained to the road, hopefully. It allows me the freedom to wander while at the same time gets me to my finish line without so many wrong turns. That said, this is what works for me now. I reserve the right to change my process. Afterall, the Muse is a fickle creature.

Danielle Bannister, author and muse chaser


Send. More. Coffee.

Anyone else having an insanely busy November? (Drinks all the coffee.)

Mine kicked off with a 5 day trip to Denver for work, and while it was fun and educational, I was more than happy to leave behind the bloody noses and altitude sickness. Now, I’m gearing up for another big work project this weekend that will surely leave me drained and in need of several days of sleep to catch up, but there will be no time for that! There are lines I need to learn for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a book I need to finish editing and, oh yea, Thanksgiving food to prep. (Shut up. I can cook..like two things.) Mercifully, filming has taken a bit of a hiatus but that is still ongoing as well.

So while I know I haven’t posted here on da blog in awhile, it’s not because I have dropped off of the face of the planet, but rather up to my eyeballs in deadlines. I’m in the final round of my personal edits of my next book which I’m going to reveal a cover for sometime in December or January with a February anticipated release date (unless the editor finds fatal flaws that is.) What I can tell you about the book is that this is another ‘Later in Life’ romance that takes place in the same fictional town of Bucksville, NH which is where Doppelganger is set.  There will be a few tiny crossover characters for those that read them all. Little Easter eggs planted here and there.  So far, there are four planned for this series, the notes for all, live in this handy, dandy notebook.

On top of that, I’m still working with Amy Miles on the sequel to Netherworld as well. We have the cover and outline done and are hammering out chapters as quickly as we can. We don’t like to wait for sequels any more than readers do!

As a final note, before I dive into my edits for the day, I wanted to point out that Facebook is cracking down on ‘business-like’ posts on your personal pages, so if you want to be up to date on all things books from me, be sure to follow my business page:  https://www.facebook.com/BannisterBooks/

Okay, signing off to red-line all the words!


Danielle Bannister, author and reviser of all the words


Author Interview: Amy Miles & Danielle Bannister open up about Netherworld

While Amy Miles and I wait for our beta readers to finish with their first look at Netherworld, we thought it might be fun to share a short interview we did with each other about what co-writing a book together was really like. We tried to think of questions people might want to know.

First things first…how did the two of you meet? You’re not even in the same state!

near far

Danielle: It was back in 2011. I had just released my first book, Pulled and I was looking for bloggers/readers to read and review it. I came across Amy’s blog. At that time, many moons ago, she used to do reviews in addition to write. She liked the book and we friended each other on Facebook. We started chatting about writing, and it turned into daily conversations.

Amy: Man that was a LONG time ago. I can’t believe we’ve been friends since 2011. Time sure flies by! Now we can’t go a day without gabbing to each other.

Amy writes primarily fantasy books. Danielle writes primarily real world, romance driven novels. What made you think to combine the two genres?

Amy: Most fantasy books contain romantic elements. I’ve read and enjoyed all of Danielle’s books in the past and knew that she’d be a huge asset when it came to creating that romantic thread that I sometimes overlook because I’m too amped up to jump into a suspenseful battle. Netherworld is a great blend of both of our skills.

Danielle: Even though we write in different genres, we’re in a lot of the same circles just because of being indie authors. I’ve always wanted to try fantasy, but I really didn’t have the courage to try it. Sooooo much world building and coming up with ridiculously massive back stories. That was a skill Amy had with her books and I wanted to yolk some of her skill that way. I’m not sure which one of us suggested that we should try working on a book together, using each other’s strong suits, but we decided to give it a whirl. I don’t think either of us thought it would take us as long as it did to happen, but that’s another question haha.

amy fantasy banner
This is just a FEW of Amy’s titles!

What has the co-writing process been like since you live so far apart?

Danielle: Amy and I both have very different ways in which we go about writing, as all writers do. We find what works for us and go with it. So trying to figure her process and blending it together with mine took some getting used to. Add into the fact that we weren’t often in the same room together at the same time when writing. Often we’d be writing at different times from the other, on different chapters within the same document so our outline became a HUGE piece of what we used. I had never outlined prior to this book but when you have two different authors, you HAVE to know where the story is going.

Amy: We spend a LOT of time on Facebook Messenger hashing out ideas. A lot of times I would come up with some brilliant plan that would leave Danielle banging her head on the desk because I was creating ripples that flowed over into her chapters, but it worked…eventually. I MAY be part of the reason why Netherworld went through seven rewrites haha.

Danielle: So many ripples…She’d get this crazy idea that totally worked, but it meant going back and changing five other chapters! This book took a very unique way of coming to the finish line.

What has been the best and worst thing about writing Netherworld?

Amy:  For me, the best has definitely been seeing first hand what it’s like to compromise and work through varying ideas on a book. I’m so used to just being a panster when I write my own books that plotting in advance and making not only two different POV’s but also two different worlds blend has been amazing to watch. The worst part is definitely going through so many rewrites. Even though I’m thrilled with the end result and all of the added layers of depth that we have added, it becomes difficult to remember which details remained to the final cut. Danielle and I will message each other saying “didn’t we write this already?” only to remember that was three re-writes ago. Book 2 and 3 will definitely be a smoother ride for us now that we’ve got this process down pat.

Danielle: I agree with Amy on the ‘worst’ element. Having to stick to an outline made the desire to follow a road that I normally would follow something I couldn’t do. It forced me to be disciplined. The other negative was the multiple revisions…We had a version of the book done in 2014, but then it got picked up by an agent…the agent wanted revisions…then we parted ways with the agent…let it sit dormant and said, you know. We have this book done and waiting. Why don’t we publish it? When we re-read it, however, we saw ways we could improve upon the original 2014 version (we had both grown as writers) and so that meant yet another round of revisions! Hahaha The best thing has been being collaborative with Amy. I think we’ve both learned so much about each other’s writing style and method and learning how to incorporate those styles into one project has been eye opening.  

Who is your favorite character from Netherworld and why?

Danielle: I get to write the humans for this book so I tried to make each of them different from the other in honest ways. I love to write characters that are broken, if only in their own eyes. Some people think of characters that start a book as such are weak. What’s fun for me, as a writer, is to help these characters find their strength throughout the course of a novel. I want to go on their journey of self-discovery. This book focuses mostly on Devlin’s journey after some tough news in his life. Other humans will get their turn as the trilogy continues. Having said that, the most fun one to write so far has been Seamus. He’s Devlin’s side kick. He’s a bit of some comic relief but also has a troubled past so he’s fun to write.
Amy: That is a really hard question to answer since I have the pleasure of writing both Taryn, our heroine and Aed, our cocky prince of the Netherworld. Both have strong personalities, are fiercely loyal and are totally badass. Those are the three things I love most in fantasy based characters. But I’d have to say that I really love Taryn. She’s going to go through a pretty major character growth process over the span of this trilogy and it’s going to be fun watching her realize that letting herself love doesn’t make her weak. It actually makes her stronger.

3d take3

Netherworld will be releasing in October. You can pre-order at ibooks here.

Other platforms coming soon.

You can check out all of Amy’s work on her website at: https://amymilesbooks.com/


Got a question we didn’t answer? Let us know in the comments!


Danielle Bannister, author and interviewer


Exciting News!!!

I’ve got a secret to share! One I’ve been holding onto for about a year now. Today I get to spill the beans. I have a new book to do a cover reveal for! One that people who know me thought was long dead and buried. Confused? Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.


Back in 2013, my writing friend, Amy Miles and I were ready to release a book into the world that we co-authored. We had spent about a year or so, working on making this book work. Not easy to do when you live several states away. We were determined to do it though. We had an idea. She wrote fantasy then and I wrote romance. Could the two worlds collide? Could a human fall in love with a fantasy character? Why not? The story was born.

About a year later, we had everything set to release. Some of you probably remember reading about said book way back then. It was during a Facebook release party when we were approached by an agent. They wanted to represent our book, but only if we pulled it from release. Apparently, publishing houses don’t want to release a book that is already out. Go figure! So with three days before our release, Amy and I had some tough choices to make.

In the end, we opted to pull our release and give the agent a try. After all, we wanted to dream a little. Fast forward several years and even more re-writes, (7th times a charm?) we thought the book was dead in the water. We both left the agency and so the title reverted back to us.

Then, last year, we thought maybe we should give it one last go. I mean, we had a finished novel. It seemed silly to just let it sit there unpunished.

Hard at work? Or hardly working?

Remember when Amy came to Maine for a week to ‘visit me’ in February? We were working on Netherworld, though we didn’t want to reveal it just then. (This was before that ugly couch and coffee table were carried away screaming into the night.) That magical piece of paper Amy is holding was our outline. The sanity that kept two very different minds on track.)

Today, we are thrilled to show you the cover reveal of the new and improved: NETHERWORLD: The Hallowed Realms Book 1.

netherworld mk6



Flatline. The moment when one life ends and the next begins. That’s my cue. And I hate it. Being a banshee is a right pain in the arse. When I’m not ferrying manky old blokes or mental cat ladies through the veil between Earth and Netherworld, I’m training in secret for a war our King denies is coming. But I know better. An army of Lorcan monsters stands ready to breach the walls. If they succeed, the destruction they seek will not be contained to just our world, but to the human world beyond. My only hope is to rely on the aid of a cocky prince with his own agenda. But after a human man captures my interest, will I be able to accept the terms of the prince’s aid?


Our paths were never meant to cross. I’m meant to live my human life, unaware of the world that exists beyond the veil. I know about death, sure. My own sister’s life hangs in the balance, holding my own happiness with it. But when Taryn and I collide, my world flips upside down. Nothing makes sense anymore. There are things I shouldn’t be able to see but now can’t escape from. Logic tells me to run as far as I can from Taryn and the horrors of her world but my heart screams at me to follow her to the literal ends of the earth. Even if it means my own damnation.


(As of this posting, the only live pre-order link is on ibooks, but have patience. More platforms are on the way!)

Netherworld is releasing in October!

iBooks- http://bit.ly/NetherworldPreOrder

3d take3

Amy and I are busting but to have these to the printer for our signing at Penned Con. If there are some left, I’ll bring some to Books in Vacationland. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until October to read our labor of love.

Once Netherworld is live, Amy and I will be hard at work writing Book 2. The last two books have already been outlined. Now we just need to write them. That’s the easy part! Haha

If you wanna find out more about Amy and what she writes, you can find out more about her here.

You can follow me on the blog or find me on social media to discover teasers and other fun things leading up to the release in October.

Until then, I’m Danielle Bannister, author, and cover reveal surpriser


Penned Con 2016, the countdown is on

10 points if you sang that
10 points if you sang that

In just a few weeks, I’ll be loading my tired butt out of my house before the sun rises to catch a plane to St. Louis to attend Penned Con. An epic reader/author event. It started 3 years ago, by my author pal, Amy Miles, and her husband, Rick. They wanted to host an author event that would benefit a local charity: Action for Autism, a charity close to their hearts as their son is autistic. When she asked me to come aboard that first year, of course, I said yes.

Now, 3 years later, it remains one of the best signings I’ve ever attended, year after year. It’s the best, not only because they give all the profit of the event (which they also fund-raise for) to Action for Autism, but it’s also a two-day event that is more than just a signing. Check out this schedule! 

It’s two days to look at books, connect with authors, vendors, meet new readers, pick up fun swag, and attend fun and informative panels. This event is rather unique, as it gives readers and authors several opportunities to engage with each other in fun and exciting ways. There is even a Nerf war planned where readers and authors will battle together at! The event is finished off with a Luau themed dinner (complete with a roasted pig!) and awards show/dance party.  It’s no wonder it’s my favorite. I mean, check out this floor plan, we’ve taken up an entire floor of this hotel!!!

penned-con-floorWith roughly 150 attending authors and 900 tickets sold to date, it’s going to also be the largest event I’ve ever been to. I have been honored to be nominated for one of the awards: Best One Liner, and will be speaking on one of the panels, ACK! To make my heart pump a little harder, we also just got our seating chart. The row I’m sitting in has some pretty heavy-hitters, so I’m wigging out slightly over here.

You can bet that I’ll be taking lots of pictures to share with you. Until then, I can only hope I packed enough books and swag!

Danielle Bannister, Author and Penned Con Attendee


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. 😀


Danielle Bannister, Author and sometimes boogie down dancer.




News on Netherworld.

So, if you haven’t followed the saga that is the co-authored novel, Netherworld,  you can catch up here.

Our baby.
Our baby.

For your memory, as well as my own, I’ll tell you that a fellow author friend, Amy Miles, and I decided a few years ago now (wow, time flies) to write a book together. She is a wildly read fantasy author and I am (a lesser read) author human emotions. We thought it might be fun to mix the worlds together. She  would handle the fantasy parts and I the human. The premise was simple:A human teen would run into and see a banshee (a creature from the Netherworld who ferries the dead to their final destination). He would see her when he shouldn’t be able to and they would form a connection and all hell would break loose. So that’s what we set out to write. For a year we worked on this book, she from her state, me from mine. It was done entirely online until Amy surprised  me with a trip to the Bahamas where we finished the novel (yes, we worked while on a cruise. I highly recommend it). We also plotted out the next two books on that cruise.  Fast forward to August of last year, 3 days before it’s intended release mind you, and a promo image for the book caught the eye of an agent at Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management. They wanted to try to sell Netherworld for us which meant we’d have to pull the plug on our release. With three days before release, Amy and I had a LOT of talking to do. We decided to take a risk and see if this could be done traditionally. Once we were settled in with the agency, they had a few suggestions to make to the manuscript, so the once finished book was back in re-writes. It meant I had to read the book again! And edit it. Again! You know how I adore editing.  But we did it. We re-worked it. I flew out to Amy’s for a week and stayed with her family and we hacked the shit out of the manuscript and put it back together, stronger this time. There was a lot of excitement.

The agency sent it out to the Big Six (biggest publishing houses there are) and we all waited. And waited. And waited. Traditional publishing is s l o w. Finally, a reply.

Fantasy was no longer hot, and they didn’t anticipate it being hot again for a long time. However, they did like the human world I had created and wanted me to re-submit the book, without the banshees.

Um. huh? How do I re-submit a book I co-authored on banshees without the banshees?

Needless to say, the agent, Amy and myself all had a long chat. Our agent suggested we split the book. Amy would take all things banshee and tuck it away until fantasy was hot again, and I should take the human element and resubmit to those same publishers who really liked my writing style. Amy and I begrudgingly agreed.

Now, while I’m happy that the big 6 editors like my writing, I am a tad gutted that they didn’t want the baby we’d worked so hard to develop.

The ABC’s of Dee is set to release in mid-April and my agent wants me to focus on this re-re-rewrite as soon as it’s out. A lot to process.

netherworld facelift

This image makes me sadder than it probably should. I won’t say the time Amy and I worked on this is wasted, because I think she will make a kickass banshee novel with what she’s developed without my human world slowing her down. We learned a lot about our writing styles and about each other. Time I wouldn’t trade for the world. No writing is wasted writing. I’ve always believed that. I guess it’s time I put that mantra to the test and rework this book, yet again.


Danielle Bannister, author and really bad photoshop editor.


Next stop, St. Louis!

I’m finally home after a week away and a book signing in Augusta, Maine. School starts here next week and my other job starts now, so here comes the insanity.  I have taken to writing an hourly schedule in a feeble attempt to take care of everything that needs to get done while also allowing ample time for my kiddos. Hard balance, to be sure.


The next few months are gonna be a little hectic. I have three more signings to do, a book (or two) to finish and two demanding jobs.  (See elephant above)

The next signing is being put on by Amy Miles, and Action for Autism, so of course, I have to go to that!

You can visit the site here.  This is a list of attending authors:

penned con banner

After Penned, I’ll be attending two events with writer buddy, R.J.Keller. We’ll be stopping at Queen City:

queen city

Then heading over to N.E.W.S.


Much debauchery will ensue at those events, you can be sure.

Until then, I will be working to keep my head on straight.

Oh, and making cool images like this one!

Twin Flames Promo


**Get PULLED in, for FREE**


Amazon: http://amzn.to/1wWmMGK

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1gGO3tG

Ibooks: http://bit.ly/QkGL41

OR, get the ENTIRE Trilogy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/RIz5Zy


Danielle Bannister, Author and possible owl.