Shannon Dittemore



With the publishing industry riding the dual-tracked rollercoaster of a bum economy and the rise of electronic books, it’s hard to avoid the concern spewed at us from industry blogs, Twitter feeds, and press releases.

As an aspiring writer, I do my best to assimilate the information without allowing it to overwhelm me. That said, it would be naive to ignore the writing on the wall:

Publishing is changing.

And while it would be easy to dwell on the downside of things, it’s also important to acknowledge the ease with which books can now be attained and read. So, for the reader in all of us there’s reason to celebrate. And as the industry figures out how to navigate these waters, my guess is that there will soon be reason for the writer in us to celebrate as well.

There are days, though, when the bad news seems to breed and invade (thinking of you Borders!) and it’s easy for this California girl to wonder where I’ll be when the ship rights itself. On those days, I read. And I read. And I’m reminded that come hell or high water, there will always be writers and there will always be the need for stories and imagination.

And, folks, this has been a fabulous year of reading for me.

I stumbled onto the work of the supremely talented Suzanne Collins and her mind-altering HUNGER GAMES Trilogy and I’m not exaggerating when I say that Markus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF changed my life. And his work in the lesser known I AM THE MESSENGER charmed my socks off.

I drooled over Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING and devoured Kelly Creagh’s NEVERMORE.

Tasha Alexander came out with her newest Lady Emily, DANGEROUS TO KNOW, and I was giddy to receive an advance reader copy. Giddy.

I read my first zombie books and was surprised at the humanity displayed on every page of both Carrie Ryan’s THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH and Jonathan Maberry’s ROT AND RUIN.

I couldn’t flip the pages of Jason Pinter’s Henry Parker Mysteries quickly enough and it wasn’t long before I had all five of them dispatched.

The plight and the characters presented in THE CHAOS WALKING Trilogy by Patrick Ness is something that will stay with me forever and I am a better person for having read it. I could say the same for James Dashner’s MAZE RUNNER books.

Stephen R. Lawhead drew me into his fantastical Robin Hood retelling in the KING RAVEN Trilogy and I found two self-published authors to keep an eye on when I read Susan Bischoff’s HUSH MONEY and Ellen C. Maze’s RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER.

Of course, I’ve reread stuff by Rick Riordan and JK Rowling. Jane Austen and Arthur Golden. And among many, many others, I’ve read countless Magic Treehouse books with my son. God bless Mary Pope Osborne.

And guess what, I’ve written a bit too.

So I suppose what I’m saying is this: Chin up, writers. When you have your doubts about the state of publishing, when the cold hose of bad news is turned on you and you don’t know where to turn or what to think, focus on the things you can control.

You can read and you can write.

And regardless of what the top of that teetering mountain is doing, publishing was built on those two things.

So, enjoy the journey and let’s write some fabulous stuff this year.



  • Comment by Christa — January 8, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    Shannon, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Love what you said, “You can read and you can write.” Just keep doing what you love and the rest will fall into place. I have so much admired your consistency as a writer. Blessings on all you are doing.

  • Comment by Joanne — January 9, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    Already planning on book number TWO. My head is cranking out ideas. Not sure how many will transfer well through my fingertips to keyboard, but a true writer marches on!

    So, what’s new with you my dear!? hmmmm????

  • Comment by Karen — January 21, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

    Love you Shannon… your writing inspires me… it also makes me want to hop up and down and yell…”That’s my girl”

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