General News and Updates

NaNoWriMo 2022

It’s time again for National Novel Writing Month!

I’m so excited to be back into the swing of writing. This month, I’m focusing on drafting an all new novel — Book One of “The Zagreus Club”. My goal: Write 50,000 words of the novel (and hopefully finish the first draft) by the end of November.

“The Zagreus Club” will be a multi-book romantic series. I plan to have each book focus on a different member of the Zagreus Club, a motorcycle club with a bad rap, but a kind heart. I would love to tell you more, but I am totally pantsing it this month — flying by the seat of my pants. Other than names and basic descriptions of the main characters, I’m allowing the story to develop in my brain as I go! So far, it has suited me well — but we will see if that continues.

I hope to share updates on my social media platforms as I go through the month (though I may go deep into writing hole and forget to update, sorry in advance!). Be sure to follow me over there if you would like more information and sneak peeks!

For those of you also participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you luck! May your writing be inspired and your story flow freely! Happy Writing!

General News and Updates

New Swag Items

I’m so excited author season has kicked off! I have so many fun events I’ll be attending (either as an author or a reader) and I can’t wait to meet some new bookish friends. As we went into the season, my husband and I got to brainstorming about swag and giveaways.

My table at Indie Author Book Expo, Mason City.

Those of you who have been at my table in the past have probably seen the “raffle basket”, where if you purchase a book or sign-up for my newsletter, you get entered for a raffle. We decided to do things a little differently this year for two reasons:

One: What if people don’t like the raffle basket?

Two: Not everyone gets a fun item.

So, we decided to do… A Prize Wheel!

This is a picture of the “old” prize wheel. You’ll have to wait for the next event to see the new one!

My husband decided to handmake a prize wheel for me. It was cute and I loved it…but it only spun the number 5. It was really funny — and we went through A LOT of stress balls! So we broke down and bough a professional one.

But of course, having a prize wheel means having more prize options. So what can you expect at the event?

As you can see, I have had to organize a few things. We have reusable totes and pencil bags (which I made with my cricut), stress balls, door hangs, coasters, bookmarks, and keychains (just to name a few)! We are working on adding a few new things too, but haven’t gotten them finalized yet. Most of the items my husband and I are making by hand, which is a lot of fun (though it can be time intensive).

In addition, we are making items to sell, like runes, tarot cards, and meditation stones. We have really enjoyed doing resin pouring, but don’t have an outlet for items we make, so we decided to sell them!

This last long weekend, we spent doing MASSIVE resin pours to get ahead of the game a little bit. It was my first big pour–which was fun but man did my arm feel like falling off afterwards! We tried out a lot of new molds and techniques. All we need to do now is sand edges and paint things.

Some of the items won’t be as prize wheel items or at my table, as they are too big or we feel they are too niche of an item (Like the little potion bottles), so we decided to reopen our etsy store (it’s open but nothing is listed yet)! The other items will be swag items — such as those fancy new book holders, pens, and cool keychains!

Needless to say, I have been crafting most nights when I get home from work in preparation for my next event (which is in two weeks!). I’ll be sure to post more pictures on my social media of the items once they are finished, so be sure to check them out!

Until next time, happy reading and happy crafting!

Shanna Pikora

General News and Updates, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo (April)

The time has come for Camp NaNoWriMo, where writers around the world spend the month feverishly editing and polishing their stories and works from NaNoWriMo last year…or in my case, continue editing a piece from NaNoWriMo in previous years. I’m excited it has started as I always find my inspiration and motivation for editing grows when I’m working with my fellow writers. It’s nice to have others who are in the same stage as you in their writing so you can talk and chat about stories and challenges you are facing.

This month, I am again working on my story “After the Storm”. I’m trying a new outlining method that includes a finer focus on the purpose of each scene. Admittedly, this story needs A LOT of work, so I’m hoping this will help me be a bit more conscious with my story choices and critical about what scenes make it in to the next draft.

If you are interested in following my progress this month, you can follow me using the button below. Otherwise, be sure to check in on my various social media platforms for regular updates and news on how things are going!

Happy Reading and Editing!

Shanna

General News and Updates

Top 10 Reads of 2021

Happy New Year’s Eve, Everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic end to 2021! I know I am ready for the year to be over and to embrace new habits and new goals for 2022 (especially my massive TBR pile that seems to have doubled in size, despite my best effort).

To end the year, I wanted to share my top 10 ten favorite reads from 2021! This year I read a total of 119 books. …and yes it does bother me that it isn’t an even 120, but I don’t have time today to finish another book!

I read so many AMAZING books this year, which made it so hard to pick my top 10, but below you will see my list. If you are looking for some amazing reads in 2022, give some of the books on this list a try!

Stories by Shanna P. 
Top 10 Reads of 2021
1) "The Bride Test" by Helen Hoang
2) "Take a Hint, Dani Brown" by Talia Hibbert
3) "Barbarian's Redemption" by Ruby Dixon
4) "A Strange Affliction" by Marie Piper
5) "The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang
6) "A Court of Silver Flames" by Sarah J. Maas
7) "Get A Life, Chloe Brown" by Talia Hibbert
8) "Roseblood" by A.G. Howard
9) "To Fall For A Duke By Christmas" by Sadie Bosque
10) "Getting Hot with the Scot" by Melanie Johnson 

Thank you to the amazing authors of these amazing books. Your stories lifted my spirits and allowed me to go on grand adventures! Shanna

Just in case the image above doesn’t work, I have listed them below as well — included with a synopsis and link for you to purchase the book if you would like! When possible, I linked to a fantastic store “The Ripped Bodice”. This store, and it’s owners, do all they can to build up the romance genre and authors, so I wanted to help promote them where I could! I hope you find a fun 2022 read!


#1 : “The Bride Test” by Helen Hoang

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

#2: “Take a Hint, Dani Brown” by Talia Hibbert

USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. 

When big, brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and former rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact to him, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Suddenly, half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? 

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs. 

The easy lay Dani dreamed of is now more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

“Barbarian’s Redemption” by Ruby Dixon

In a tribe full of happy couples, I am alone. But I am not content to remain this way. There are no eligible unmated females left, so I will do whatever it takes to bring females back to our tribe…even if it means doing something wrong. 

“A Strange Affliction” by Marie Piper

In the summer of 1692, Nicholas Cleary arrives in Salem Village. There on orders from the new Governor, he hopes to restore his good name by ascertaining the root of the witchcraft madness so the ridiculous trials can end. He does not expect the widow he boards with to be a mysterious beauty…


Hannah Hibbard knows plants, the moon, and other things a good Puritan woman shouldn’t, and is doing her best to go unnoticed by the citizens of Salem…


To save a dear friend, Hannah must take a risk and work with the arrogant stranger, even if it means telling secrets once better left untold.

“The Heart Principle” by Helen Hoang

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

“A Court of Silver Flames” by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, richly imagined series continues with the journey of Feyre’s fiery sister, Nesta.

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

“Get A Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

“Roseblood” by A.G. Howard

A. G. Howard returns with a creepy, clever novel that will thrill readers. Rune has a mysterious affliction that’s linked to her musical talent. Her mother believes creative direction will help, so she sends Rune to a French arts conservatory rumored to have inspired The Phantom of the Opera. When Rune begins to develop a friendship with the elusive Thorn, she realizes that with him, she feels cured. But as their love grows, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: save Rune or protect the phantom haunting RoseBlood, the only father he’s ever known.

“To Fall for a Duke by Christmas” by Sadie Bosque

To spite his former love, David, the Duke of Somerset decides to court the least suitable miss of the house party, an enchanting Irish commoner Niamh. He will not marry a commoner, of course. It is just a pretense. Or it was. Until the sparks fly, and he finds himself falling hard and fast for a woman who is completely wrong for the role of his Duchess.

A penniless Irish commoner living among polite society is unlikely to find a suitor. Especially in England. Or at least that’s Niamh’s experience. Living in a troublesome household of her uncle, she is desperate to get away and go back to Ireland. When Niamh meets the Duke during the festivities, however, she finds herself at crossroads. Will she be willing to give up her freedom for a chance at love?

“Getting Hot with the Scot” by Melanie Johnson

IT’S TIME TO FLIRT WITH A MAN IN A KILT

Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .

Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?

I hope you all enjoyed seeing and reading about my top 10 books of the year! I can’t wait to dive into the next stories in 2022! Until then, have a Happy New Year!

~Shanna Pikora

Events, General News and Updates

Writers on the River (Author Event)

I’m so excited to be going to Writers on the River this weekend with friends and family! This is an amazing event that hosts over 80 romance authors — from independently published authors to well known New York Times/USA Today Bestsellers.

Not only is this a great place to get new books and meet some amazing romance authors, but this event also helps fundraise Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms helps support women of abuse by providing financial, housing, and community support. It truly is a great cause that I am happy to support while spending the day with fellow readers and writers.

If you are in the Peoria this coming weekend, be sure to check out this amazing event! Otherwise, you can see posted pictures on my Instagram Account throughout the weekend!

Check out Writers on the River Content