Current novels

My book trailer for Radium Halos

16 June 2011

Everyone likes a great movie trailer, so why not one for a novel?

Here is my latest creation: my book trailer. Enjoy!

Using historical fiction in the classroom

1 May 2011

What initially began as an offer to donate copies of my novel to area high schools, has now become an opportunity to share my story with thousands and potentially millions of young people across the country.

A few months ago, I connected with an administrator at our local Charlotte school system. He read Radium Halos, and suggested I give a workshop at their annual curriculum fair this coming August. He said all the U.S. History teachers for eighth grade and 11th grade would be attending, and if I presented compelling reasons for them to use the books in their classrooms, I might be rewarded with some book orders. Thus began my journey.

I began by studying the North Carolina curriculum– The NC Course of Study. What specific goals and objectives are teachers of social studies expecting their students to master? Next, I matched up the specific time period in their objectives (the early 1920s), to my novel. Several objectives seemed to dovetail perfectly with Radium Halos, such as the labor movement, women’s rights/women in the workplace, and industrial reform. Although Radium Halos is historical fiction, it also lends itself well to encourage discussions on more timely topics, such as workplace dangers, radiation poisoning, and environmental toxins.

Next, I began researching how teachers use historical fiction to bring history alive for their students. I learned that this is a common practice, and teachers use novels in various ways. Some will use a well-known novel such as The Good Earth, or The Grapes of Wrath. Teachers will assign chapters to read, then discuss. Others have a library of various titles in their classroom, and allow students to select a novel to read for a report or presentation.

In my research, I discovered the importance of providing a “package” to teachers. Offering my book for students would not be enough. I would also need ancillary materials– a teacher’s guide, sample tests, essay questions, and discussion guides, for mainstream students as well as for those with special needs and AP (Advanced Placement) students.

One exciting option for teachers is the concept of an “integrated” or “interdisciplinary curriculum.” This would allow a teacher to collaborate with another teacher or department such as the science department to discuss radiation poisoning, or the drama department for a production of “These Shining Lives,” the critically acclaimed play by Melanie Marnich, depicting the true story of the dial painters.

Next up:

With my own clear goals in place, I have now begun to outline my project. Next on the agenda is to create a webpage for teachers to read a sample chapter, view a book trailer (still in development), and learn more about the Radium Dial painters and their place in history. I plan on conducting focus groups with students and history teachers, to learn best practices and how students have reacted to reading and discussing historical fiction in the classroom.

The Digital Age:

Many school systems are now providing laptops for each student, which means they will need affordable eBook versions of historical novels. This will create a whole new industry for authors of historical fiction. I can speak to local classrooms, and eventually with the use of Skype, I can speak in any city, in a “Meet the Author” visit.

The Future:

Once I’ve had some success locally, I can collect testimonials from teachers and administrators, to then “take it on the road” to other North Carolina school systems, branching out geographically to other areas of the country. I can reach out to private schools and home schools. Later, I can offer a similar program for community college and university instructors.

I am most excited about working with students and teachers on this project. As things progress, I will update my blog!

Fiction for only .99?

13 April 2011

Sure, if it’s an ebook!

Five years ago, ebooks were in their infancy. Now, there aren’t enough ebooks for readers to download! Not to worry– I have two ebooks for only .99 per download!

Special thanks to Girlebooks for the snazzy banner! :)

Review for Radium Halos in Illinois State Alumni Magazine

18 February 2011

Well, I finally feel like I’ve made it to the (almost) top! My novel, Radium Halos, is reviewed in this month’s online edition of the Illinois State University Alumni Magazine. Here is the link:

Please vote for Shelley Stout and Radium Halos

10 February 2011

I was nominated as Best Undiscovered Author of the Year over at The Gatekeepers Post.

Also, my novel Radium Halos was nominated in two categories: Best eBook of the Year and Best Fiction eBook of the Year.

If you have read Radium Halos or any of the other books listed, please feel free to
vote here:


A new book cover, a small price increase, AND a BIG discount!

14 November 2010

Librifiles Publishing will soon be taking RADIUM HALOS to the next level—CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution. This will be the third edition for the novel, with a new cover, (front and back) with a new blurb from a former senior news producer from CBS. We have also added an epilogue with details about the years of litigation the dial painters endured.

The price for the paperback will increase slightly from $9.99 to $11.99. If you were planning to order a paperback version from Amazon, now would be a good time!

To apologize (and hopefully make up for) the paperback price increase, both of my ebooks (current editions) will be available for .99 beginning today!!

Obsessed with Celebrities

12 August 2010

Monday, Aug. 16 is the release date of my second novel, (an ebook), Celebrities for Breakfast. Yay!! Anyone who has ever been (or knows someone who is) obsessed with celebrities will relate to the characters and situations in this romantic comedy.

I am no longer considered a “debut author,” so marketing plans and efforts for this one will be slightly different. In fact, they will be easier in some ways, and more difficult in others.

Since I already have my social networking in place, I won’t be spending time developing or collecting fans/followers on a new Facebook or Twitter page. However, I still need to put my social networking to work. With a profile, a BookBuzzr widget, and this blog, I am in a better position now to promote a new novel.

On Goodreads, both of my novels are listed, as well as a long-term giveaway for my children’s book, The Moose Next Door. Each book helps promote the other, especially if a reader pulls up my author page.

Bookbuzzr offers a flip-book graphic for both books, which allows readers to read an excerpt for each.

I am new to blogging– and constantly learning ways to draw attention to it. I have started tagging my posts, and hope that will help random searchers find me.

I also continuously promote my novels on multiple message boards. The word spreads, and people buy a book and write a review.

New bookmarks, (printed on both sides– one for each novel), make great handouts at events. Facebook “fans” who have agreed to help promote Celebrities for Breakfast, have volunteered to post a link the night before or day of launch. (Thank you all)!

As with my first novel, ebook sales must be high to ensure a paperback version. It’s impossible to say how well this one will do, at least until it’s out in the world. My publisher and I will be watching…

Cover for Celebrities for Breakfast, due out 8/16/10!

19 July 2010

Personal shopper to the stars, Judith Collington, refuses to spend one more day in LA, answering the whiney demands of her Hollywood clientele. To escape, Judith and her seventh-grader, Shannon, give up their lucrative lifestyle to run a bed and breakfast in central Illinois. Judith prepares to purchase the property, until it changes hands in a poker game. New owner: Hollywood actor and part-time egomaniac, Ren Spencer. Judith installs Ren into the nearest guest room, where he insists on heated towels and meals on a tray. She would love to hate him, except he’s pathetic in an endearing sort of way. Oh, and did I mention he’s about to become engaged?

If you really want the latest, just read Shannon’s private computer journal. Her bedroom wall is plastered with posters of her all-time favorite star, but Shannon could care less if Ren Spencer’s a has-been at 35. He’s so hot, she can’t stop writing love stories about him. So what if Ren drinks too much and has to sober up in jail? And why can’t Shannon just have a normal mother like everybody else?

CELEBRITIES FOR BREAKFAST is a romantic comedy told through Judith’s voice, but sprinkled throughout are Shannon’s journal entries and Ren’s two cents.

Cover photo by Amy Snyder. Cover design by Mauricio Portasio

My novel – from Librifiles Publishing

14 July 2010

View the book trailer

Radium Halos is currently available as an eBook and paperback in the following outlets:

Amazon eBook

Amazon paperback

More formats to come!

Reinventing your (my)self

13 July 2010

Just when I thought I knew who I was, my persona as an author is about to undergo a drastic change. Or is it?

My first novel is historical fiction. My second novel is a romantic comedy– (Celebrities for Breakfast, soon to be released as an ebook from Vastly different genres, yet both written by me, at different times in my life.

Switching genres isn’t anything new, but more often, you hear about well-known authors (who already have a huge following) taking this leap of faith. Since I only have a small-to-medium following, I’m hoping to expand my brand awareness in the marketplace by reaching out to a slightly different audience.

I’m still me, although with a wider reach. –I hope. :)