Publication Date:  May 18, 2018 Links:  Amazon   |  Goodreads W hen TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses...

Guest Post || Shane Wilson, author of The Smoke in His Eyes




Publication Date: May 18, 2018
Links: Amazon Goodreads

When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.

That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.

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What I've Learned about My Creativity This Year
by shane wilson


It’s really been a year, hasn’t it? We’ve all spent significant time thinking about how we never saw it coming—how we could never dream of a world that would almost simultaneously shut down or how the economy would never hit pause or how we would never keep kids home from school or how we wouldn’t all start working in sweatpants from out sofas. But these things happened, and what a trip it’s been. I won’t rehash all of the specifics. You were there. For once, we’ve had a near universal experience.

This past year has taught me two important things about my own creativity.

1. I need space to work.

Here, “space” should be read as an abstract concept more akin to “time” probably. In those first weeks, when we were all locked up inside and I wasn’t busy with the hectic day-to-day of driving to work and driving to the gym and running around and doing everything we all have to do every week, I was incredibly productive. I think I poured myself into my creative work to keep myself from thinking about the world. I finished an album. I revised a novel. I would finish up my job for the day, and I would plunge head-first into the projects I had been putting off because, well, what else did I have to do?

2. I need a change of scenery to rejuvenate creative energy.

As valuable as those early days of shut-down were to finishing projects, once those projects were completed, I was left looking for something new. But, as I’m sure we all can attest to, there is not much inspiration to be found in looking at the same four walls for months at a time. This is when I started to miss travel and human connection. Just this weekend, after receiving both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I disappeared into a cabin in the mountains with my girlfriend (who was also completely vaccinated). We were safe, but we were someplace else. We played music and talked about songs and stories. It was the recharge that I absolutely needed. Now, I’m ready to work again—even after such a short time away.

What have you learned from the last year about yourself and your creative process?

About the Author



Shane Wilson is a storyteller. No matter the medium, the emphasis of his work is on the magical act of the story, and how the stories we tell immortalize us and give voice to the abstractions of human experience. His first two contemporary fantasy novels as well as a stage play, set in his World of Muses universe, are currently available.

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in South Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

Shane plays guitar and writes songs with his two-man-band, Sequoia Rising. He writes songs as he writes stories--with an emphasis on the magic of human experience. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey (Wild Turkey 101) and a re-run of The Office.

Shane's novels are A Year Since the Rain (Snow Leopard Publishing, 2016) and The Smoke in His Eyes (GenZ Publishing, 2018). Shane's short story, "The Boy Who Kissed the Rain" was the 2017 Rilla Askew Short Fiction Prize winner and was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. An adaptation of that story for the stage was selected for the Independence Theater Reading Series in Fayetteville, NC. More information about Shane can be found at: Shane Wilson Author

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Coming Soon: New Music from Shane Wilson


Of All the Things I’ve Ever Said, I Mean This the Most is the new album from Shane Wilson’s music side project, Sequoia Rising. Recorded almost entirely during quarantine during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in a small room in Shane’s apartment, the album is an artifact of a particular brand of isolation and self-reflection.

On Of All the Things, lyrical storytelling takes the lead. The album’s ten tracks tell stories of young love gone sideways and the ways our lives can be haunted by our pasts.

Available Now on all Streaming Platforms!!